Dan Russell Lecture

Google search guru Daniel Russell spoke on the The Revolution in Asking and Answering Questions in this video – showing how new search capabilities empower us to ask new questions and get “deep answers”. Video lecture has many good examples from Google search. Closes with demo of conversational style for question and answer.

The Revolution in Asking and Answering Questions, Search Research (May 13, 2014)

Google starts to remove results

The European Union court decision to require Google to remove results about people requesting “to be forgotten” has resulted in a near deluge of requests – 50,000 of them. Google has begun reviewing them and removing those that are “objectionable” according to the ruling.

Google’s ‘right to be forgotten’ takedowns a ‘challenge to press freedom’
, Juergen Baetz, AP via Globe and Mail (Jul 3)

At least three British media, including the Guardian newspaper and public broadcaster BBC, said they have been notified by Google that links to some of their articles were removed from search results in Europe.

Universal Results

We have come to expect “universal results” for a query – meaning results that pick up videos, images, news. Google introduced it, Bing does it, and DuckDuckGo has a form of it.

This study of Google’s search results showed that it returns some blend of  universal results  for 85% of queries.

“The study shows that for all searches, 85% of them contain some element of universal search blend. The most common are video results, followed by images, then news, shopping and maps. “

Study: Google Universal Results Show Up For 85% Of All Searches: Videos In 65% & Maps In 1%, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (Jun 18)

What Google Knows

Find out with a few clicks from this article what Google “knows” about you. Some of the things will be wrong, some you told Google in your profile, and some bits you’d prefer to be unknown.

How Much Does Google Really Know About You?, by Matt Smith, Make Use Of (Jun 17)

There is your Google web history, the Dashboard – showing everything you use, Google Ad Settings – where there are sure to be some errors. Add to this what Google knows about you though Google+, Gmail, and Google Drive.

Taken as a whole, the information Google collects about users is shockingly complete. The company can mine your emails and Drive documents, track your browsing history, track the videos you watch on YouTube, obtain your WiFi passwords and much more.

Right to be forgotten

Last May, the European Union Court of Justice ruled that a person could require that Google remove information about that person from search results -  they have the “right to be forgotten”.

Google will indicate in search results that “right to be forgotten” has been applied. More information about this and related stories in Yes, Google Will Disclose “Right To Be Forgotten” Removals by Barry Schwartz (June 9)

This applies only in the Google search engines for Europe – not to Google.com and the United States. Right To Be Forgotten Won’t Happen On Google.com (June 10)

Entity-based search

SEO analysts are being encouraged to design for entity search – and searchers can keep in mind many of the same points.

Feeding the Hummingbird: Structured Markup Isn’t the Only Way to Talk to Google by Cyrus-Shepard, The Moz Blog (June 17)

Structured markup   does help the search engine   identify the entities: people, place, products, events; but the search engine can parse text to identify subject – predicate – object in the query and in the text. This is a triple – and Google and others are good at extracting the semantic meaning. The advice to the SEO analyst to include “appropriate predicates and objects” might apply to the searcher too.

Meaning is clearer with use of synonyms and context – the “co-occuring phrases”.   Google excels at expanding a word in context to related words – synonyms.  The SEO analyst and the searcher could help the process by adding a few too.



Viewing Google Web Search History

It’s been ages since I used web search history at Google.  Either I don’t sign into my account, or can’t find the the right button.  Web search history, I have re-discovered,  is an option on the search results page, under the cog icon in a dropdown menu.

Google Operating System reports that there is no easy way to navigate back to a particular date and offers a hack for changing the url.  Go Back to a Specific Date in Google Web History (June 2)  You’d have to want to do that pretty badly.

However, I see that there is a calendar that can be adjusted  to month and day – just have to be patient in pressing the arrows to go back several months..

Google Calendar in Web Search History

Google Calendar in Web Search History

Google’s penalties

Danny Sullivan examines the impact of Google’s algorithm changes on the news and community weblog, MetaFilter. MetaFilter, a long and well regarded service, has suffered from severe decline in traffic for reasons unclear to the owner. Sullivan tries to sort this out – is it a penalty for ads, for thin content, for “inorganic” links? Is this the result of a manual intervention or an automated filter? Nothing stands out (at the time of the posting) and Google has been slow to help. The article does show the enormous complexity of assessing sites and the damages that can ensue for a business.

On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google: An Explainer, Search Engine Land (May 22)