Search turns mobile

The smartphone is changing people’s search practices and Google, in the face of a multitude of apps, is fighting to stay King of Search. Leading the charge is Amit Singhal, Google’s search chief.

Reinventing Google for a Mobile World, Conor Dougherty, New York Times (July 9)

“My job is not to just look at the trend today. My job is to look at what’s beyond the horizon,” Mr. Singhal said in the interview. “And beyond the horizon, there is so much more people can do on their devices that is not possible today.”

Context Pervades the Smartphone

Personalizing results is all about context – where you are, what you looked at before, and probably several other factors, which Google NOW is determined to identify. This is especially true for activity on the smartphone. And it’s not just Google – it’s in apps, in the fitbit you wear, Facebook, everything – as you will read in this article.

The Future Of Search Engines Is Context, Aaron Friedman, Search Engine Land (April 6)

Rove with TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor users will have new tools for keeping a travel journal through TripAdvisor’s acquisition of ZeTrip and the Rove app.

TripAdvisor Buys ZeTrip And Its Personal Travel Journal App Rove, Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch (Feb 2)

While TripAdvisor is not being very specific about how it might use Rove’s technology, the acquisition comes at an interesting time in mobile location-based services. Facebook last week launched a new feature for app users called “Place Tips”, which pushes friends’ tips and insights about locations that you are visiting. It’s a direct competitor to Yelp and Foursquare/Swarm, and comes at the same time that the latter has tapped into passive services itself, picking up users’ location information and pushing suggestions to you without them having to make any effort.

The Growing Importance of Mobile

Google gives sites that are mobile friendly a ranking boost in search results.

Google Is Experimenting With Special Ranking For Mobile-Friendly Sites, Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land (Nov 18)

Google already penalizes sites that provide a bad experience to mobile searchers. Now the company has confirmed that it’s testing with what seems like a boost for those providing a great experience.

This is good, but it is also part of the trend that makes mobile access to the web more important than desktop. Wall Street Journal has noted that The Web Is Dying; Apps Are Killing It by Phil Foster (Nov 17)

Mountains of data tell us that, in aggregate, we are spending time in apps that we once spent surfing the Web. We’re in love with apps, and they’ve taken over. On phones, 86% of our time is spent in apps, and just 14% is spent on the Web, according to mobile-analytics company Flurry.

Firefox at 10

Mozilla’s Firefox browser is nearly 10 years old. In 2004 the one to beat was Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. That’s done. Now the challenge is to counter Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android

Ten years in, Firefox fights on — now against Google and Apple by Stephen Shankland, CNet (Nov 10)

Instead of just taking on a browser, Mozilla now is competing against two operating systems, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Mozilla’s alternative is Firefox OS, a browser-based operating system. The goal remains the same, though: give people choice about what technology they use on the Internet and give them control over their data.

It might be a rough road: mobile usage is increasing rapidly, and Firefox’s share of that market is very small. It’s become a matter of operating systems. Here’s hoping for a Firefox OS.

More tips from MES

Mary Ellen Bates had more super-searcher tools and tips for attendees at Internet Librarian 2014. @mebs #internetlibrarian Good reminder that changing position of search terms does make a difference – to which I will add, it can even make a difference in getting a Knowledge nugget. There are several hacking-type of tips using advanced search operators – good to know. And a message for users of Android and iOS devices – look into Google Now – it can anticipate your needs, as Bates shows.