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Google Alerts Drops RSS Delivery Option

Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land points out that Google Alerts Drops RSS Delivery Option, which is pretty upsetting. The message says that “Google Reader is no longer available,” and says users need to switch to email alerts. Seems that Google is either just dumping RSS wholesale or that the feed engine that ran the RSS alerts was part of the Reader infrastructure. (You can still subscribe to Google News alerts by RSS, and news search terms, it seems, so I have no idea what the link is.)  As commenters point out, this is going to break a lot more than simply Google Alerts. A lotContinue readingGoogle Alerts Drops RSS Delivery Option

The Google Dilemma

Once we lived in simpler times. Google was a search engine that made its money off ads that were based on what we searched for. Look for cocoa and you’d get an ad for hot chocolate alongside the search results. Google made lots of money from this and we got our hot chocolate. This worked because the web was searchable. At the end of the 1990s there was no walled garden beyond the shrinking cabbage patches of early Internet service providers AOL and CompuServe: All the the web was there anxious to be indexed, to be searchable. Idealists wandered into the sunshine and spoke ofContinue readingThe Google Dilemma

The Browser Doesn’t Matter So Long As It Goes to Google

The whole Google/Firefox issue is an interesting one: Google is the default search engine in Firefox because it pays to be there. The three-year deal expired in November 2011. Would they renew? Some thought no. They were wrong. Not only has Google renewed the deal whereby it effectively bankrolls Firefox, but it’s the first time that it’s continued the deal after launching its own browser, and the first time it’s done so after Chrome is actually has as many users, according to some measures, as Firefox. On top of that, there are reports from AllThingsD that the deal is worth $300 million a year, moreContinue readingThe Browser Doesn’t Matter So Long As It Goes to Google

Using Google to Predict the Future

Elegantly simple proposal to measure economic confidence in The Economist’s search for other quirky indicators: searches in the U.S. on Google for “gold price” in the piece Alternative indicators: Behind the bald figures But the hottest tip came from Edward Ritchie, an investment analyst in London. He tracks Google searches for the “gold price” as an indicator of economic confidence. This does not follow the gold price itself. For example, during most of 2008 when the world’s financial system was melting down, the gold price tumbled yet the number of searches soared. The number of gold-price searches shoots up when American consumer confidence dives and subsidesContinue readingUsing Google to Predict the Future

Getting Paid for Doing Bad Things (12″ version)

This is the extended version of my earlier blog post. The BBC finally ran my commentary so for those of you who want more info, here it is: Think of it as product placement for the Internet. It’s been around a while, but I just figured out how it works, and it made me realise that the early dreams of a blogging utopia on the web are pretty much dead. Here’s how this kind of product placement works. On the Internet Google is like a benevolent dictator: it creates great stuff we love, and with which most of the net wouldn’t work. But it alsoContinue readingGetting Paid for Doing Bad Things (12″ version)

How To Use Google To Get Round Super Injunctions

As you may know there’s been lots of talk about a so-called super injunction taken out by a British footballer against revealing his name in connection with an affair he’s alleged to have had with a minor UK celebrity. One British newspaper has ignored the injunction, effectively identifying him. Twitter has also been abuzz. It amused me to notice that Google has ignored the injunction, too, effectively. With Google Instant autosearch on, start typing “super injunction footballer imogen” and the answer–or at least what everyone assumes is the answer will appear in the drop down list below. As I’ve illustrated above, but with the nameContinue readingHow To Use Google To Get Round Super Injunctions

Google’s Missteps

By Jeremy Wagstaff This one needed some correcting, for which apologies, and also, unsurprisingly, attracted some opprobrium. It’s Google Notebook, not Notes, and Jaiku’s founders are Finnish, not Swedish. I’m a big fan of Google. A big fan. But I’ve finally realized what its problem is. It doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing. Take its recent decision to close something called Google Wave. Google Wave was introduced to much fanfare back in May 2009. I can’t really describe what it is, but I can tell you what Google called it. Email killer, a new version of the web, etc etc. “Wave is what emailContinue readingGoogle’s Missteps

Google and History

I had gotten excited about Google’s timeline search before, but hadn’t seen this: Google is mining not just text for the dates of more recent stuff, but everything, stretching back into the mists of time, culled from Google Books: The result is an odd but interesting automatically generated history of whatever you’re looking for. In this case, I was looking for “cleft stick”. This is what appeared: And the first few were all about how women found to be disrespectful, swearing, reveling or other forms of subversion had their tongues inserted into a cleft stick—a stick with the end split, and the tongue inserted: TheContinue readingGoogle and History

Obese Texters, Back to the Future, and Scams

I make an appearance on the excellent Breakfast Club show on Radio Australia each Friday at about 01:15 GMT and some listeners have asked me post links to the stuff I talk about, so here they are. Texting reduces obesity If your kids are getting a little overweight, then treat them to a bit of texting. But it’s not quite how it sounds (I thought it might be something to do with the aerobic workout you get from the thumb twiddling.) No, a study by the University of North Carolina suggests that if obese kids are encouraged to keep a record of their eating habitsContinue readingObese Texters, Back to the Future, and Scams

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