Google – two indexes

This doesn’t sound good for the information professional working at a desktop – Google will have two indexes: one for mobile users for quick response, and a desktop version that will be less current.

Within months, Google to divide its index, giving mobile users better & fresher content Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (Oct 13)

“Google is going to create a separate mobile index within months, one that will be the main or “primary” index that the search engine uses to respond to queries. A separate desktop index will be maintained, one that will not be as up-to-date as the mobile index.”

Maybe it would be a good idea to break the habit of searching Google all the time.

Google Ranking Algorithms

Although Google has denied that ranking of search results is influenced by a user’s social connections, Google is certainly extremely interested in the methods and the possibilities.

Exploring a newly-granted Google patent around social signals, Dave Davies, Search Engine Land (Oct 7)

After considerable analysis of the patent, Davies concludes, “In short, according to this patent, what people you’re connected to recommend, like and engage with could be used to impact your rankings.” If Google is doing, the source of information isn’t clear – yet.

Also of great interest:

Another aspect of Google search that we need to be constantly aware of is that RankBrain now applies to all queries. Essentially, this means that artificial intelligence (AI) is interpreting all queries to some degree. While at this time the AI implementation revolves more around using machine learning to understand the nature of the query (and likely type of content and format being sought), its rollout to all queries and the promotion of John Giannandrea to Head of Search at Google marks the push into AI control over larger portions of the Google algorithm.

Lisa Louise Cooke Search Tip

Lisa Louise Cooke has a new tech-tip video for genealogists – Speak Google’s Language: Google Search Operator Basics. Many will know these two tips – using quotation marks and using OR – but Cooke’s explanations are elegantly simple and enjoyable. Where I would have been tempted to talk about building up concepts, she keeps it very simple by showing how to use OR to search on two formats for a person’s name.   The book she mentions (in her store) is one of the best guides to using Google I have ever come across.

Less well known Google features

Lots to try out in 21 {Awesome} Google Tips & Tricks Series by Daniel Futerman (ongoing)

This guide to features in Google tools is useful, but features do disappear – especially at Google. Has something on Youtube, Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Alerts;  Chrome; ads – Google Adsense, Adwords – plus more.

The first item is the very interesting — Google Search: Your personal search trends. It mentions that Google provides statistics on your Google searches – but I could find no trace. I did, however, find the new look to Google’s search history – now called Google My Activity – shows search terms and visited pages. Can filter by date and by Google product (images, video etc), and do a keyword search – very good.

Travel with Google

Travellers can have at their fingertips a new app from Google – Google Trips, and they can plan their trips on the desktop now (as well as mobile) with Google Destinations.

See more, plan less – try Google Trips, Google Blog (Sep 19)

“Google Trips is a personalized tour guide in your pocket. Each trip contains key categories of information, including day plans, reservations, things to do, food & drink, and more, so you have everything you need at your fingertips.”

Google Destinations, Now for Desktop, Google Operating System (Sep 14)

“Search for a continent, a country or state you’d like to visit and the Knowledge Graph card has a “plan a trip” section which includes a travel guide, information about hotels and upcoming events”

Google travel tools for mobile user

Making travel arrangements on a mobile device just got easier through Google’s features to improve filtering of hotel searches, and new alerts for airfare.  These will be seen first in the US – then internationally.

Google offers new hotel search filters, deal labels and airline price tracking, Greg Sterling, (Jul 12)

Of interest: “Google has said that mobile visits to travel sites now represent 40 percent of total travel traffic. Responding to this shift in consumer behavior.”

My Activity at Google

There may be some advantages to being able to see your activity on all the Google properties – and on pages that serve up Google ads. This would especially be the case if you are researching a topic across media and need to keep a trail. Or you need to confirm something you found earlier.

Google’s new My Activity page lets you see all your Google history in one place, Napier Lopez, The Next Web (June 28)

Nonetheless, it’s a bit scary to realize that Google could track all activity rather than just web search and therefore deliver more ads. But it might also be true that the ads will be better directed. “Mainly, you can control which kind of ads show up everywhere, across various devices and websites.”

You can find this through “My Account” – or go directly to

RankBrain update

Gary Illyes from Google talked with Danny Sullivan at the SMX conference about Google’s search operation, ranking methods, points of interest to SEO masters. Barry Schwartz summarized the points in . Key takeaways from the Google AMA: RankBrain, Panda, Penguin, bots & more.

RankBrain is of greatest interest. It is Google’s application of machine learning to improve its understanding of the query and ranking of results. Danny Sullivan explains in
Google uses RankBrain for every search, impacts rankings of “lots” of them (June 23)

… what we’ve understood about RankBrain: it seems largely used as a query refinement tool. Google seems to be using it now for every search to better understand what that search is about. After that, another aspect of RankBrain might influence what results actually appear and in what order, but not always.

Your privacy settings at Google

Google has made it easier to review the information that Google displays about you – and for you to change the detail.

Search on your name to see a small knowledge panel with the profile information and a button to update the profile. Also sign into your Google accound and click on your name in upper right to get to a full page in reasonably clear English on Google’s policy, and to My Account where you can easily turn public into private.

Googling yourself will soon lead to personal privacy controls, Michael Liedtke, AP via Globe and Mail (Jun 2)