Google has been accused again of promoting its own services over others in search results. The latest study was sponsored by Yelp which has complained about this before.
Study Claims Google Is Delivering “Degraded” Search Results, Adding Steam To EU Antitrust Case, Search Engine Land (Jun 29)
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, researchers from Columbia University and Harvard Business School claim Google is delivering a “degraded version of its search engine,” outranking its own services over more relevant results for local searches on restaurants and hotels.
Google’s expanded use of answers at the top of search results has some problems. As always, the searcher has to know enough to vet the results received from a search engine.
When Google Gets It Wrong: Direct Answers With Debatable, Incorrect & Weird Content, Search Engine Land (June 17)
The addition of more direct answer content is fraught with problems as Google’s algorithms attempt to find answers to tricky queries. With no human review process in place for the results, the opportunity grows for debatable, incorrect and sometimes completely inappropriate content showing up as a top search result.
ResearchBuzz picks up the darnedest items — What Google’s Algorithm Change Means for Library Websites (Public Libraries Online, June 9) —
“On April 21, Google changed its algorithm to give preference to mobile-friendly sites on searches performed on mobile devices. This means that sites that aren’t designated as “mobile-friendly” by Google sink to the bottom in mobile search results while sites that do pass the test appear toward the top.”
Article advises libraries on what to do to make their websites more mobile-friendly.
Of interest – “WordPress, for example, offers WPtouch, a plug-in that automatically enables a mobile theme for visitors reaching you by way of their phones”
The Guardian reminds us that DuckDuckGo search engine does not track user data.
DuckDuckGo traffic soars in wake of Snowden revelations (June 17)
Google Operating System describes the New Interface for Google Cache (June 19).
Cache holds the page as Google indexed it. Viewing it can often help when a link goes dead or there are very recent changes. Click on the down arrow beside the link in the search result and select “Cached”.
Google lets you switch between:
* the “full version”, which is displayed by default
* the “text-only version”, which doesn’t load images, scripts and other resources
* the page source – a new feature that shows the source code of the HTML page.
Better video search at Bing – according to this article – Bing Refreshes Video Search: Adds Bigger Thumbnail Images & Offers More Info (Search Engine Land, June 19) Promises to make search faster.
Google has been censoring search results (when asked or required) on its country versions of the search engine – not globally. Thus, if blocked in Google.ca, a searcher could find the item in any other Google version. But, as these two articles from Danny Sullivan show, countries are onto this trick – and in Canada a judge in British Columbia has ordered Google to remove ALL links to Datalinks Technologies Gateways, a company found guilty of trademark infringement. What will this mean for search?
Canadian Appeals Court Orders Google To Censor Globally, Search Engine Land (Jun 12)
How The Myth Of Google Censorship Was Busted By The EU & Canada Marketing Land (Jun 12)
It won’t be easy. As Danny Sullivan points out, Google has been making it more difficult for searchers to break out of the country version. The next step might be that Google adopts IP-based censorship. But what a complex web that could create – while still not satisfying such court cases as the Canadian one and pressures by France that Google apply “right to be forgotten” globally.
Yahoo announced changes in product offerings while stating that “we continue to focus on our key product pillars: search, communications and digital content”.
Q2 2015 Progress Report On Our Product Prioritization, Yahoo Tumblr (Jun 4 )
- closing Yahoo Maps site;
- shutting down some regional properties – Canada loses Yahoo Music, Yahoo TV
- ending Yahoo Pipes used by developers for mashing together data
Front page, lead story in the Seattle Times – Bing no longer a search-engine blip, Matt Day (May 22). Microsoft claims that one in five searches in the U.S. on desktop computers is done through Bing. Actually, Bing has been gaining from Yahoo – and Yahoo had been using the Bing database. Also – many challenges remain. Bing has yet to break even, or make any inroad on mobile devices.
Of greatest interest: “Microsoft has integrated Bing’s underlying data-crunching technology into its other software, and plans to tie it closely to its upcoming Windows 10 operating system.”
One by one Google strips itself of the features that made the Google search engine excellent for web search. This time it’s the reading level search filter. Presumably it wasn’t used much, but that is hardly a good reason – not when it was a feature valued by a key segment of the user population.
Google Drops Another Search Filter: Reading Level, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (May 8)
Karen Blakeman, a professional searcher, is one who feels the loss. She commented in – Google dumps Reading Level search filter that feature helped to separate the technical, serious articles from “consumer or retail focused pages” – which I think we could call the trivial. She wonders, as do I, which of the few remaining advanced search features Google will drop next. Pray that it won’t be number range.