Google Transit Trip Planner in Toronto?

Angie McKaig writes about the possible expansion of Google’s Transit Trip Planner service to Toronto.

At the time that I orginally write this post, the service was only available in the Portland, Oregon, area according to the Google Transit FAQ at that time, but that page told us that they “plan to expand to cities throughout the United States and around the world.” Look at the Google Maps Transit page to see where it’s now available.

Ms. McKaig noted an article in this morning’s Metro News on the creation of such a service. The article reports that the City was considering creating its own online service with transit information which would have cost more than $2 million. They also note that there are no estimates of a cost involving partnering with Google, nor has a time frame been established if they move forward together.

Union Depot, Toronto, circa 1890 and 1901, via Library of Congress, reproduction number LC-D4-12741

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Yahoo patents bringing people together

Helping people fall in love, easier searching in social networks, and storing XML are the subjects of some newly published documents at the US Patent and Trademark office assigned to Yahoo!

Yesterday, a patent on preprocessing some of the connections between members of a social network was granted for Yahoo!

Method and system for finding related nodes in a social network
Inventors: Varun Vasudev and Bipin Suresh
Assigned to Yahoo! Inc.
US Patent 7,016,307
Granted March 21, 2006
Filed: March 11, 2004

Abstract

A process for reducing the resources employed in real time to communicate a message between related nodes that are separated by multiple degrees of separation in a social network. At least a portion of the shortest path for the multiple degrees of separation between at least two related nodes in a social network is determined out of band prior to the initiation of a process to communicate between the related nodes. By pre-processing at least a portion of the degrees of separation for the shortest path between the nodes, the actual resources employed in real time to calculate the entire shortest path can be reduced. Typically, approximately fifty percent or more of the shortest paths for the degrees of separation between related nodes in the social network are pre-processed. Since the amount of resources for determining the shortest path for each degree of separation can exponentially increase with each degree, the pre-processing of a portion of the degrees of separation along a shortest path can significantly reduce the resources required in real time to complete the determination of the shortest path. Also, if a common intermediate node is identified in the pre-processing of the shortest paths for two nodes in the social network, the intermediate shortest paths can be stored for reuse as a complete shortest path between these two nodes.

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Online Newspaper Popularity

What’s the most popular newspaper in the United States?

A decade ago, that might have been easy to figure out. You just look at the circulation of the papers. That’s not true today. Many folks are reading their news online.

So, I thought it would be interesting to look at circulations numbers today, and try to find some other figure that might be used go consider online popularity.

The following numbers are from the nonprofit Audit Bureau of Circulations, and are a ranking of newspapers by largest reported circulation as of September 30, 2005:

1. USA Today – 2,590,695

2. The Wall Street Journal – 2,100,760

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The future is local

I’ve been spending part of today setting up a local blog, focusing upon the small college town I live within.

Many of the things I find myself wanting to post to a blog are about local events, local history, small town politics, and mundane happenings around where I live. Those just don’t seem to fit here, but I don’t see too many other folks covering those topics.

Living in Delaware, about an hour north of Baltimore, and an hour south of Philadelphia, the major news media really doesn’t have the State on their radar. There is one Philly channel that has a satellite office in Wilmington, but news reports about the area are meager at best, and more commonly nonexistent.

There is one state-wide newspaper, but it focuses more upon Wilmington and Dover than it does the little town between them. A weekly paper provides some interesting news, but often gets scooped by the paper written by University of Delaware students, published twice a week during the school year, and once a week during winter and summer sessions.

While the school newspaper can be fun, and informative, the editors and writers know their audience is the student body of the university, and they rarely write in detail about issues that don’t involve students.

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Visiting at the link spiel

My friend Debra Mastaler asked me if I would be interested in making a guest appearance at her blog on linking and marketing, The Link Spiel.

I jumped at the chance.

Mixed amongst Debra’s excellent advice on advice and techniques involving linking are many examples of her sharp wit and subtle sense of humor. Make sure that you check out her post on Nascar Links, and on Amazon + Reviewers + Links. You’ll want to set aside some time to read through her archives while you’re at it. There are lots of good ideas in there.

Thanks, Debra.

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Interview with the Black Knight

SEOmoz has an excellent interview with Ammon Johns (no longer available).

It’s been my pleasure to call Ammon a friend for a number of years, while sharing administrative duties with him at Cre8asite Forums. I’m not sure that I can even begin to tell you how much I’ve learned from his generous and eloquent posts on subjects of all types.

The interview was conducted by Rand Fishkin, and features long, thoughtful answers on SEO and marketing, search algorithms, tools for SEO, the perfect client, and much more.

Nice going, Ammon and Rand.

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Google without the desktop

New patent applications and a financial statement from Google arrived this morning. They point at a Google that’s growing a little less dependent on cables and desktop computers.

Google filed their annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commision today, and there are some interesting statements within it.

One area mentioned, that has a lot of room for growth for the Mountain View search giant, is the mobile device market. In the section of the report on “How We Provide Value to Users, Advertisers, and Content Owners and Producers” Google tells us:

Multiple Access Platforms. Mobile phones are a fundamental development platform for us. Many people around the world have their first experience of the Internet—and Google—on their mobile phones. We have continued to invest in improving mobile search and recently introduced the beta of Google Local for Mobile—a downloadable application for mobile phones that combines maps, directions, and satellite imagery to let people find relevant information when and where they need it, even if they are not close to a computer.

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Vertical creep into regular search results in Google

Google doesn’t just have a search engine. It has multiple search engines. If you look at the tabs on top of the search box, you’ll see:

Web
Images
Groups
News
Froogle
Local

Each of those tabs generates a different type of search, with its own unique set of algorithms, and ways of presenting material. These are narrower searches, and are often referred to as “Vertical Searches.”

There are many examples of limited scope search engines like this on the web, for things like jobs, travel, hotels, shopping, and much more.

Google doesn’t limit itself to those vertical searches listed on the tabs above the search box, but has even more available. Here are some of the other areas covered. These can be found through the default web search box on the Google page.

Weather (type in – weather and a city name – weather Cincinnati)

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Getting Information about Search, SEO, and the Semantic Web Directly from the Search Engines