Tag Archives: Google

Ken’s Googlebomb Post – My Head Hurts

Last Sunday I got myself hooked into reading a blog post by Ken Evoy of Site Build It that was titled Proof That Google Has No True Googlebomb Algorithm. I have to say that I knew nothing about Ken Evoy other than being the top guy there, and I didn’t even know he had a blog until this post. After reading the post… my head hurt.

I have kept the post for a while now because I wanted to read it again. The first time I read it I actually knew overall what he was talking about. But it’s quite a long post, so much so that I’m going to tell most of you that if you’re not into technology and a lot of that kind of talk don’t even bother checking it out. I’m going to touch on some of this though, because it’s interesting stuff.

What the Site Build It folks were able to do was prove that the Google system could be gamed. They have all sorts of documentation from someone who made it their goal of showing just how they could fool Google and get to the top of the rankings right under Google’s nose, even telling people what was coming. Site Build It tried to tell Google what was happening and, instead of addressing it, pretty much ignored it.

I say “pretty much ignored” because there were a series of form letters Google sent to Ken, and apparently Ken didn’t like that. At one point Google seemed to tell them they were going to do something really positive, but then didn’t do a thing.

Let me step back for a quick moment, if I may. A “googlebomb” is usually where a bunch of people get together and create a ton of links to something to skew search results so they’ll take you to a specific page for a search term, whether they’ve earned it or not. The most famous google bomb (you can write it as either one or two words) was when you’d put in “miserable failure” and George Bush’s name came up; so wrong! lol

Another google bomb was perpetrated by John Chow when he was able to get something like 85,000 people to keep linking to his name to drive him up to the top in Google’s search engines and in page rank. At least at that time Google hated it so much they delisted his site (that’s bad), but for whatever reason it didn’t end up reducing his visitors, and he still made a ton of cash online. He’s now back on Google after a 3-year absence with a page rank and listing after they kissed and made up (pays to have a direct connection to Matt Cutts; but I digress…).

Anyway, what it’s all boiling down to is, in his own way, Ken is going for his own google bomb, though he wouldn’t call it that. He’s trying to rally the troops, who would be us, to support his cause by going to this link and joining him in kind of a protest. He’s also declared that he won’t write another thing on his blog until Google fixes this algorithm.

I have some takes on this; otherwise, why would I have written this much?

One, Ken has a pony in this race which slightly colors his anger here. Seems there were some folks who google bombed his company with negative reviews, not because they didn’t like him or the company but because they wanted to prove they could do it. That doesn’t sit well with him.

Two, I can’t understand how not writing any posts on his blog will help push his cause. To me, if I had a gripe about something I’d want to write almost every day about it, or at least often. Who does him not writing on his blog anymore help? Google won’t care, people reading his blog that agree or disagree with him won’t go back because they’ll have no idea how long his boycott is, and thus his message will get lost.

Three, I’m not sure all that many people will get enthused enough to join a movement to get Google to take care of this problem of google bombs. I mean, Google did take away the page rank from this blog for a little while, but my posts were still showing up on Google, sometimes in the top spot for certain terms (you want to see something neat?

I could say more, but I think that’s enough for the moment. I guess I’ll just put the question out there and ask who’s angry enough at Google to even think about joining a movement against them? Actually, I hope you go check out what he wrote, but be warned, it’s almost 5,800 words. Good thing I speed read! 😉
 

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G+ Activity Seems To Be Dwindling

Have you lost your love or enthusiasm for Google+ yet? When I wrote my post last month titled The Fuss About Google it was really new, not even a month old yet, and I talked about some of the things there that I felt people should know about.


by Shadow Byrd via Flickr

Since that day Google+ has jumped in members, to the point that there’s now at least 25 million people over there. That’s just phenomenal growth, no matter how you look at it. Then again it’s Google, a very well known technology company, and it was easy to promote and hype so it should have shown tremendous growth.

However, at this juncture it seems that the initial enthusiasm is starting to wane for a lot of users. Sure, there are all these articles out there on how to get a lot of Google+ followers and how it’s going to be an important social media tool, but right now, I almost hate to say it this way, but it’s boring.

Yup, there you have it; boring. Even the people who started out posting links like gangbusters, which I found really irritating, have slowed down. There are fewer images being put up, which pleases me because of all those moving .gif files that I kept having to mute.

What’s the problem? In a weird way the problem is the same complaint people have had about Twitter and Facebook; no real engagement. I have 8 circles set up and I’m starting to see maybe 3 or 4 new posts a day on most of those circles. The circles where I only have 6 or 8 people I can understand, but one of my circles has 30 people in it; one would think more of them would have something to say.

