Natural Search Blog


Quova Awarded Patent for Improved Geotargeting

Quova Logo - Location MattersQuova recently announced that they were awarded a patent for various methods which improve geotargeting accuracy and capability. My understanding is that Quova has been using these methods for quite some time already, prior to receiving the patent.

Here’s Quova’s description of the innovations:

“Quova’s newly added patent describes a method for determining the geographic location of an Internet user based upon combining trace routes, user registration information, host names with textual patterns that reveal geolocation information and Internet Service Provider (ISP) service area information. These trace routes describe the pathways by which data moves through the Internet. Each node or ‘hop’ in the trace route is identified by an IP address. These interconnected nodes can be used to recreate the topology of the Internet. Each geolocation can then be assigned to these IP addresses in order to determine the location of each node, up to and including the end user’s IP address and the geolocation of that end user.”

I previously have written about Quova in my extensive article, (more…)

Google Wave – Online Collaboration And Communication Revolution

Google Wave was released at the recent Google I/O event as a demo product. It is an amazing real time collaboration and communication platform with email, instant messaging and heaps more combined to form an awesome product.

The demo product is an HTML 5 applicaion built using the Google Web Toolkit. Wave is being released as an open source product. Its open platform encourages developers to build other Wave clients, extensions and embed waves in other web pages and platforms. The product is characterised by the 3P’s namely product, platform and protocol.

(more…)

Local Search & Social Media Company Praized Worth Watching

Praized LogoPraized, a startup that offers a social media app targeted to locally-oriented blogs and sites, is well worth watching. The app allows blogs to easily provide their constituents the ability to rate local businesses, and display the ratings alongside the traditional directory info of biz name, address, and maps.

Praized business listing for Pastis
(click to enlarge)

(Try out their local search engine to view businesses and ratings.)

Praized was built by some local search veterans from the Yellow Pages Group, and it’s already managed to nab small dribbles of acclaim — most recently, it was named a finalist in Red Herring’s Canada’s Top 50 Canada award which recognized the year’s most promising private technology ventures in Canada. (more…)

Google Launches New Virtual Reality: Lively

Google has finally launched the long-awaited Lively virtual reality service.

Will it be a SecondLife killer, as some have suggested? So far, no, since it doesn’t have one huge planet or room for interacting with everyone as SecondLife does.

But this is the first baby-step Google has taken into VR, and we can expect them to evolve it further, particularly if the service proves popular. I haven’t tried it out just yet, but the feature descriptions include adding VR rooms to webpages, pulling photos and vids into the VR environments, and tying it closely to Google Talk – Google’s chat service. (more…)

Whitepages.com Acquiring Snapvine, Focuses On Community Development

WhitePages.com Snapvine MergerWhitePages.com is acquiring Snapvine, a service that allows people to associate audio files with various resources like social networks, photos, text, and blogs. Snapvine enables facilitates voice blogs, similar to podcasting, but perhaps with a little greater ease.

WhitePages states on their blog that they’ll use Snapvine’s technology to provide their users with free, private voicemail boxes. In addition, WhitePages will roll out other features such as email and SMS services.

I think this signals that WhitePages.com will be pursuing community development as an ongoing strategy to maintain and build their traffic. This could be a really strong strategy — encouranging community engagement could drive up usage and associated ad revenues considerably for the residential listings directory. WhitePages.com also offers yellow pages directory service through a partnership with Idearc’s Superpages.com.

Considering the rise of Twitter and other mobile phone services, VOIP applications like Snapvine could be poised to be the next big thing.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the deal likely comes in below previous valuations for Snapvine.

Google’s KML Becomes Industry Standard

Google Earth IconIn an example of how becoming top dog can empower a company to influence and set industry-wide protocols, Google Earth’s KML format has been declared an open standard for geographical data by the Open Geospatial Consortium (“OGC”).

It’s really great and progressive that such a large, publicly-traded company such as Google would release control of its considerable intellectual property rights and allow KML to be used by anyone.

Google’s LatLong Blog also crows a bit about how KML is “the HTML of geographic content”, and explains that KML is no longer owned by Google, but is now administrated by the OGC.

Do CueCats Have 9 Lives?!? Google Resurrects a Bad Idea

For those of us who’ve been around the internet biz for a while, there’s often a feeling of deja vu or “been there, done that!” Thus we have that sensation today when we see this article from Silicon Alley Insider which seems to gush just a bit in its praise of these cute, “new” barcodes that Google is resurrecting in some print ads that can be scanned camera phones so people can easily connect up instantaneously to associated websites.

The article fails to mention the last time this sad concept was foisted on the world. Remember the company, Digital Convergence, with their various “CueCat” devices that allowed people to do this exact same thing?

The CueCat (more…)

Google Maps to Embed in New Magellan GPS

Barely one day in advance of the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show opening in Las Vegas this week, Magellan issued a press release about their next generation of GPS navigation devices, highlighting how they will come integrated with Google Maps to provide local search capabilities.

Magellan 4050

John Hanke, Director of Google Maps & Earth is quoted, saying, “We’re pleased to be partnering with Magellan to provide users with detailed, relevant local information while on the road. Magellan devices are powerful, interactive tools for navigation and discovery that serve as a cutting-edge platform for Google’s robust local search capabilities.” (more…)

NebuAd – New Twist on Behavioral Targeting for Online Ads

News stories this week highlighted Silicon Valley startup NebuAd, which recently unveiled their behavioral targeting network at ad:tech.

NebuAd

Behavioral ad targeting is nothing new on the internet, and I easily recall it being offered in one form or another as far back as about 1999. In fact, 24/7 Real Media currently offers behavioral targeting through their ad network as just one case in point. So what’s new with this incarnation is the way in which NebuAd collects data to base the targeting upon. NebuAd’s innovative twist on behavior targeting is based upon monitoring individuals’ internet browsing habits through their ISP, essentially seeing all the sites and pages that a user visits. (more…)

Verizon Hijacks Mistyped Domains

I was stunned today to read this report by Martin Bosworth at Consumeraffiars.com on how Verizon is delivering up custom search results pages to fiber-optic users when they misspell domain names. Since I started working from home here in the Dallas area this Spring, I’d upgraded to Verizon’s FiOS service, so this change would affect me directly. Indeed, after a moment’s worth of testing, I see that I am being sent to a Verizon search results page when I type in a domain name that doesn’t exist:

Verizon Hijacking Mistyped Domains
(click to enlarge)

It’s not all that surprising that Verizon might do this, since they oppose net neutrality, but for users like myself, this is highly undesirable. I’ve been highly complimentary about Verizon’s FiOS service, because I’ve had excellent speed and high quality from it. I work from home providing expertise around internet technologies, so it’s vital that I be able to clearly experience the internet just as the majority of the rest of internet users out there, so having Verizon meddling with what’s delivered up to me is not cool.

If you all recall, another company did something quite similar to this back in 2003: Verisign previously did something quite similar when they abruptly launched their “Site Finder” service which (more…)

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