Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A very quick look back on 2010.

1. The Internet is mine! We owns it!
2010 news year’s hangover had just gone away, and we already had to deal with the funniest moment of the year: the speech of the CEO of Telefonica, the biggest Internet Provider in Spain. Really sorry that it’s in Spanish, but it’s too funny to leave it out.
The argument of this CEO is that his company Telefonica, as Internet Provider, ‘owns’ the Internet and since they do everything (infrastructure, customer care, after-sales, billing,…) companies like Google (who just have algorithms and don’t do anything) should start paying fees to Telefonica (and AT&T) for the use of their networks. In February he assured that Internet companies would start paying such fees in 2010; since this didn’t happen, maybe it’s a sigh that he doesn’t really get it.

2. Science Investigates Usability
It was nice to see this summer (thanks to the great blog of TalleresSEO) that Scientific Investigation investigates the Internet and at Usability.

A study was published that gave a new look at the eye-tracking (where people look at on an internet page) of search result pages.

The study is pretty amazing, since it segments different search behaviour: it separates search results for people who search for information, search for navegation or search for transactional reasons. Of course, the behaviour is different for each segment (people who search for transactional reasons do look at the AdWords on the right hand side). Hurray for Segmentation!

The fact that science studies this is amazing: they’re the specialists in investigation, in methodology, in designing experiments, in doing statistical analysis. Such a pity then that there seems to be a mayor methodological error in this paper: Marcos & González-Caro conclude that people search for information or search to navigate, don’t look very much to the Paid Results, and they note that ‘this might be because in some cases of our experiment there weren’t any Paid Results‘… Now how can you conclude that somebody doesn’t look at something, if it’s not even there in many cases? It’s a bit too obvious that they don’t look, right? I’m not a scientist, but I would say that you have to contemplate 2 cases: How people behave when there are Paid Results and how people behave when there aren’t. Putting data together of people who hade a result page with paid results and others without them and then concluding that people don’t look at them, seems like a mistake to me.

You can download the whole study here. Sorry, again in Spanish, though with abstract in English.

3. Google Instant Launch
Methodological mistake or not, the results of the study discussed above were soon out of date, since Google decided to update the result pages. It Launched Google Instant: the Search results were automatically updating while you type, changing the way we use Google’s Search Engines. It came as a pretty big boom, but even the week later, it felt like something so natural, so useful and natural that it was instantly a Google classis. Later they launched Google Preview, with the same effect: like you can’t remember that it once wasn’t there.

The launch of Instant was also very Google and very beautiful: 2 doodle (modified logos of Google on the Search page) showed what Google was up to: it could change his page while you interacted with your mouse and with the Search Box. 

4. Second funniest moment of 2010

Hell yeah: why did anybody bother with developing web pages since 1997, when you see how perfectly this site is designed. 

5. Facebook gets real
Facebook has been a while with us, and for a lot of people it has just become a part of our lives, just like email has been for a long time: you have it, you use it, no big thing. We use FB to send messages, chat with friends and upload some pics. But Facebook might just become a real player in Internet in 2011, starting to use the power it has to innovate so many things. I realised that when I read this article from Blind Five Year Old on ‘Organic Search’ results in Facebook.

In short:
  • Facebook has already an equal number of daily searches as Google. They’re mostly searches for friends or groups, but the potential is there.
  • We use Facebook a lot, so using the search bar within Facebook might be easier then going to another page to search.
  • Facebook has these ‘Like’ buttons on a lot of pages. These are very good indications of what you or your friends like, and gives FB a nice tool to index pages using these ‘Like’ buttons in a social way. If a lot of people like a page, it might be good result in searches.
  • Facebook already puts search results of external sites for its searches, so it will be a case of developing and Google Search might have (at last) a real competitor.

It is often said that Google might not really understand Social, but Facebook might as well understand Search. And Google still gets a very large part of it’s income from search.

The whole article (pretty techy, actually):

Happy New Year!

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