‘Extensions for Developers’ Category
Google’s search engine is damaging users’ brains, an author has claimed.
Nicholas Carr, the author of the book ‘The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains’, has claimed that Google is stunting mental growth of users who use the platform to search for information.
He proposed that making websites like Google more difficult to use would ensure that people actually use their brains when looking for information online.
Carr said in a statement to BBC News: “In many ways I admire Google, but I think they have a narrow view of the way we should be using our minds.”
“They have this very much of an industrial view that everything’s about how efficiently you can find that particular bit of information you need – and then move on to the next.”
He claimed that Google’s efforts of making the web simpler are actually having adverse affects on users’ intellectual capacity.
“When you think about how we’re coming to depend on software for all sorts of intellectual chores, for finding information, for socialising – you need to start worrying that it’s not giving us, as individuals, enough room to act for ourselves,” he added.
Perhaps the most important and lasting legacy of Instant on the history of search is the fact that it introduces a new concept called CSI for Conversational Search Interaction as mentioned by Ben Gomes, Distinguished engineer at Google in one blog post.
The CSI that Gomes is refering to is the fact that Google Instant automatically refreshes the search engine results page without being prompted by the user.
Google manages to do that trick by converting the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) static HTML page structure into what is essentially an Ajax application, a move that will have profound consequences on the way the web moves.
What’s interesting as well is that the URL sneakily changes every time and is being recorded as a separate SERP altogether. This means that overnight, the number of searches carried out by Google users exploded (although Google already said that it doesn’t count all actions as page impressions).
What does that leave us with? Google managed to cram more search results per unit time, making search results even more relevant for the user which in turn should raise the click through rates (CTR) and bring in more revenue for Google.
Google has updated its Google Maps for Android application to include the beta version of the Walking Navigation tool.
According to Google, the Walking Navigation tool will allow mobile users to receive walking directions for known pedestrian pathways.
The tool can be selected from the Navigation icon on the top left corner of the screen.
The Walking Navigation tool comes with some tweaks. The phone will vibrate when users need to make a turn and they can also turn off voice guidance and receive satellite view by default.
The map is also designed to turn as users rotate the mobile.
Google has warned that Google Maps may not be updated with recent information and has asked users to walk with their eyes open and pay attention to road signs in order to avoid any incidents.
The company has also introduced the smart navigation feature to Street View, allowing users to fly to the street of their choice by simply swiping a finger on the screen, and a new Google Maps search bar with enhanced search options.
Google’s legal head has urged the US government to pressure countries that censor the internet, arguing that censorship restrains US trade.
News agency Reuters has reported that Google Chief Legal Officer (CLO) David Drummond has requested US authorities consider internet censorship as a practise that harms US trade and evaluate its effects on the Human Rights of US citizens.
Addressing a public event attended by several top level executives and the US trade representative Ron Kirk at Google’s head office in Mountain View, California, Drummond said: “It is really a trade barrier for U.S. companies that are trying to do business abroad.”
“If this were happening with physical trade and manufacturing goods, we’d all be saying this violates trade agreements pretty fundamentally.”
The statement comes in wake of long running dispute between the search giant and the Chinese government over the censorship of search results, as well as another with Turkey, where Google’s You Tube has been banned for more than two years.
Drummond urged the US government to prioritise the issue as it prohibits Google, as well as many other American companies, from accessing foreign markets, so hampering business.
Google is placing a huge bet with Google Instant, the most radical overhaul yet to the way the search engine work, one that could potentially affect revenues generated by Adwords.
Dan Friedman from the Inside AdWords team explains in ablogpost that Google is expecting increased user engagement with search services and ads as well.
Since the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) changes in real time depending on the characters that are typed in the search box, the ads on the right will change dynamically as well with some SERPs likely to have no ads at all (something we’ve noticed while testing).
Friedman adds that Google Instant “changes the way we think about impressions” with an impression now being counted when either of the three following happens : a user takes an action to choose a query, clicks on a link in the SERP or stops typing for three seconds or more.
Worryingly, Google apparently doesn’t know whether it will increase or decrease overall impression levels, something which it should have processed during prior testing. But the search engine reckons that Google Instant will improve the quality of the clicks.
Tom Foremski, writing for ZDNet, also points out to the fact that Google Instant might distract users from the ads given that the eye tracker data presented at Google launch showed that users will tend to focus on the search box and the area below it rather than elsewhere.
It is obviously too early to judge whether Google has shot itself in the foot as Foremski puts it but given that shares of Google are up, it is likely that investors and observers alike are pleased that Google hasn’t lost focus on its core services.
