Center for Web Research, Centre d’Innovació Barcelona Media, and Yahoo! Research Join Forces

Yahoo! is venturing into new territories, with the help of one of most well known search scientists in the world. Dr. Ricardo Baeza-Yates will be working with Yahoo! in new offices in Santiago and in Barcelona.

Yahoo! Research is moving into Santiago, Chile, after signing an agreement on January 9th with Universidad de Chile to open a new research center.

The research center will be run in collaboration with the Center for Web Research (CWR) , which focuses upon different aspects of research on the web. Present from Yahoo! at the announcement of the agreement were Dr. Usama Fayyad, Data chief and Sr. Vice President at Yahoo!, Dr. Prabhakar Raghavan, Director of Yahoo! Research and Roberto Alonso, Vice President and Management Director of Yahoo! for Latin America.

Dr. Ricardo Baeza-Yates has been hired by Yahoo! to be in charge of the research center in Santiago, as well as another in Barcelona, Spain. He has been the director of the CWR, and is very well known in the search community as the co-author of Modern Information Retrieval and many academic texts on data mining, information retrieval, and search.

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Searching by phone: mobile camera phones and internet search

With Google looking at advertisements on phones, I was wondering how much more mobile phones might be capable of doing. There are some interesting answers to that question. The one I’m writing about today involves a different way of providing information to search engines, and other uses for phones.

The next really big step in providing search results to people?

Could it be in making the search engine transparent to the process?

Imagine pointing your phone at something, and taking a picture of it, and getting search results, or being led directly to a web page that was relevant to the picture.

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Yahoo Acquisitions – The Middle Years

This is the third post in a series about the companies that Yahoo! has purchased.

I started with a look at the most recent with Yahoo! Acquisitions since Overture. Sometime after I made that post, we discovered that Yahoo! had also acquired a company named Webjay during 2005.

My second post looked at Early Yahoo! Acquisitions (the 1990s). While looking for those, I was amazed by the very large number of companies that Yahoo! partnered with for one reason or another.

This post includes some of Yahoo!’s acquisitions which probably have had the biggest impact on the search results and the advertisements that Yahoo! serves.

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Google’s most popular and least popular top level domains

What are the most popularly used top level domains, or at least, which are the ones that show up on pages indexed in Google?

I wondered this yesterday after seeing a news article stating that the registration of .cn (china) top level domain names topped 1 million for the first time ever by the end of 2005. The seed for my wonderment was probably planted when EGOL, at Cre8asite Forums, asked about using a .info top level domain earlier that day.

So I decided to check to see which were the most popular in Google, since that was the easiest place to get some statistics.

I found a couple of lists of top level domains (generic tlds and country code tlds), and searched for the number of results that appeared in Google, using the advanced “site” search operator and my tld lists. For example, a search for “” without the quotation marks might show me approximately how many pages appear in Google’s index that are on sites using a “.com” top level domain.

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Around the web

Some sites and stories I’ve seen recently that I wanted to share.

I’m a big fan of RSS feeds, and think that they give many sites a chance to have a much larger readership than they would otherwise. How widespread has the use of syndication through RSS feeds grown? Ravenews takes a look at the use of RSS last year in RSS Year in Review. (via Dana VanDen Heuval)

Over the last few years, it’s become increasingly clear that Dr. Jakob Nielsen knows at least as much about marketing himself as he does about usability, if not more. I’m not sure that there are too many other people online who can attract as much attention with an article as he can, and he’s done a good job of doing so with his latest, Search Engines as Leeches on the Web.

I’m finding it difficult to agree with some of his opinions, and this is an opinion piece without any usability of scientific backing behind it, but I do agree that it isn’t a good idea to rely solely on search engines, and their paid and organic listings. Danny Sullivan has a very nice response to a number of the issues that Dr. Nielsen raises at: Search Engines As Leeches, The Difference Between Paid & Free Listings & Keyword Price Rises.

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Some new Microsoft patent applications

Some new Microsoft patent applications about the web, and indexing pages, from last week.

Keep in mind that these are just patent applications, and have not been granted as patents. They may be avenues of approaches that aren’t developed in the future, or may be the direction that Microsoft takes. They might be challenged by claims of prior art, or may be unique approaches to processes that may improve the way we find information on the web.

Regardless, they are all interesting as pieces of insight into how one search provider might address search in the future.

More efficient rankings

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Providing related links to documents

I want to preface this blog post by saying that it describes a patent application, and not Google’s actual future plans. What it describes may happen, or it may not.

Providing links to related documents

On many news sites, publishers will provide links to other articles on related subjects that may be of interest to the person looking at the document.

These related documents are usually based upon the content of the document being viewed, and often appear outside the content of the document – often in a footer or sidebar.

A patent application naming three Google senior research scientists as inventors describes a process that can automatically create a list of links to related documents, and insert those into the original document.

These links may be based in part on personal information gathered about the viewer.

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Community Endorsements for Local Searches

Imagine joining a social network like Orkut or Friendster and having the chance to leave comments on local businesses, restaurants, and more, and having those endorsements show up in Google local results.

The folks at Google have imagined something like that, and have published a patent application that describes how it might be done.

Methods and systems for endorsing local search results

Inventors: Thomas Christopher Korte, Sumit Agarwal, and Celia Saino
United States Patent Application 20060004713
Filed: June 30, 2004
Published January 5, 2006


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Getting Information about Search and SEO Directly from the Search Engines