The Google Base team has begun integrating Youtube Videos into Google Product Search.
Video product reviews are getting a lot of buzz right now, as shoppers increasingly turn to the web to help them figure out what to buy. We’re excited to announce that we are including relevant and high quality YouTube video reviews on a number of our product pages in Google Product Search. Videos include reviews from sources like USA Today, Wired, and Digital Trends, and they appear above the “Similar Items” section of the page. For example, see the product page for this Nikon D90 camera.
In this video Matt Cutts reveals that Google does not use keyword for ranking “even the least little bit”. It looks like so much spamming had been going on that keywords were effectively rendered useless for ranking sites and pages.
There are two other use cases that spring to mind. Accessibility and composition.
“Page information metadata must include a page TITLE, keywords, author and description. This should be as accurate as possible to ensure that users get all the information they need to navigate a site.”
Keywords can also provide a useful focus when composing text for a page. It’s a way of noting the few precise concepts you want to cover in a manner that will survive edits and revisions you make in the text.
Mezzoman is a small simple mashup that helps people get together. Given two locations and an activity it finds suitable locations for people to meet that’s at roughly the halfway point. This screencast from DemoGirl shows how straightforward the application is to use.
Developed by Mark Zider and Tim Dempski, the inspiration behind the application is best summed up in Tim’s post:
“Mezzoman…is a mashup we created for a simple reason…Our friends live all over the place and we were tired (and so were they) of trying to find places to meet.”
Currently in beta, the application has tremendous scope for further development by extending the number of participants, range of activities or linking to transportation, scheduling and reservation systems.
Aimed at developers and information publishers, OpenCalais is web service that can extract meaningful terms from well written text. When fed a newspaper article or business report the service will identify the people, places, monetary values, companies and institutions mentioned and will organize references to those terms to ease further research. In well structured business text Calais can also interpret and classify facts; recognizing and reporting joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions, earnings announcements etc.
End users will not interact with Calais directly, but will access the service through third party applications, plugins and utilities. Development of these will be encouraged through programming bounties, the first offers $5000 for the development of a WordPress plugin.
In the long term, initiatives like OpenCalais will help us work more effectively with the increasing flow of information that surrounds us. These are distinct strategic and personal benefits to be gained from generating, and being able to work with, structured information instead of being swamped by raw data.
Separate web pages are displayed in different windows in a navigable 3D space, giving an effect similar to Java Desktop or Compiz Fusion. The main search component is distinctive, pre-loading the top search result pages into a set of receding windows. This gives a different feel to the information space.
The search space begins to resemble a rank and file military formation, with separate searches organized abreast of each other with their results in single file behind them. The user gets an almost kinesthetic feeling for each items relation to their current activity with physical positions defining the recency of the search (more to the right) and relevance score (closer to the front). The search spaces can be saved between browsing sessions, giving a new slant to the question “Now where did I put that?”
The interface design relates well to our greater facility for recognition over recall, and to greater retention of memories that involve a greater number of senses. Time will tell which tasks are more suited to the richer interface and which are best performed with less elaborate representations.
Currently the search is limited to a pre-defined set of information providers. Hopefully, this can be extended and configured in the future. Many of the existing searches are brought in via RSS feeds, so it should be possible to extend the interface to allow users to query selected feeds and APIs. This would allow the system to be tuned for business or scholastic use, rather then the currently dominant shopping activities.
Today Wikia launched the alpha version of its search engine. With a combination of technologies from the Wikimedia Foundation and the Apache Foundation (Lucene, Nutch), Wikia has some surprising features. When you conduct a search, in addition to the expected list of websites you get:
a collaboratively edited “Mini Article” with information about your search topic
a list of users whose profiles match your search terms
Wikia effectively combines three established web technologies:
with each topic becoming an ad-hoc social network.
This is an alpha release, and the gaps in the feature set are clearly visible.
no advanced search
a decorative, but unimplemented ratings function
This mix of technologies brings up some interesting questions. Will users participate? How effectively will the community deal with spammers? Where will the balance be reached between findability and privacy? Will the “People” results be dominated by domain experts, subject enthusiasts or spammers?
Wikia Search is innovative, with potential for business and personal networking. Its success will depend on the strengths of the communities it engages.