Google Plus as Tomorrow’s Social Ebay?

Will Google Plus morph into a social version of eBay, where people can post things for sale, write reviews of their belongings and show them off to their circles?

A few days ago, the Google File System Blog reported upon a new application from Google, which it referred to by the name Google Mine (as in, “it’s mine,” rather than as in Google mining more information about your life). The post also mentions a version for Android on Google’s internal Play store. The post tells us that the app allows you to be pretty active about posting your belongings.

A screenshot from the patent showing the user interface for showing off your belongings.

As you can see, the service lets you enter a lot of information about your objects. For example, you can change the status of an object to “lent”, “given away”, “got it back”, “lost it”, “had in the past”. You can post videos about the object, write reviews, add it to a wishlist and maybe others can buy it using Google Shopping. You can also check popular items and the items others have shared.

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Google Patents on Author Signature Values and Authority Scores

Last week, Google was granted a number of patents exploring different aspects of how documents on the Web might be ranked in part based upon topics identified for those documents and the expertise and/or authority of authors involved in the creation of the documents. The process also describes how Google might use different methods to determine the authority of multiple authors who may have worked to create the documents.

This sounds very similar to some statements that Google’s Matt Cutts made at the start of May in a video about What should we expect in the next few months in terms of SEO for Google?

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George Bush is a Miserable Failure Again, in Google’s Knowledge Base

I’ve written about Google Bombs in the past, and how a bio page featuring President George Bush ranked highly on a search for “Miserable Failure” as a result of a Google Bomb, in a post from 2011 titled How a Search Engine Might Fight Googlebombing.

In a post from earlier today, Nemek Nowaczyk wrote a post Google Bombing the Knowledge Graph: Who’s a Liar? He noticed that on a search for “liar” (in Polish), Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk appears in the knowledge base results for the search. Nemek sent me an email with a link to his post. Within seconds, I was typing one of the better known English language Google bomb phrases into a Google search, with a guess as to what I would see there.

knowledge-base-result-miserable-failure

Ok, so the top knowledge base result on a search for “miserable failure” wasn’t George Bush. But a smiling George Bush was close enough to be a “see results about” disambiguation knowledge panel result.

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Google Files Patent for Understanding Multiple URLs for the Same Page

The great thing about HTML is that it’s so flexible and offers so many ways to do things. The worst thing about HTML is that it’s so flexible and offers so many ways to do things. I’ve looked at a lot of websites and I still see people doing things new ways.

An issue that’s often common to many websites is when a page on a site can be found at more than one URL. This might be done by a site owner for a number of reasons, and in a number of ways. It might be an issue related to a content management system that’s being used as well.

A patent application published by Google explores how the search engine might recognize when it finds a URL through a web crawl and another URL through a feed, such as a product feed, with both URLs referring to the same page, but those URLs are structured differently.

This seems like potentially a lot of work to me, and the patent filing has me shaking my head that Google might use resources to figure out duplicated content on a site, even if it potentially might enable the search engine to understand URLs and associated products and other information that it might identify better.

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How Google May Rank Web Sites Based on Quality Ratings

Google was granted a patent this week that describes how web sites might be given quality ratings, based upon a model that looks at human ratings for a sample set of sites, and web site signals from those sites.

The patent tells us that the advantage of such an approach would be to:

  • Provide greater user satisfaction with search engines
  • Return sites having a higher quality rating than a certain threshold
  • Ranking sites appearing in search results based upon quality
  • Identifying quality sites without having a human view the site first

This patent was originally filed in 2008, and the use of quality signals sound similar to what Google has shared with us regarding the Panda Update. It’s more of a search quality “improvement” than a web spam penalty.

The patent uses blogs as a type of site that it can be applied to within its claims and description section. One of the inventors, Christopher C. Pennock was a Senior Software Engineer on Google Blog Search, according to an early 2009 SMX Session with him which discusses ranking signals in Blog Search.

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Avoiding Misinformation While Learning from Search Related Patents

On May 1st, Google’s Head of Webspam Matt Cutts published a video in his series of Google Webmaster Help videos, answering the question, “What’s the latest SEO misconception that you would like to put to rest?”

For some reason, Matt decided to focus upon patents, with a video about people possibly placing too much faith in what is uncovered in patents related to search engines. To a degree, I agree with his response, but I was reached out to by a number of people who saw the video as something aimed specifically at me, since I write about search related patents so often. I felt that I had no choice but to respond. Here’s the video from Matt:

Jennifer Slegg gave me a chance to respond to Matt’s video, in her post, Matt Cutts Tells SEOs to Stop Worrying About Google Search Patents, and I appreciate her letting me say a few words there, but I wondered if it was enough. I reached out to Matt on Twitter, and he provided some of his thoughts about the video there:

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How Google Decides What to Know in Knowledge Graph Results

A transformation was triggered at Google with their announcement of the Knowledge Graph in the Official Google Blog post, Introducing the Knowledge Graph: things, not strings. That transformation was one less concerned with matching keywords, and more concerned with matching concepts, understanding entities, and bringing knowledge about entities to searchers in knowledge panels next to search results.

Google published a patent application last week that describes the knowledge panels that appear next to search results as part of the new knowledge graph. Here’s the video that accompanied the post (note the reference to a “panel” in the presentation):

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With Wavii, Did Google Acquire the Future of Web Search?

Google acquired the company Wavii for a little more than $ 30 Million in April. There was some speculation that Wavii was an effort to match Yahoo’s purchase of Summly, which summarizes news from the Web.

Part of the announcement on the wavii domain about the acquisition by Google.

A Wavii app did do just that – acquired and summarized news from the Web. When Wavii emerged from stealth mode, it was touted as a personalized news aggregator based upon topics rather than keywords. The app closed down with Google’s acquisition of the company, and instead of providing news aggregation services, it appears that the technology will help fuel Google Now, Google’s Knowledge Base, and Google Glass, according to the TechCrunch article linked above.

So what is that technology?

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Getting Information about Search and SEO Directly from the Search Engines