Google Makes 50 Changes to Search, Pinterest Leaps to 3rd Among Networks and Consumer Privacy Debates Continue: News Summary

Internet news for the week of April 1 – 7, 2012

Google made 50 changes to how its search engine ranks and scores websites recently. Some noteworthy changes include anchor text changes, better indexing of Google Profile pages and freshness improvements as Phil Buckley at 1918 points out. Notably Google spent the week in the press with the public debut of Google glasses. The sci-fi augmented-reality glasses, aka Project Glass are a reality that have some already speculating about the brave new world the glasses represent.

Google: Project Glass +

Google co-founder Sergey Brin sports augmented reality glasses at a charity event yesterday. (Credit: Thomas Hawk)

It is fateful news as Google attempts to maintain both – high credibility in the public eye AND its advertising empire (an empire that brought in an estimated 35 billion compared to Facebook’s 3.7 billion in 2011 ad revenue). The increasingly ‘social network’ influenced changes to its search algorithm (including most recently and notably – Search plus Your World) have, however, had some – even brand faithfuls – sharpening their proverbial pitchforks. Lately, some technologists have been asking if the search giant is or will be violating it’s ‘don’t be evil’ motto as it seeks to protect its future against consumer data advantages it may be losing to Facebook. (Note: this debate has been going on for quite some time. It’s a tough motto to keep).

You can see a demo video of Google glasses here.

Pinterest Joins Facebook and Twitter

Photo curation site Pinterest has been in the news lately as comScore puts the network in 3rd place (in amount of traffic) behind Facebook and Twitter, surpassing LinkedIn and Google Plus. Spin-offs of the hugely popular site continue to arrive in droves (much like daily deal sites did in the wake of GroupOn and LivingSocial). Pinterest did make noteworthy profile design changes recently, and continues to be a hit in the predominately female market.

Consumer Data & Internet Privacy Debates

The Wall St. Journal's interactive graph highlights 100 popular Facebook apps and the personal information they track

Interesting debates around the Selling of You (i.e. Consumer Data) continue to emerge. Even former funnyman turned US Senator Al Franken has gotten involved having brought to surface popular concerns with Internet privacy among social networks and search engines. Search engine expert, and Chief Editor of Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan however – says, not so quick Mr. Franken.

In a Debunking of Al Franken *sharp* rebuttal, Mr. Sullivan points out various issues with the Senator’s arguments (comparing credit card companies, retail stores and other ‘offline’ entities that not only gather and leverage hords of data about consumers, but that also provide consumers with no way of erasing data the way the search engines and social networks do). All said and done, both men seems to agree that privacy on the Internet, among other related issues, still needs to be monitored and addressed with judicious and economic acumen.

More News from April 1 – 7 (or thereabouts):

News of the Week, spotlight on Google and LinkedIn

Lot’s of news this week from LinkedIn, and Google.

First up, Google

ComScore released US Search Engine Rankings this week revealing that Google has actually gained .5% market share (more than any other engine listed). Additionally, Greg Sterling, writing for Search Engine Land, points out Google (is) Still #1 Traffic Source for Most Top 30 Websites.

In Google+ news, The Next Web highlights Complete’s recent report that shows Google+ yielded impressive growth toward the end of 2011.

These points come on the heals of announcements around an updated Google Nav Bar, and the introduction of Chrome Mobile Browser. Google is doing well. The search giant is also rolling out a new TEDx-styled brain trust initiative called  Solve for X.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDDy7QSdt6A&w=560&h=315]

The tagline on the site suggests it is…

“A forum to encourage and amplify technology-based moonshot thinking and teamwork.”

Next up, LinkedIn

Professional social networking site LinkedIn seems to have a lot to celebrate of late. They had a 20 million member increase during November of 2011. Their end of year revenue hopped 115% in 2011 over 2010 numbers. The network looks to further monetize it’s offering by introducing ads to their mobile app sometime in 2012.

In a company issued press release, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner:

“We believe continued focus on our members and technology infrastructure positions us well for accelerated product innovation in 2012.”

Following that line of thought, All Things D reports that LinkedIn is rumored to have purchased Rapportive, an interesting email add-on.

Rapportive
Rapportive, rumored to have been bought by LinkedIn

To get more on tech news, follow me on Twitter or subscribe to the blog using the RSS option in the top right of the page. Thanks for reading, and take care.

Borders Bookstore Closes and the Internet Keeps Chipping Away at our Brains

I, like many of you, this week received email notifying me the Borders Bookstore would be closing. And, like many of you, I already knew that the bookstore was set to close it’s remaining 400 or so stores. What I didn’t know was that they would be offering me, and you, a new location to store and view our ebooks.

Last year (really not that long ago) Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains generated a lot of media buzz. Folks from all over the media landscape were talking about Carr’s book and the suggested implications. I bought the book via Borders eBook site. If you’re vaguely or even not familiar with the book, Carr’s premise focuses squarely on what the internet is doing to our brains. The germ of his book started as a piece for the Atlantic entitled, Is Google Making Us Stupid?

The Shallows question and answer session – what is the Internet doing to our brains? – is a puzzle that Carr sets out to unveil with a review of the media business at large. His review, however, quickly launches backward into history with – who else but – Marshal McLuhan.


The Medium is the Message

Early pages of the book help position the debate for Carr. Using McLuhan, Carr points out…

“McLuhan understood that whenever a new medium comes along, people naturally get caught u in the information-the “content”- it carries. They care about the news in the news in the newspaper, the music on the radio, the shows on the TV, the words spoken by the person on the far end of the phone line.”

In The Shallows Carr covers the advent of the printing press, and how mass-production of reading materials meant more people could read. He talks functionality of the brain, and presents studies that document the elasticity of the brain. He also uncovers developments in reading styles from early days when textwasallpushedtogether (bet you didn’t know about that? – I sure didn’t). In large, he writes about new methods to create, disseminate, and to consume information.

… Which brings me to this the second thing – the alternative we’ve been given.

When Border’s sent me (and you) that email they did something upstanding. They recognized that they had a contract with us (it’s eBook purchasing public) for which they could (a) abandon like empty storefronts scattered throughout the country; or, they could (b) do their best to provide us with a seamless transition that would allow us to continue to enjoy our purchases.

I’m happy to say, they went with option B.

In parting, they offer what appears to be a very nice platform for reading (and sharing) books online, Kobo. I have tried the site out and have even run through the catalog of free books. Though different, something about Kobo reminds me of audible.com.

Now, I’m only so comfortable reading books online, but I’m certainly going to give Kobo a shot. Much like Google’s book project, Kobo appears to have interest in helping us make the transition to read more online.

.. if you didn’t see it Border’s is having a Going Out of Business SALE!

Borders Books at 1807 Fordham Boulevard in Cha...
Image via Wikipedia

They messed up. Borders and Barnes and Noble’s were each at a turning point. Barnes and Noble’s decided to take the hard road. They created their own online book ordering system, along with the shipping and other headaches that can be a part of – not just a new initiative, but – an e-commerce business of their size.

Borders, on the other hand, decided to outsource their e-commerce, choosing fulfillment partners in Amazon (a potentially dangerous competitor?!). Hindsight now.

So Border’s is closing it’s remaining 400+ stores, including the one in my town of York, PA. I think that sucks, course I can only pay attention long enough to .. get another latte.

What are your thoughts ’bout any of this?