When it comes to SERPs, and what users choose from the array of results, Google says, “Our User Experience Research team has found that people evaluate the search results page so quickly that they make most of their decisions unconsciously.” I could have told them that for a free Google mug. And maybe a Google Frisbee.
Search engines, like any object you use on a routine basis, becomes an extension of your senses. Are we really surprised that a thumbnail in universal search draws attention? No. It’s the contrast to a plain. It’s a key component to effective design, photography, and even magic tricks. But what Google determines from this study is that the thumbnails in the SERPs are also not a distraction if they don’t fit the kind of information a specific user seeking.
Hey all – been taking a vacation from the blog for a while, sorting out some personal issues. Wanted to bring up a cool meta search engine that I’ve been getting back into. It’s not new, but it’s a cool way to search when your old standby’s aren’t doing the job.
A meta-search engine is a search engine that sends user requests to several other search engines and/or databases and aggregates the results into …
note: image was altered to fit the width of my blog
“Customized for the metro Philly area”, eh? Interesting, except my actual location this time was outside of Philadelphia, in Reading, Pennsylvania – Berks County, not Philadelphia. I’m not exactly sure how the geo-tracking works in this case (I’ll have to look into that), but when I checked my IP path, I’m not running through Philly. Why not choose Harrisburg then? I’m equally close.
SEO and IP aside, I just started to wonder about whether this was a good idea at all.
I wasn’t logged in. I wasn’t asking for personalized search. What if I didn’t want an art program in the Philadelphia area, but rather an art program like Photoshop? Why would I want a customized “local” search? Or, what if I was open to any location? Granted, these results really didn’t seem that customized to Philly this time around, but how far can Google take this?
I’d prefer some parametric buttons that would let me choose customized results to my location, instead of just having it be “on”.
Wow. A lot of things happened since this post. First, I’m no longer married. And second, Cuil is dead. Finally went off line at some point in September or October 2010. I didn’t even notice.
My wife IM’d me today and says, “did you hear about the new Google?”. Seriously. So Cuil is making the rounds in a big way today, with a flare gun. I’ve been finding posts on mainstream sites like CNN, and even MSN (Pulitzer would be proud!), it’s one hell of a launch when the headline is Ex-Googlers launch Cuil. With a 120 billion page index out of the gate, Cuil (pronounced ‘cool’) is really risking something with this huge grand scale ‘first impression’. So far, it doesn’t look like the gamble is paying off in the search blogosphere. Reviews have been poor to lukewarm (my favorite so far being over at Search Engine Land).
I found some bugs. Not sure if it was due to an influx of new traffic, but a lot of searches didn’t resolve around 11:30am (eastern). The “About Cuil” link didn’t work, either, but is restored now.
Also, for having more indexed pages than Google, I found it very thin in variety. In a blended search world, I appreciate this engines layout, but it really does lack media blending. Pages that seemed to rank well for their ‘relevancy’, as is the selling-point of this engine, didn’t seem to be all that relevant. I do very much like the Explore By Category feature, and look forward to that improving (it was my favorite feature of the SearchMe.com engine, but I’m not sure Cuil is quite as diverse here).
Granted, I wasn’t first (generation) to the Twitter party. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t even third or fourth. But I’ve been here about 6 months, and still don’t know if it’s living up to the hype (yet)… Kind of like second life, despite shout outs on The Office. But I DO think there is something to Twitter, and life streaming in general. I love the idea. I love taking this online networking web… 0’s and 1’s, and continually turning it into something that becomes more valuable than the telephone ever was. There’s art, love, life, philosophy, zen, existentialism, religion, and a lot more on Al Gore’s Interweb. I love the idea of this mind/matter technical extension, and being able to one day say more with less in the cyber age. Is Twitter the way to do it? It’s a way. Is Twitter for everyone? No, but either is poetry. Is it even wise to expect that computers can take our intellectual depths, or profound realties to an evolved level?
I just re-read that first paragraph. No, I am not smoking pot.
Though I’m letting stream of consciousness run this post, I do think that there’s way more to the internet than what we see now. I think it will grow in the next 5 years to something less “computer”, and more “human”. Not Terminator type human, but more of cerebral type thing. Then again, I’m 33, and I don’t know what a 15 year old is experiencing at this point in the computer lab of his/her school, and a handful of social network profiles.
I’m hopeful. Without growth, there is no evolution. Add me on Twitter so I can continue to be part of the wave. Bill Sebald.
One of the greatest (mostly) unknown abilities of robots.txt is wildcard pattern matching. We know how robots.txt can block files and directories from being crawled, but in the case of URLs with unique paramaters and duplicate content issues, did you know that Google and Yahoo respect wildcards (this was verified by connections at the engines – but MSN said they do not respect pattern matching “at this time”).
If you have URLs with unique parameters – for example, UTM with Google analytics, paid search tags, and so on – you can create a robots.txt entry like this:
How cool is that? Remember, this only should be employed if you have very unique parameters. If your parameters are keyworded, and that keyword appears as other directories or page names, they will get blocked too… quite possibly to your dismay.
More from Google’s Webmaster Blog.