The Mundane Realities of Running a Search Engine on a Budget

There have been a few stories in the news this month about the costs behind running a search engine like Google. Thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at them, and see where some of the money goes.

The high cost of jetting around the globe, by the founders of Google, was an early story broken by the Wall Street Journal, who uncovered information about a purchase of a jet for Sergey and Larry. In Google founders’ heady purchase (no longer available), we hear a little about new luxury Boeing 767-200 intended to save a few dollars while letting the heads of Google fly where they want.

Office space for the search giant was another topic that emerged lately. There are some nice pictures of new Google Office spaces on real estate blog Curbed. Take a look Inside New Gooooogle’s New Chelsea Oooooffice. The pictures are of unfinished office space, but it’s a lot of space. Would love to see what it looks like once it’s been fixed up some.

Thinking about how much furniture will cost for this space, a more important question might be how much money it costs to run all of the thousands of computers one might find at a Google Data Center. Google’s vice president of operations, Urs Hoelzle, discusses that very topic in How Google battles its increasing power consumption . Just considering it makes my own utility bills much more easy to stomach.

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Teens take the web

To be young when radio started broadcasting must have been something. To be the first generation to watch television could have been interesting.

But, neither of those technological and social breakthroughs provided the opportunity to create the way that the web does. And teenagers growing up with the web are doing just that, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Project report, Teen Content Creators and Consumers.

From the abstract to the report:

Fully half of all teens and 57% of teens who use the internet could be considered Content Creators. They have created a blog or webpage, posted original artwork, photography, stories or videos online or remixed online content into their own new creations

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Nokia Browses Open-Source

Nokia seems to be doing some interesting things with open source software these days, and had two releases that show a interest in open source.

The first one I noticed today was a new site from the mobile phone giant – Open Source Nokia.

The second was the announcement of an Open-Source Browser

If that’s not proof that handhelds are coming on strong, Nokia also released three new Multimedia computers today.

How will the future of search be shaped by smarter mobile phones? Something to keep in mind.

Online Services from Microsoft

If you haven’t tried out Windows Live (now Bing) yet, you might want to give it a look. You’ll want to do that with Internet Explorer, because it isn’t quite ready for Firefox (it is a beta, but you would figure that Microsoft could have waited a day or three to work with Firefox, too.)

I tried it out earlier, and there’s some nice drop and drag features, that let you set up a home page the way you might want it. Is Microsoft catching on? Or is this something they’ve been trying to get right for years?

The Financial Times looks at some of Microsoft’s earlier attempts to provide online services to people, with mentions of services from the end of the 90s that didn’t quite make it. In Microsoft ogles Google’s goodies, we get a sense of how the advertising model that Yahoo! started and Google has perfected may be the type of thing that lets Microsoft see some success offering online information services.

The competitive keyword game

Keyword Research

One online marketing approach is to try to find words and phrases to use on your pages that you believe your customers will likely use to find your site while using a search engine, and that you expect they will want to see on those pages, and incorporate those words into your pages.

While that is fine and good, you can also find out some interesting things about the folks you believe are your competitors by looking at the words that they may have decided to focus upon within their pages.

If you want to play along at home, here is a method to use to explore whom you think you are competing with, and whom you really are competing with, when you target certain keywords (or do keyword research.)

1. Take three sites that you think are your online competitors

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