Tag Archives: Search

Google To Feature Longform Journalism In Search

Google's In-depth News Search

Inside Search

Google will now begin to feature in-depth reporting and longform writing in their search queries.

Where the default Google search on any given topic brings up recently written news, the company will now cater to users who are looking for more thoughtful coverage on a subject. As Hamish McKenzie of PandoDaily explains, Google has enabled a kind of Twitter-style news consumption. This is where the most prominent stories Google offers are always the stories that were written up moments earlier, or stories that were extremely popular within the current news cycle.

The advantage of this style is that it provides readers with the news of the day, the word of the moment without much fuss. The downside, though, is that other kinds of journalism, the kinds that take longer to produce, or that don’t link strongly to the events that are happening THAT DAY are crowded out. This mode favors rapid-fire news over thoughtful essays, press release blog posts over careful criticism.

For example: If you searched “Boston Bomber” Google will give you a bunch of crappy, recently written articles about the Rolling Stones cover or the alleged revelations that he was into right-wing-conspiracy theories. While these links have merit, it would also be extremely useful for Google to give us some definitive accounts of the whole Boston bombing episode–not just the insignificant trickling of brand new news stories.

This novel, in-depth highlight will help readers more fully understand.

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Bracing For A Post-Facebook Facebook

How will the company called Facebook continue to grow and innovate as Facebook the social network fades?

John Herrman of BuzzFeed tries to figure it out.

…while the internet moves fast, the world of social networking moves faster. Facebook, once a leader in almost every category it touched, now leads in almost none: it’s not the most exciting picture service, nor is it the next big messaging service, video service, mobile texting service, or news-sharing service. The only thing it definitely is is the leading identity service — something that a lot of sites are trying to take away from it.

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A Radical New Way To Look At Facebook

Matt Buchanan of the New Yorker Elements blog writes:

Graph Search will eventually index virtually all of the content on Facebook—every link that’s ever been posted, every status update, every piece of data that outside Web sites have shared with Facebook through its Open Graph program—but what users will get starting today is fairly limited in its scope, restricted to searches of photos, people, places, and interests. It doesn’t work on mobile yet, either. And it is ultimately limited by the kind of information that people share on Facebook. But it is already a powerful tool for excavating information that would otherwise go unnoticed, and for spotting previously undiscovered patterns.

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Twitter’s New Platform

Last year I posted about Twitter’s development from a sparse messaging service to a mixed media circus. John Herrman of BuzzFeed picks up on the company’s evolution (tweet attachments, video, product links) and notes the great shift Twitter has taken:

“The tweet, in other words, is Twitter’s new platform. The old platform was about getting people to use Twitter. The new one is about making money from them.”

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Google Search or a Pinterest One?

Ashley McCollum of BuzzFeed makes a clever observation. When a user searches for a word on Google and then types in that same query on Pinterest, the difference in results reveals the limitations of Google’s internal logic.

Searching “stripes” on Pinterest, for example, brings up striped clothing, fabric, and art design:

“Stripes” on Google spits this out:

McCollum goes on to list 9 more comparisons and the contrast is demonstrated in each instance. Where Pinterest recalls fashion, art, and conceptual abstraction, Google retrieves products, names and hyper-literalness. (When she types in “California” we get pins of beaches and forests and skimpy clothes; Google instead delivers maps and pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.)

From Google’s perspective, this is a rather silly and unfair analysis. The search colossus stores and catalogs the entire Internet, whereas Pinterest caters to sartorialists, designers, and artists. That Google’s searches are too obvious or mechanical or archetypal, as compared to Pinterest, is not so much criticism as it is a difference in intended user experience.

Even so, I find McCollum’s argument compelling. She grasps towards the point that certain kinds of computer driven algorithms are severely limited. And that a more curatorial approach to search has obvious advantages.

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The Future of Search

“Answer, converse, anticipate,” are the verbs Nathaniel Mott uses to describe Google’s newest search venture. Writing at PandoDaily, Mott explains the thrust of Google’s opening keynote during the 1st day of its I/O conference. The annual summit, geared towards developers, featured the company’s newest innovations.

With “Knowledge Graph” the search giant “will begin to answer Google users’ questions before they ask them.”

Mott continues:

Voice-activated search coming to the Chrome browser is perhaps the most interesting of today’s search-related announcements. Google Now — or some version of it, anyway — has been rumored to be coming to desktop computers for months, and its addition to Chrome will aid Google’s attempts to become a ubiquitous aspect of users’ lives.

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Europeans Reach Deal With Google on Searches

“Google has for the first time agreed to legally binding changes to its search results after an antitrust investigation by European regulators,” writes Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times .

After a two-year inquiry, the European Commission has accepted Google’s proposed settlement, according to two people briefed on the agreement who spoke anonymously because the proposal was not yet public.

Google will not have to change the algorithm that produces its search results, the people said. Under the proposal, Google agrees to clearly label search results from its own properties, like Google Plus Local or Google News, and in some cases to show links from rival search engines.

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On Facebook, News Feed Ads That Track You

“These ads take into account people’s browsing behavior outside Facebook, as captured through cookies, with the aim of offering up messages about products they’ve already shown interest in,” writes Jennifer Van Grove of CNET.

Personalized advertising based on one’s Web browsing isn’t new, but this marks the first time Facebook has allowed advertisers to market their products directly on News Feed. (Prior to Tuesday, advertisers were only permitted to display these ads on the rightsize column of the site.)

As Van Grove notes, these types of ads are extremely valuable to merchants; they know that the products they’re pushing are the same ones you’ve been browsing and they can determine, with precision, whether you follow the link and make the purchase.

The tricky part for Facebook though, is not further alienating its users. Van Grove, and the analyst she quotes, use words like “creepy” and “jarring” to describe the feeling that consumers might have as they come upon their ad-augmented News Feed.

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The Curse of “You May Also Like”

Algorithms help us find the songs we like, but that may prevent us from imagining new kinds of music, argues Evgeny Morozov on Slate.

 

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