Google Alerts Tell Google What Topics are Popular

Google Alert Interface

I really enjoy using alerts from Google and Yahoo that send me information about topics that are interesting to me.

For example, I have one alert set up for my town and state name, so I can see what’s being written about it in the news and the web. It sometimes captures information that doesn’t show up in one of the local papers.

Alerts for company names, and people’s names can be useful too. It doesn’t hurt to know when someone is writing about you or your company, or one of your competitors.

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Google Games Patent Filing on Targeted Advertisements

Last month, news leaked out that Google was buying Adscape Media, which specializes in providing advertising within games. It appears that Google was already working on how to show ads during gameplay, and how to collect information about the users playing those games.

Batter at the Plate, with Toyota ad on the wall behind batter and catcher

A new patent application from Google looks at ways of determining user information for use in targeting ads, and determining and serving relevant ads in video games. They take into account a person’s interests and gaming behavior by monitoring and making inferences from their online gaming activities.

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Google Local Search in China: Export Restrictions, Filtering Sensitive Keywords, and Limited Data

Google Local Search Interface for China

A Google patent application published at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on local search describes some of the challenges that Google faces in providing local search to China and other Asian countries.

These may include a need to filter some sensitive keywords; finding ways to work around export restrictions that make the use of latitude and longitude coordinates difficult in some areas; and dealing with limited street numbers and address information, inconsistent yellow page formats, and the existence of common synonyms for many words and categories of businesses and other points of interest (POI).

The patent application tells us:

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Baseball, SEO, and Redirects: Throwing the Gyroball

The baseball season is almost upon us, and I’m really looking forward to the cry of “Playball” from the umpires. I also want to see Daisuke Matsuzaka, who joined the Red Sox this year, and his mythical gyroball. I’m also rooting for Josh Hamilton to turn his life around with the Cincinnati Reds.

A little over a year ago, Matt Cutts used a baseball example to talk about how search engines might handle something known as a 302 redirect.

When someone types in http://www.sfgiants.com into their browser address bar, they are taken to that page, and then redirected to another page with a much uglier address: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=sf

That happens because the server that you visit, when you type in the sfgiants.com page, has an instruction in it to redirect visitors to the different address. There are a couple of different kinds of redirects – a temporary one, and a permanent one. The temporary one, which uses a server code of 302, is supposed to be an indication that the new address is only temporary. The permanent one uses a server code of 301.

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PageRank, Self-Serving Links, and Domain Trust

A patent application from Microsoft from 2005, and a new one published last week explore the concept of PageRank, and what they call a vulnerability of using PageRank, and come up with a couple of solutions.

Here’s the problem, as they state it:

One way to increase the PageRank score of a web page v is by having many other pages link to it. This is inherent in the basic idea of web pages being able to endorse other web pages, which is at the heart of PageRank. If all of the pages that link to web page v have low PageRank scores, each individual page will contribute only very little.

However, since every page is guaranteed to have a minimum PageRank score of dl|V|, links from many such low quality pages can still contribute a sizable total.

It may not be completely obvious why that’s a problem. They go on to explain:

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Yahoo Local vs Google Maps Beatdown

Many regions are known for different food specialties. I was curious to see where Yahoo Local and Google Maps would send me to try out some of these regional delicacies. This is a purely unscientific look at recommendations from those local searches.

Round One New York Pizza

I’ve been told by many New Yorkers that you can’t get bad pizza in New York, because there are so many good pizza places. So, where do the search engines recommend that I go?

Google: Lombardi’s Pizza
Yahoo: Domino’s Pizza

I can get Dominos anywhere, and Lombari’s looks pretty interesting.

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