Imagine that you want to cook a Chinese meal from an authentic Chinese recipe. You search for the recipe in Google by the English name of the dish, and the search engine translates your query into Standard Mandarin, performs the search and finds some recipes in that language, and returns those pages to you with an option to translate them into English.
Or, you have an assignment for your philosophy class, and you want to write a paper on Benedetto Croce and his Philosophy of Spirit. You’ve read some papers on him published in English, but would like to find some in Italian.
You go to Google, and choose “Italian” as a language that you would like to see source pages from as you enter his name into the search box. The search engine looks through Italian language results that contain the name Benedetto Croce, finds a number of results, and provides page titles and snippets that it finds. Clicking on a “translate” link next to the title to one of those pages will bring you the page translated into English.
Perhaps you’ve decided that you want to start biking to work instead of commuting by car, and you want to learn more about biking and bicycles. You enter a search into Google for the word [biking], and the search engine looks at statistical associations that it has created between keywords and Web content, and not only returns results to you for [biking] but also for the word [cycling].
Imagine a search engine letting people teach a web crawling program how to navigate through the pages of a site filled with java script links and other pages usually only accessible through making selections or inputting text into forms.
Why would a search engine let users assist a search engine crawling program in exploring the content of pages normally hidden to most crawling programs?
Users Teaching Web Crawlers
Here are three examples of people who might help teach a web crawler how to crawl a site:
Webmasters – Search engines can have difficulties crawling pages because of java script links, links included as options in drop down forms, and other pages that are only accessible through forms.
Websites, like people, have personalities. They can’t help it, they just do. I’ve looked at a lot of websites over the past few years, and sometimes wondered about the personalities of the sites that I’ve seen.
If you take a close look at a website, can you describe its personality?
Does it attempt to evoke emotions in visitors or persuade them with facts?
Is it cold or warm and welcoming?
Does it use humor or fear or anger when communicating with visitors?
You go to the store, and find the perfect pair of shoes, except that they don’t have them in your size, or in the color that you want.
You shop online, and try to find a pair of pants and a shirt that match, except that it’s hard to tell how they will look together.
Can a search engine help you make shopping easier?
Imagine a different scenerio, now…
You go to a facility to create a 3-dimensional scan of your body which you can then upload to a clothing search engine and recommendation system. Or you enter detailed body measurements into that search and recommendation system.
You create a user profile that details things such as your skin color, eye color, hair style/color, whether or not you wear glasses, and other details about your appearance.
In addition to this personal information, you can also add non-personal information, such as the type or color of clothing you are presently looking for. Other details can be entered, such as your location, the season of the year, your hairstyle, where you are planning to go while wearing the clothes you are looking for, such as a business meeting or a restaurant or night club.
When web sites link to each other, either directly or indirectly through a number of different pages, a search engine might consider those links to be reciprocal links. If you’re familiar with some of the mythology and folklore surrounding search engine optimization, you may have read or heard that reciprocal links are bad, and that search engines don’t like them.
The truth is more complicated than that.
What about blogs that link to each other on every page in their blog rolls? Or links between sites owned by the same owner that are reasonable, such as a storefront on a different domain, or a blog at a different domain or subdomain associated with a site, or a group of sites from the same company or organization that focus upon different topics?
What about sites that cover similar topics or provide complementary goods or services and find that it’s helpful to link to each other for the benefit of their visitors?
When you perform a search on Google, you’ll often see “sponsored links” at the top and to the right of your search results. Advertisers can bid to have their advertisements appear with search results through Google’s Adwords program.
When an advertiser creates an ad for the Adwords program, they attempt to choose the keywords that their ads may appear beside in search results. The premise behind this approach is that allowing advertisers to target keywords in searches that are relevant to what those advertisers offer means that the ads searchers see will be relevant for what searchers are looking for.
Usually, those ads will show up in response to a current query that a searcher has typed into the search engine, but if you’ve been performing a number of searches, Google has sometimes looked at your earlier queries in addition to your current one to determine which advertisments to show you.
For example, you search for the word [golf] and received a set of search results, along with some sponsored links. If you then search for the word [shoes], you may have seen ads (in the past) on the search results page for “golfing shoes.”
This is the first of multiple posts on copyright, and what you can do when someone takes the content from the pages of your web site or blog and republishes that content on their site without permission and without attribution.
Hopefully this series will give you an idea of some of the steps that you might be able to take when someone has copied content that you have created, and used it without asking first.
It is inspired by an actual event which will be described in more detail as the series continues, and I am hoping that the series will help others who find their work on other websites without their knowledge.
Have you ever had something like the following happen to you?