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.

If you’re interested in sports, or movies, or certain people, and perform a search on them, you may look through a lot of sites on the web. It’s nice to be informed when something new appears, and using alerts can help you with that, too.

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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

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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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Letting Advertisers Decide Upon Values of Ads: Impressions, Click-Throughs, and Pay-Per-Action

Google’s Inside Adwords blog announced a limited test of a new advertising system on Tuesday, which would allow advertisers determine the value of certain actions (pay-per-action, or ppc).

The AdWords Help Center has an even more extensively detailed explanation of what Pay-Per-Action is, and how it might work. in their Pay-Per-Action FAQ. In both, there’s discussion that under this kind of approach, the advertiser would determine what value a pay-per-action add might cost.

A new patent application from Google explores this concept of having advertisers define the value of a click, or impression, or action – such as a specifically defined conversion. This includes how much an advertiser might pay to appear on a specific site, or what they might be willing to pay for a certain number of impressions or clickthroughs for different keyword phrases. Pay-per-action is one part of this larger system, and the system could also include offline advertising options.

A long and detailed document, the patent application is worth a read if you engage in purchasing advertising through a search engine:

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Searching Google on a Phone Without a Browser

Phone with Specialized Google Search Software

In a new patent application, Google unveils a specialized client software that isn’t a web browser, for searching through the Google search engine on mobile devices, and for viewing emails. This software can read html, but doesn’t work quite the same way that normal web browsers do.

I wrote a post last night at Search Engine Land on a patent application from Google on how they might speed up the reception of search results, in response to a query – New Google Mobile Phone Search Patent Application. It’s difficult to tell whether or not that method would work with this specialized software, but the patent documents do share authors, so it’s possible that they could function together.

Customized data retrieval applications for mobile devices providing interpretation of markup language data
Invented by Elad Gil, Shumeet Baluja, Maryam Kamvar, and Cedric Beust
US Patent Application 20070066364
Published March 22, 2007
Filed: September 19, 2005

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