Many do have something to share, but you don’t see any real proof that anyone’s paying attention. Yeah, here and there you see that someone has given a 1+ thumbs up, but it’s a rare thing to see someone actually commenting on something, and then it’s even more rare to see that person get a response.

Frankly, with that kind of engagement I’d rather be on Twitter, where every once in awhile when you retweet something or respond to something someone wrote or posted you might get a response back. Actually, the same goes for Facebook; you at least will get 2 or 3 people, if not more, commenting on something you put up.

Not to say we haven’t had some conversations going on, but for the most part it’s just not something you see. Well, the A-listers are seeing conversations, but they’re not all that participatory, which is a gripe some people have about them on their blogs. Hey, you can only talk to so many people and still get work done, right?

But maybe I’m not being fair, so I’ll throw it out to you. Who think Google+ is the greatest thing since chocolate cake (I know you were wondering why I had a picture of chocolate cake lol)? If not, what do you think it needs to make it better or exciting?
 

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The Fuss About Google+

Google+ is all the rage these days as the next big thing in social media. In their own way, they’ve tried to say they’re not a social networking site, but that’s like saying vanilla pudding isn’t pudding (okay, I might say that from time to time since I only like chocolate).

First let’s talk about what Google+ is, because so many people have different opinions. In a way it reminds me of Facebook when I first signed on. It’s fairly clean and crisp, probably too much for me. Most people who are there now either got there via an invite or have some kind of Google account other than just Gmail. Someone tried to send me an invite when I kind of didn’t care and then she told me about it, so all I did was pull up the link to the site, which is http://plus.google.com and it let me create an account.

When you get there, you’ll find that some people have probably already added you in some fashion to what are called “circles”. There are some default circles already such as Friends, Family and Acquaintances, and you’re allowed to create other circles. The purpose is to be able to categorize people so that you can then determine who you want to follow or contact specifically if you’re not in the mood to follow everyone. You can put people in more than one circle if you want to, something I might have to think about doing.

It also handles people you don’t know differently than Facebook. You can hide or block those people, or you can create a circle to put those people in if you so choose. I created a circle I call “Unsure Folks” until I can figure out if I know them or not. I’ve yet to determine if you can de-list those folks later on if you decide you don’t want them around, but I have learned that you can remove someone from any circle by dragging their image out of the circle and popping them into the netherworld.

Actually, saying that makes little sense until you’re actually on the site, but you can either drag people’s images to a circle and drag them back or you can hover over people’s images and this menu comes up giving you the option of putting them into a particular circle. By the way, people never know what circle you’ve put them in or whether you’ve put them in a circle to begin with.

Okay, enough of that; you can learn more from many other areas, including the little video I’ve put at the bottom. Even in the video, the guy begins by calling it “Facebook killer”. Let’s explore this and other things I’ve been hearing.

There are a lot of folks touting this thing as the social network that’s going to kill Facebook, Twitter, and possibly LinkedIn, since MySpace is pretty much dead. I’m not sure I agree, and I wish I could see what everyone else is seeing.

For instance, I still prefer Twitter because it’s so “instant”; Google+ isn’t quite there yet.

I’m not going to say I prefer Facebook but it’s a totally different animal. There are some groups on Facebook that have great interaction but many are fairly dead. People are saying group conversations on Google+ are much better but I think it depends on the group. For instance, there’s a group of Syracuse University folks who think this is the cat’s meow (I wonder where that phrase came from) but then they’re all talking amongst themselves and they already know each other so that works just fine.

For someone like me, though, well, I don’t already have a group of people that I automatically talk to. Right now the majority of people I’m connected to are you good folks that I blog with, but almost none of us have ever talked with each other directly, either on the phone or through video. This means we really don’t overly know each other personally. I’ve had a conversation or two here and there with some of you on Google+, but nothing like hundreds of ideas going on at the same time.

Also, the site has something it calls Sparks, and I thought it might be like the Facebook groups where, if you say you happen to like something, it pops you into a group with like minded people. Instead, if you put in a topic it pulls up news stories or blog links and such, pretty much like Google would do; there’s no discussion going on about it, so what’s the point? I can just go to Google News instead.

