Tag Archives: Search Engines

Yahoo!stopping Irish signups

Yahoo! signup error

I was trying to convince a client to set up a Flickr account yesterday however, they rang me to report that they were unable to get an account. Why? Because Yahoo! requires a postcode as part of the signup process and there are no postcodes for the majority of Ireland (there are postcodes for Dublin but Yahoo!’s signup process flags those as invalid!).

Trying other options like 00000 or 021 or 4 all failed with the same “The postal code is not located in the country you selected” error.

Leaving the field blank is not an option either – the page requires an entry in the Postal Code field.

I managed to get my client an account by finding a valid UK post code and having him change his country choice to United Kingdom.

Dear Yahoo!, just so you know, Ireland has been an independent state since 1921. We have our own government and flag and everything (however, we don’t have postcodes). Any chance you’d let us in now?

Foxmarks to launch next great search engine?

Google had a great idea. Order your search results based on the number of times a site is linked to. Brilliant! A link to a site is counted as a vote of confidence in the site’s quality/veracity. And it works because people generally only link to interesting sites.

Foxmarks is a nifty little Firefox plugin which uploads your Firefox bookmarks to a central server, so you can synchronise your bookmarks across machines. Again brilliant – if you typically use more than one computer (one at home and one at work, for example).

I read today on TechCrunch that FoxMarks is going to use the bookmark information which users of the plugin have uploaded, to create a new search engine. Privacy concerns aside, I love it!

This is the 1,157th blog post on this site. I don’t have any numbers on the amount of outward links I have created in those posts but I imagine two per post would be a conservative estimate. So I have created, in the order of 2,300 links on this blog. And I write in and contribute to other blogs as well. Let’s say I have created (again conservatively) a total of 2,500 links.

Now how many sites have I bookmarked? About 160. Therefore, any site I go to the trouble of bookmarking, must be significantly more important than one I simply link to.

Foxmarks are taking the Google model of a link as a vote of confidence and replacing it with the bookmark as a vote of confidence. Will it work? Well, according to Mike Arrington, who got a demo recently:

it definitely has a “wow” factor. Searches for most things ended up with incredible results.

Foxmarks also shows if the results appear on Google and Yahoo, and on what page in the results they appear. For many of the queries, the top result on Foxmarks was quite obviously the perfect result – but it appeared, if at all, deep on the result set for Google and Yahoo. Terms that are likely to have a lot of SEO pollution (ecommerce in particular), the results were strikingly better on Foxmarks v. Google.

Having said all that, Google have their Google Browser Sync application which has similar functionality to Foxmarks currently, so fine tuning their search results with bookmark info should be trivial for them.

I hope they do because getting 1,210,000 results for the search term “Microsoft Hotmail deletes email” is just ridiculous, even considering how bad Hotmail is!

Google launches phishing blacklist api

I see on the Google Security Blog that Google have launched a Safe Browsing api.  In other words, Google are making available its dynamic blacklist of phishing and malware sites so ISPs and web app coders can check against it.

This should help ensure unwitting users are notified before they browse to to unsafe sites and submit their confidential information.

Google are actively encouraging 3rd party participation -

Sign up for a key and let us know how we can make the API better. We fully expect to iterate on the design and improve the data behind the API, and we’ll be paying close attention to your feedback as we do that. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Great idea guys.

Technorati resurrects the Marquee tag…

Technorati have overhauled their site completely. Some of the changes are great and some we could do without, frankly!

The best change is that they have drastically sped up the site. I dunno did they add more servers or simply optimise their queries (I suspect the latter) but the site and particularly searches are now running a whole lot faster.

The next great change is that they have moved the blog searches to a page of its own. You can now find blog searches at s.technorati.com. The searches return relevant results and make subscribing to searches a whole lot easier than heretofore.

On the downside, on the main Technorati page they have a scrolling bar of tags along the top – make it stop! I thought we had killed of the Marquee tag people!!!

New Technorati homepage

Overall, the new design seems to be getting the thumbs up from most reviewers. This can only be good as with the rollout of Google’s excellent Blogsearch tool, reasons for using Technorati were becoming fewer and fewer.

Can Google Reader scale the Great Firewall of China?

Jeremiah Owyang is on a trip to China at the moment. He put up a post on his blog the other day saying he couldn’t access Robert Scoble’s blog from inside China – it seems to be blocked by the Great Firewall of China for some reason. I don’t know if this applies to all WordPress.com accounts or just Robert’s.

In any case, it occurred to me this morning that if I Shared all of Robert’s posts from within my Google Reader account and sent Jeremiah the links to my Google Reader Shared items, he should be able to read Robert’s posts within China.

Of course if Google Reader had a way to allow you to select multiple posts to share (or even allowed you to share a full feed) then this would make it easier for me to keep Jeremiah up to date!

Until China starts blocking Google Reader!

Collaborative software gets hotter!

A lot has already been written about Jotspot’s announcement that they were acquired by Google yesterday – congratulations to Joe Kraus and the team.

JotSpot is a wiki application with builtin functions for adding calendars, spreadsheets, blogs, photos, etc.

JotSpot wiki interface

This was a predictable enough move on Google’s part as they had no wiki software in their arsenal of Live web applications.

This acquisition by Google gives Google access to wiki software for its enterprise play. The list of Google’s applications in this space is becoming unassailable and their acquisitions strategy is extremely smart – they are buying proven applications with intact and enthusiastic customers already in place.

Interestingly, I see Jeff Nolan and Zoli Erdos are pointing out that JotSpot’s two main competitors, SocialText and Atlassian, are offering free migration for JotSpot customers to their respective platforms!

This acquisition only goes to further prove that collaborative software is here to stay.

I loved Dan Farber’s throwaway:

I doubt that JotSpot will be renamed Gspot