Google is a for-profit business so to some extent, the introduction of Instant search has to help Google make money and here’s how Google plans to do it.
Like Microsoft, Google has now reached a point where the search engine has become its main competitor, it cannot increase its market share significantly and is experiencing the law of diminishing returns.
What Instant search will allow it to do is not only to decrease the time you spend on one search but also, and Google is betting big on it, that you will actually be carrying out MORE searches within Google over the same period.
In essence, Google is amplifying Search serendipity and converting what is essentially a serial process into a parallel one. The new Instant search will encourage people to explore more searches because it can be done effortlessly.
Those who have played with the new Google search will have noticed that you don’t even need the search button now; it is irrelevant since the the SERPs automatically refreshes.
Indeed, and as mentioned yesterday, Google wants users to learn new tricks (using your keyboard only) in order to significantly reduce the 24 seconds that a human being spends on entering a query AND selecting a result from the SERP.
In comparison, Google’s share of the total average time spent on a search query is only 1.1 seconds or four per cent and can’t possibly cut that down. By cramming more SERPS per unit time, Google multiplies the chance that the user will come across the result it wants.
That’s a very, very significant paradigm shift in the way people normally interact with the search engine. Google engineers told us that Instant search can save around 3.5 seconds on average per search query which translates in a 14 per cent reduction in the time per search.
We reckon that this can be cut down even more by making it irrelevant to access Google.com; expect Google to get put Instant search everywhere. I just hope it comes to Chrome’s omnibox fast enough.
A few days ago, a little known Google feature surfaced again, which will almost certainly end up on Google Instant for mobile; Scribe as it is known bears an uncanny resemblance with the new functionality that was unveiled yesterday by Google during an event held in San Francisco.
Scribe provides autocomplete suggestions to users as they type in their characters that are based on search engine results (like Instant) and will eventually be rolled out in a number of languages.
Currently, it is still in labs, which means that it doesn’t take into account search history or user’s personalisation yet, something, which like for Instant, may change in the future.
The suggestions are ranked by “Google Scribe Score” which is based on popularity, relevance and other factors.
What’s more interesting is that the suggestions can be chosen by keying in a number from 0 to 9, something which will prove invaluable on a mobile phone. Not only does this significantly reduce the number of entries needed to write a sentence or a message, it is also of great importance for Google as it provides it with feedback on what’s important.
Google is likely to introduce Instant for mobiles within a few months according to numerous reports that have popped up over the internet; Google Instant, which was announced yesterday, is considered by many as one of the biggest changes that has happened to the search engine during the last 12 years.
Mashable has published a video showing an example of how Google Instant search will appear on a mobile handset screen (the interviewee used a Motorola Milestone handset with a large 800×480 pixels screen).
There are a few differences compared to the desktop version; you will need to have a fast connection, not all mobile devices will support it, you will need a compatible browser (sorry Opera) and there is no TAB button on most devices.
Google also confirmed that its mobile apps will support the Instant feature at some point in the future. Some though have noted that heavy Google Instant users may end up raking big bills due to the bandwidth consumed.
Google has demonstrated a live speech translator for Android at the IFA conference in Berlin, Germany.
The search giant showcased a live speech translation via two Android smartphones. The demo featured translations from English to German and vice versa, tech news site The Inquirer reports.
The experimental Google application, which was showcased by Google product management director Hugo Barra, performed a live speech translations so that two users, speaking two different languages, could communicate with each other.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said: “Live translate is the next logical succession, and may be possible in the future.” No release date for the app was mentioned as it is still in its developmental stage.
The company also demonstrated a voice search application, which will allow users to perform Web searches just by speaking in to their cellphones.
Hugo Barra demonstrated the application by using the phrase “navigate to a museum with Egyptian stuff”. The application provided him with the location and details about Berlin’s Pergamon Museum.
Google has again changed the doodle representing company logo on its search engine.
According to Telegraph, Google has sucked out all colour and design from its doodle on the homepage of its search engine and replaced it with dull, grey letters that spell out the company’s name. However, as users begin to type a search query, the colour returns to the logo, one letter at a time.
The all new grey Google doodle follows yesterday’s bunch of colourful balls, forming the company’s logo, which sprung-up to life when touched with the mouse cursor.
Currently internet pundits and journalists are filling the web with rumours whilst attempting to solve the mystery behind today’s colourless, and yesterday’s colourful, doodle.
Google doodles are usually put up to mark an iconic event, such as the birthday anniversary of a famous personality, or to mark the independence day of a country.
The mystery is expected to be solved today at Google’s ‘Search On’ event, held by the company to announce new search engine updates. The event is set to start at 5:30pm GMT in San Francisco, tech news site THINQ reports.
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