Finally I keep hearing about the business part of it and how it can improve business relations. I’m missing that as well. On LinkedIn you can find people based on what it is they do. You can’t do that on Google+; you have to know people’s names, or someone else who might be connected to them. There’s this feature called Hangout which is their version of a chat room, and after downloading a small bit of software you can talk either through video, audio, or a combination. You can only have 10 people in a room right now. I like how smoothly it all runs; I don’t like that you can’t invite individuals. To get around that you’d have to create a new circle and add certain people to it, and then delete the circle later on once you’re done with it. However, it’s hard to complain all that much about another free service.

Will this be the death of Facebook? I don’t see it, but one never knows about people. There are no games and no groups, and I think a lot of people like those things. Will it be the death of Twitter? I don’t think so once again because I think Twitter’s value is its speed of conveying information to a ton of people all at once; it’s not going to work the same way on Google+. Will it be the death of LinkedIn? Once again I don’t see it, since LinkedIn’s value is in connecting with only business people and allowing you to search for people who are in your industry or that you might be able to do business with; Google+ offers Google search and that’s it; I don’t feel that’ll get it done.

And that’s what I have to say right now. Of course as people leap to Google at break-neck speeds right now we all might find that people are looking for something a little different than what we have now. If it allowed more of a pick and choose I might like it better than I do now. It’s early yet; let’s see what it looks like six months from now.

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Why I Left Firefox For Chrome And Why I Came Back

Last weekend I finally had it with Firefox. After one more crash because it was blowing up my resources I decided it was time to give up the ghost and I switched to Chrome.

I had two other alternatives, of course. I could have gone to Opera, which has always been pretty fast, but it just seems so sparse. True, one should probably only think about using a browser to browse the internet, but many of us are looking for certain things from our browsers to enhance the user experience, if you will. I also could have gone to IE8 but decided I just don’t want to go backwards, even though I’ve heard good things about IE9, which I haven’t loaded yet.

Anyway, Firefox had suddenly decided to go nuts on me. It was using some major league resources on my computer, once to the tune of 1.8GB; that’s a lot. It was regularly going over a gigabyte, and that was way too much. Then it started crashing all the time, asking me to send crash reports to Mozilla. Last Sunday it crashed the 7th time in one day and that was that.

So I made Chrome my default browser. I had been thinking about it anyway, but not without some reservation. It’s a Google product, as you know, and almost anything related to Google wants to track you. I wrote a post in 2010 telling people that if you use Google Toolbar it tracks your searches and then you start getting targeted advertising. I know they try to tell us it’s for our benefit but I just don’t feel the benefit if you know what I mean. At least you can turn it off for Google Desktop.

I used Chrome for about 4 days and started to feel that, though it had been running better than Firefox, it had issues as well. For instance, every once in awhile it just hangs for a little bit. I went to check the resources and found that it was using a gigabyte of memory as well; what the hey? It seemed to handle that much memory a little better than Firefox but not entirely; that was shocking.

Then I started missing some of my customization. For instance, I was able to modify the look of Firefox to what I was used to in the past; you can’t do that with Chrome. Also, certain plugins that make using a browser that I’ve come to like aren’t available on Chrome. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t figure out how to get anything onto Chrome whatsoever. Well, I did finally get one thing to work, but that was it.

Yup, I started missing Firefox, but I had to do something to help it stop crashing. I decided to take a look at all the plugins I was running, along with other things, to see what I really didn’t need anymore. I ended up disabling, then removing, a lot of things that I noticed didn’t even work anymore. Firefox 5 automatically disabled some thing it said it wasn’t compatible with, but I use both Stylish and Greasemonkey and it turns out some scripts with each of those weren’t working anymore either, and could have been causing a conflict.

The verdict is pretty good so far. The highest recorded memory since I made the changes is 525MB, which is easily more manageable. The browser hasn’t crashed since I started using it again and I’m happy about that as well. Maybe it’s finally going to behave; one can only hope, right?

But customization is really what puts Firefox ahead of every other browser, and in the end that’s really why it’s my favorite. That’s my story; what’s yours?

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Talking Privacy – Part Two

A year and a half ago I asked the question Do We Deserve Privacy Online? I took on the issue after reading a news story that basically said privacy is gone and we should get over it.

mozilla privacy cupcakes! DSC_6407.JPG
Roland Tanglao
via Compfight

At the time I had mixed feelings about the issue, and I find myself 18 months later still having mixed feelings about it. I’m taking it on again after reading a post by a guy that called himself Blog Bloke titled Social Media Profiling: Is Our Privacy Under Siege? His gripe is with the new Google+ site and some of the information they’re requiring to participate in the process. In particular, he’s against their rule which says one can’t use avatars, instead saying people have to use pictures of themselves.

