The online travel industry is consolidating. This New York Times article – Fewer, Bigger Travel Sites (Apr 29) – reports that Priceline is buying Kayak (air and hotel), and Expedia acquired the German Trivago (hotel search).
“In March, Expedia ranked second after TripAdvisor, with Priceline third among the top 10 online travel agencies and search sites, for the “number of unique visitors,” according to comScore, which tracks visitors to travel and other types of Web sites. In March, TripAdvisor had nearly 20.95 million visitors, followed closely by Expedia with 20.92 million, and Priceline had 17.45 million. Kayak.com Network ranked eighth with 8.94 million visitors, with Trivago Sites ranking 248th with 142,000. Online travel agencies make money through online advertising more than through transactions, Mr. Harteveldt said. “
We should all know by now that DuckDuckGo is scrupulous about not keeping any record on what you search. There is no search history! I have recommended this search engine to everyone I know who is at all concerned about the very obvious use of search history at Google or Bing to influence search results.
This article explains how DDG does that through use of HTTPS encryption. Get your privacy ducks in a row with DuckDuckGo by Alex Wawro, PCWorld (April 19)
We also learn that DDG, while it has its own crawler, also sends the query to over 30 search engines including
Google Yahoo, Bing and Blekko. It’s a meta-search engine – but with a difference – it employs Web of Trust ratings to assess results — these are two more reasons to add DuckDuckGo to your search tool kit. It’s not only private – it has breadth and screens the results.
Note this correction: DDG does not search Google, but it does use the Bing index and Blekko. More information about sources here.
Zac at DDG reminded me that there are also instant answers obtained from many sources – see this page about goodies and try a few.
The usefulness of social media for posting announcements about company financial results can take a bad turn – as happened when hackers faked a Twitter feed from AP reporting that the WHite House had been attacked. Stock market immediately tumbled.
Social Media pose challenge for regulators, Jeff Gray, Globe and Mail (April 24)
“The multibillion-dollar stock market collapse triggered by a hacked Twitter feed highlights the complex problems market regulators face in the social media age – and the potential risks to investors”.
Notwithstanding these problems, “social media eventually will become a standard route for corporate disclosures.” (quoting Carol Hansell, a senior partner with Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP in Toronto).
Interesting term – spear-phishing
“In the AP case – according to what appeared to be an internal AP memo posted by U.S. media blogger Jim Romenesko – hackers tricked AP employees into clicking on a link in an e-mail that appeared to come from a colleague, a targeted technique known as “spear phishing” that allows hackers to induce people into unknowingly providing passwords or personal information.”
Analyzing search terms and Google queries could pay off.
‘Big Data’ Researchers Turn to Google to Beat the Markets, Bernhard Warner, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (Apr 25)
A research team from several business schools “analyzed on a week-by-week basis the ups and downs of Google search volume for the 98 finance-related terms” and used the trends to make buy and sell decisions.
“Based on the results, it would sell or buy into its theoretical Dow Jones industrial average index-weighted portfolio. “If the volume of search terms went up in the previous week, we would open up a hypothetical short position and sell in the following week,” explains Preis. “If there was a decrease in volume, then we’d buy.””
Google once had Google Insights where the general user could get a view of queries. Today it is the more limited Google Trends.
The European Commission is forcing Google to play fair and not give preference to its own properties in search results. Google has prepared some proposals for labelling its own results more clearly. But this may not address the main complaints by vertical / specialized search services such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and many more.
EC details Google’s proposed search concessions, by Stephen Shankland, CNet (April 25)
Under Google’s proposal, the company would label its own services in specialized search results and mark them off as a separate region. And it would clearly show links to at least three rival services as well.
Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land provides a more detailed look at Google’s layout proposals — Google’s New European “Antitrust” Search Results: Here’s What They’ll Look Like
It is my pleasure to blog a column by Tabatha Southey of the Globe and Mail in which she writes about The crowd-sourced court is now in session (Apr 19)
In the aftermath of the Boston bombs, she reflects on the eagerness of people on the Internet to help – but also to judge and by their actions, cause a lot of trouble. The Internet is real life, but magnified by the instant communications.
Good tip from Rick Broida — Use SpeedTest to help diagnose Internet problems – Speedtest can help you sort out problems with speed of Internet connection to determine if it is your service or your computer.
Expect two-step-authorization to become the standard to make it more difficult to hack an account.
Twitter Is Rolling Out Two-Step Authorization (Finally) by Jared Keller, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (Apr 24)
Google is getting more deeply into semantic web and natural language. Two postings at SemanticWeb.com explain.
Proof That Information Is Gold: Google Buys Wavii for $30 Million – Google acquired a news aggregation summary service, Wavil, that may become part of the Knowledge Graph division.
“When The Semantic Web Blog spoke with Aoun previously, he noted that even if Wavii on its own wasn’t a hit at conceptually organizing the web around events that occur, there was a lot of value in what Wavii was doing as it relates to marrying context intelligence and user understanding.”
Semantic Search at Google: The SEO Basics - referring to an article by Tommy Landry about the several ways that Google tries to serve search intent. Among these: synonyms, analyzing questions (understanding how to), rich snippets with structural information, knowledge graph, local findings – and more.
Google is removing and rearranging features again. It has dropped the instant page preview that used to be seen with a mouse-over to the right of the result. That was also where cached and similar were. No more – they are now accessible through a little green arrow.
Reported in Google Adds Green Arrows To View Cache, Similar Pages & To Share Results On Google+ by Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (April 24)