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.
Henry Blodget presents a worst-case scenario involving Google, and what might happen to the company if their Adwords program would fail in Google: The Bear Case. It’s a vision worth considering intelligently as this Internet Outsider article has done.
Seems like I’m picking on search engines with my selection of stories so far. A quick digression in praise of sleep then. Sleep seems to be a popular topic in the news recently, with two articles that captured my attention. The first is on not getting enough sleep – Losing sleep undoes the rejuvenating effects new learning has on the brain. The second is on having to act immediately after waking up – Sleep study is unwelcome wake-up call. I’m going to try to do a little less late-night posting to get a few more sleep cycles. Can’t hurt.
While I’m at it, another one on assumptions. The North Star is one of those bodies in the night sky that many of us, even without any training in Astronomy can pick out. But there is no North Star. There are three of them.
I’ve been posting about acquisitions that Yahoo! and Google have been making. It’s been an interesting exercise, and I’m working on the time between 2000 and 2003 for Yahoo! still. Yahoo! recently announced another purchase with the acquisition of a site that tracks timelines for streaming media – as Jeremy Zawodny notes in Webjay Joins Yahoo!, Yahoo Music Blog Launches, and the perceptive Loren Baker mentions in Yahoo Acquires WebJay: Exclusive Interview. (Thanks for the mention, Loren.) Make sure you follow the link in Loren’s article to an interview with Lucas Gonze, who was the founder of Webjay. It provides some insight into why Yahoo! would make this purchase.
Google hasn’t made a new acquisition, at least that we are aware of, but an old one has come to light. Reqwireless (link no longer available), which produced a very popular and acclaimed web browser for mobile devices was bought by Google last year. The products the company made are no longer on the market, though we may see them back as a Google mobile browser – I hope so after reading a few reviews for the browser that the purchased company had released. Mark Evans has more in the Financial Times – Waterloo gets Googled.
One of the fascinating aspects of the web is that it knows no political boundaries. The moral, political, and ethical boundaries that we act within can come under tensions that might not have been quite as visible, or talked about, in the days before the internet. Rebecca MacKinnon wrote about Why Microsoft censorship in China matters to everybody almost a week ago. She has added a couple of updates to her post involving responses from folks at Microsoft. Something to think about.
I haven’t written or said much about Yahoo!’s foray into serving the web on multiple devices since their announcements last Friday on the different Yahoo! Go lines. But, I did come across an article that discusses those topics from a somewhat unique perspective that I liked. Luke Wroblewski writes about product access points over at Functioning Form. Charlene Li’s perspective on Yahoo! Go was also something I had bookmarked as worth returning to Yahoo! Go shows how to connect the Internet to devices.
This one was mentioned on the Search Engine Watch Blog by Gary Price in Regulating Search Symposia Recap; Google Attorney Speaks at Oxford, but if you missed the link to the papers from that event, here’s another one. The Yale Information Society had a Symposium on Search Engines, Law, and Public Policy in Early December 2005. While it is too late to attend, it’s the right time to take a look at some of the papers that accompanied some of the presentations made. They are an interesting collection, and worth a look, on topics such as search as an application platform, search engine bias, search engine liability for trademark infringement, and more.
I’m finding some interesting stuff at Mauro Cherubini’s Moleskine, including this recent description of the I-Spy Search Engine, which uses Google results, and adds collaborative ranking and filtering.
To close, a couple of links about attitude towards life, and towards the industry. The first, on the industry, is Andrew Goodman’s excellent article on Search Marketing’s About People and Principles, Not Just Algorithms, Part 1. I’m looking forward to part 2, tomorrow. The second is one that borders on preachy, but I still enjoyed it. It’s Scott Berkun’s essay on How to make a difference. In it he describes his last day working at Microsoft, the value of spending time with the people you care about, and the importance of thanking people for doing things that make a difference in your life. Scott has a lot of other essays on his site, and I’ve learned a lot from them.
See you around the web.