Natural Search Blog


Microformats Hit Mainstream!

Microformats LogoOver on SEMClubhouse I’ve written up a post on “Why Use Microformats?” which is a mild criticism of Michael Gray’s recent post on “HCards, Microformats and Address Data does it Matter for SEO“. Essentially, Michael suggests people should prioritize implementation of hCard into local info webpages as a lower-priority, back-burner project. I not only believe that Yahoo’s SearchMonkey developer platform and Google’s new Rich Snippets display are proving that the search engines consider the Microformats protocol to be important, but anything presented as a back-burner or rainy-day project for many major corporations pretty much relegates that work to never be done at all.

With the advent of Rich Snippets in SERPs, I think I can safely declare that Microformats have now hit mainstream! (more…)

Vint Cerf & The Architect in The Matrix

While attending and speaking at the recent SMX West conference in Santa Clara, I had the opportunity to photograph Vinton (“Vint”) Cerf, Google’s VP and Chief Internet Evangelist during his keynote interview conducted by Chris Sherman.

After returning, one of my friends saw my pics and remarked that Vint Cerf resembled the Architect character in the Matrix movies. It immediately struck me that he was right — so I knocked together a comparison pic:

The Architect vs. Vint Cerf

Vint Cerf and the Architect in the Matrix share a number of feature similarities: similar age, dress, coloring, and facial hair. The biggest difference is that the Architect has a full head of hair while Vint is balding. (more…)

Google Street View Icon In Party Clothes

The Google Street View dude icon is suddenly sporting a party hat and balloons:

Google Street View Guy

Assumably the special icon is celebrating Google’s 10th Birthday, though there’s no mention of it on the Google Lat Long Blog.

Chrome – Google Browser Launching

Google has officially confirmed that they’ll be launching “Chrome” — their newly developed, open-source browser, into the wild tomorrow for the Windows platform.

Google Chrome

If you recall, I’d previously posted about rumors of a Google browser here and here a year ago, despite Google executives previously indicating that they would not build another browser. A number of other analysts dismissed my observations that a Google browser would be advantageous to the company and complimentary to their various other applications and services – but, I’m now proved right and Google’s efforts to obscure the fact of their browser initiatives appear in retrospect to have been intended to keep the whole thing as top secret as possible until deployment. In 2006, Google CEO Eric Schmidt had stated, “We would only do so…if we thought there was a real user benefit.” (more…)

Googledance 2008

The Googledance party was held last night at the Googleplex for SES Conference attendees, and it lived up to its traditional party-on-a-grand-scale reputation for which it has become known.

Googledance, beside building 43
Googledance, 2008

The theme this year was “Glow in the Dark”, and they gave out t-shirts which flouresced nicely under blacklights, and those endothermic glow sticks that can be linked up for bracelets or necklaces. In one area was a large Lite Brite station that allowed party-goers to make colorful messages or illustrations of their choosing with the translucent pegs.

One really cool entertainment was the “Glow Graffiti” – they had set up a couple of different stations to allow the crowd to do digital graffiti — using laser pointers to write on the sides of a couple of buildings. A camera tracks where one drags the laser pointer beam on the wall’s surface, then a computer captures the trajectories and redisplays the lines drawn back onto the wall continuously with a projector. In this way, one can draw all over the side of a building with light.

Google in Digital Graffiti
“Google” tagged in digital graffiti on side of building

(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…)

Google Photos To Compete With Flickr?

The Google Operating System blog reports that Google is likely changing the name of their Picasa photo sharing service to “Google Photos”.

A few other features are due to rollout as well, including licensing options, email photo uploads, and tagging of people in pics. (more…)

Town Forces Google To Remove Pics From Street View

North Oaks, a small town in Minnesota, demanded that Google remove pictures of the town from Street View service.

North Oaks - end of the line for Google Street View
(click to enlarge)
(map link)

The town apparently has a strong desire to remain private, and since most streets in it are privately owned, they threatened Google with trespassing citations if the pics weren’t removed.

I’m surprised they would attempt to use a trespassing citation for this, since it seems a little bit odd to have open streets for people to drive along, ungated, even with the “No Trespassing” signs. I would think a more viable claim would be copyright infringement since the town might claim that buildings or streets were marked as private, or if they charge some sort of entry fee for vehicles passing through. A similar claim is apparently possible if one takes photos of buildings/places for which admission fees are charged to see/enter — reselling such photos or making money off of them in some way is apparently actionable under copyright law.

Privacy groups have complained about Google Street View since it was introduced, and Google recently responded by initiating the use of software which blurs individuals’ faces in the streetview pics.

Interesting Sights To See In Google Street View

Be sure to check out my collection of cool sights in Street View over at Search Engine Land today.

While the piece is strictly fluffy, it does cover a wide range of pictures that illustrate why people are concerned about privacy with the utility along with why it’s cool and fun to have.

Here’s my favorite pic from the set – a photo that captured a bit of skywriting:

Love Is In The Air

Google to launch ‘Friend Connect’ tonight

Google’s newest foray into social media will launch tonight in preview release at Campfire One. Google’s announcement about Friend Connect states that webmasters may use the service to easily set up social media sharing services on their sites, encouraging online communities to develop and potentially help to promote the site. Google Friend Connect functionality includes user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, reviews, and third-party applications provided through Google’s OpenSocial developer community. (more…)

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