For those of you who aren’t going to go check out his post or his blog, Blog Bloke is definitely a throwback to the old days of not trusting anyone; I doubt he’d disagree with this. Privacy is a major thing with him, and he doesn’t want his image out on the internet in any way. This is a right everyone has by the way, and I’m certainly not going to beat him up for that. As a matter of fact, he’s pretty much made his avatar his trademark, and many people know exactly who he is once they see that; kind of like Dennis and his magic DE logo.

Do I understand his position on privacy? Yes. Do I fully support it? Mixed feelings. Do I have things I don’t want to share? Absolutely. Do I use those things that require information I don’t feel like sharing? Nope; I just go on about my business.

Why did I bring that stuff up? If you check his post you’ll see I commented on it and I said there’s no obligation for any of us to participate in social media services whose policies we don’t support; social media is a right, not a privilege. That’s why I don’t play many games on Facebook, and why I’ve downloaded very few apps onto my smartphone, because I don’t feel like giving up some of my information so it can be sold to someone else. His position is that it is pretty much a right and that these companies (Google, Facebook, etc) really don’t have a right to ask us for any of it.

I’ll attempt to make my position clear here and see where you fall into things. He has a blog and gets to set his rules. I have a blog and get to set my rules. We’re both part of social media; so are all of you. I’ve decided on my blog that if I don’t know you already I’m not accepting names I can’t identify; ergo, no keyword names. I could care less if the rest of the world knows you already, until I know you I’m not allowing it. My blog, I pay for it, my policy. I don’t know what his is, and I don’t know what yours is. However, based on responses I’ve received on some of my posts, it seems that a majority of you would support this kind of thing because you can relate to it.

There’s the big boys, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. They all have policies as well. Some of them end up being very invasive, others not so much. There’s absolutely no right any of us have to circumvent those policies. Well, that’s not totally accurate. We do have the right to boycott, fuss, stomp our feet, write about it in our blogs, on and on and on.

But none of them have to change a thing. They’re not obligated to us. They’re paying for it in some way, we’re not. I thought about it over the weekend as I got an invite and took some folks up on joining the Google+ community. Then I thought about following it on my smartphone and it turns out that one of their rules is that if you access the page on your smartphone you must allow them to track you to find out where you are.

I’m somewhat hinky about that type of thing. I already know Google’s tracking me because I have a HTC phone, and it’s their product. I know that even after shutting down the Google location service they somehow know where I am; sigh. However, once you sign up for location tracking on something like Google+ or Facebook, it then starts telling people where you are at the moment you’re writing, and I’m not up for that. So I declined the offer; I’ll have to wait until I’m on a regular computer or laptop and play that way instead. I know, you’re probably thinking “hey, it knows when you’re at home”; that I can handle since my home is also my business.

International Spy Museum Handbook of Practical SpyingÂ

I asked my friend Sunny, one of my younger friends (who really needs to list her blogs somewhere so people can find them all lol) what her thoughts were, and people around her age, on the privacy issue. She said she felt that we’re all being tracked to some degree but if people are at least thinking about what they’re putting out about themselves that they can protect themselves a little bit.

I had to think about that one some because I realize that for the most part the genie is out of the bottle for me. Anyone can find out where I live by looking it up online because it’s also my business address. They can probably find my phone number for the same reason. They can find my picture and pictures of my wife, who has her own website as well. In other words, privacy is totally gone; I didn’t even make the chase interesting.

The same can be said for my friend Blog Bloke in a way. He’s been around at least 14 years online. We can know where he lives, and we can get his phone number. We know where his business is. The only thing we don’t know is what he really looks like. Does that matter? To him it does; to me it doesn’t. What matters is that we each get to decide just how private we want to be, but we can’t hide. If you want to prove it look up any name and see how much it costs you to get a wealth of information about that person.

By the way, I do have this thing about how some people hide themselves from others. I really don’t like fake commenter names and images, and some of you know my position on news commentary as it appears on news stories in online newspapers. I feel all those people should have to register their names and addresses with the newspaper and should have to use at least their real first name if they have something to say so there’s some type of decorum on those sites. Privacy in that instance isn’t a right; if you feel you have something to say, be an adult about it or keep your stupid thoughts to yourself; yeah, I said it.

Will I take up the privacy cause? No, it’s not my fight; I have other things I think are much more important to my life. I’ll let Blog Bloke & our federal government work on some of those things on my behalf. What I will say, once again, is that you need to protect yourself, your information, and your reputation. Once you’re associated with something in a certain way based on your actions, it’ll be hard to overcome. Be smart in what you do, be honest, and be careful. That’s all I have.

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