Early Google Acquisitions

With all of the recent acquisitions by Yahoo! and Google, I decided to take a closer look at some Google Acquisitions. I’m glad I did. I came across a couple of papers I hadn’t seen before and learned a little more about some of Google’s employees that I didn’t know.

Many of the Google acquisitions we have seen appear to be influenced by Google attempting to acquire technology, and some Google acquisitions appear to have been made as a way to hire the employees of companies acquired. I’ve tried to indicate what kinds of technology Google acquired in these transactions. I didn’t include the financial details of these purchases either. I was mostly interested in the technology that was brought through these Google acquisitions.

2007 Google Acquisitions

Grand Central Communications
Zenter, Inc.
Peakstream Inc.
Green Border Technologies
Marratech AB’s Video Conferencing Software
Tonic Systems
Gapminder’s Trendalyzer Software
Adscape Media

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Designing with Profiles Inspired by Inuit Art

There are many different approaches you can take when developing the content for a web site. An interesting article from User Interface Engineering describes a method inspired by the Inuit.

The Inuit create works of art that often resemble people, out of stones found near where they are making these statues. These markers can tell later viewers something about the place, or the builder’s experiences there.

Is that something that can help give us ideas which inspire us when we design? It’s inspiring me.

Reassuring Users with Inukshuk Content describes a university site that decided to show what a student’s experience might be like at their school by using more than 40 detailed profiles of people who may have been students, or are associated with the school in some manner.

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Secure Conversion Tracking at Google

Search engine optimization and paid search advertising both share a similar goal. While both try to get the right visitors to web sites, even more important is that a visitor performs some action while there that fulfills some goal of a site’s owner.

The meeting of one of these objectives by a visitor is often referred to as a conversion, and can include viewing a specific page, buying something, downloading a file, signing up for a membership or newsletter, or another action as defined by the owner of the site.

In paid search, it can be difficult to tell how effective your campaign has been. Conversion tracking is an approach that can be taken by search engines like Google to help an advertiser understand how well their advertising is working. There’s a nice summary of how conversion tracking works in the O’Reilly article Understanding Google’s Conversion-Tracking Mechanism.

A deeper look into how it works is described on the Google AdWordsTM: Conversion Tracking Guide (pdf)

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New Category at SEO By the SEA

I saw a reference a couple of months ago to advertising on search engines as SEA – Search Engine Advertising. I hadn’t seen the term used that often, but it oddly fits into the title of this blog.

By itself, that wasn’t enough to get me to start writing about Search Engine Advertising. But, I’ve been coming across quite a few interesting articles on the subject, and it make sense to pay attention to how the search engines earn money, too. So, I’m rolling out the “SEA” category here at SEO by the SEA.

This new category may look at things like the incorporation of landing pages into the factors looked at by Google when they assign a Quality Score to an ad in determining a minimum bid. But it will do so from the stance of keeping an eye on what the search engines are up to, rather than trying to provide advice on how to do well at search engine advertising. Or at least, that’s my original intent.

And, my next post will take a close look at some of Google’s plans for their advertising.

The Yellow Shoes of Search Engine Optimization in Newsweek and Slashdot

Back in March, I had the chance to meet Rand Fishkin, of SEOMoz, at the New York Search Engine Strategies Conference. Rand is a popular and active poster on a number of Search Engine Optimization forums, and in late February he noted that he would be wearing a pair of bright yellow shoes at the conference to make it easy to find him (optimization by shoe color?)

Rand’s popularity comes from his friendly nature, and his willingness to share with others. Since March, we’ve had the good fortune, at Cre8asite Forums to have him join us there as a moderator in the Search Engine Optimization forum.

Those yellow shoes have been featured in a couple of interesting places lately.

There’s a nice article at Newsweek about the power of SEO and taking a look at the optimization efforts of Rand at: Hotwiring Your Search Engine.

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Google’s Computing Approach

It’s not often that we get a sneak peek at how the machinery behind the search engines work.

Luiz Andre Barroso, leader of Google’s platforms engineering group, has worked on Google’s computing infrastructure, on such things as load balancing, fault detection and recovery, and more.

In the latest issue of the ACM Queue, he writes about some of the issues that face Google from a computing standpoint in The Price of Performance.

An article at Arstechnica notes that this may lead to Google’s adoption of some new hardware in the future.