Posts

Google’s decision to constantly make their search results more personalized for every user has often been criticized for veering into the “invasion of privacy” area from time to time. Its latest experiment takes that to the extreme, with a whole new tab devoted just to you.

The search engine now allows you to filter search results for your personal information collected from Google’s apps, including Gmail, Photos, and Calendar.

The new experiment can be found for most users by clicking “More” on the search results page, which will drop down a list of search options. Click “Personal” and you’ll find only information directly related to yourself, such as events you have in your calendar or recent emails.

Most of this isn’t too eye-raising. It could even be useful in the right circumstances. Where it starts to get weird is when you search for pictures. The personal search feature finds photos that are not necessarily on the device you’re using. It also finds pictures based on the content, even when you haven’t labeled the picture.

To give you an example, I’ve taken a lot of photos of my cat on my phone. I’ve never labeled any of them as being of my cat or shared them to my computer. But, when I search “cat” within the results, I am shown my collection of pictures of my cat Magnitude.

Like this picture

The tool can also be used to find photos of people you know on your phone, as Kevin Murnane reports for Forbes.

Unsurprisingly, the “Personal” search results tab also includes ads at the bottom of the page. Reports vary between one and three ads on any personal page.

Since it is just an experiment, there is no telling whether the feature is around to stay. It first appeared a few days ago, but went offline for a period before reappearing today. It has only been spotted on Chrome for desktop devices, but it could be rolled out to other devices at some point. It could also be removed entirely, if people respond negatively to having Google snooping through their emails.

Source: YouTube

Source: YouTube

March Madness is upon us and everyone is getting into the spirit, including Bing. The search engine has launched their smart answers in the search results for March Madness and other related searches to see brackets, scores, and predictions.

Users get three options above the normal search results for the basketball tournament. The default view shows the current bracket results, but users can also build their own brackets and see Bing’s predicted outcome. On top of all of this, Bing also offers the schedules and teams playing in the competition.

Below you can see a screenshot of the default view for bracket results, which expands by clicking on the down arrow or the results button:

MarchMadness1

If you choose to view Bing’s predictions, the window gets even bigger. Barry Schwartz captured a large screenshot, which you can click to enlarge:

bing-march-madness-predicts

Bing said:

Now that the bracket has officially been announced, our data scientists are in the lab, working tirelessly to perfect their models so our smarter bracket is powered by Bing Predicts and ready for you to access by Monday morning. Stay tuned for an updated analysis of the Bing smarter bracket on the Bing blog tomorrow.

BingLogo

As of January 1st, Bing is officially powering AOL’s search results as the result of a long-term deal made by the two companies in June of last year. Rick van der Kooi, Corporate VP of Microsoft Search Advertising announced the change, saying:

“Today, I am excited to share that as of Jan. 1, Bing powers AOL’s web, mobile, and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to AOL’s properties worldwide.”

Van der Kooi also shared some interesting bits of information to help illustrate the scale of the partnership, including:

  • 1 in 5 searches happen on Bing.com
  • Bing also powers search results for the third largest search provider in the US (Yahoo)
  • With Bing now powering AOL searches, the engine now powers close to one-third of all US PC web searches.

The company looks to gain even more ground by acquiring the built-in audience from AOL, which is responsible for generating billions of search queries a year.

Unlike Bing’s deal with Yahoo, Bing’s will be powering 100% of AOL’s search results across all devices. In the Yahoo agreement, only 51% of Yahoo’s desktop search results are powered by Bing, with no support for mobile.

 Emojis

It was fun while it lasted, but Google has followed through on their promise to remove emojis from titles in search results.

In April, Expedia became the first major brand to start experimenting using emojis in search results titles. For example, a search listing for beach rentals may have included a wave emoji on Expedia listings.

It wasn’t long until many other major brands followed suit, but Google ultimately decided the trend was not something they wanted to promote. During a Google Hangout in early May, John Mueller, a webmaster trends analyst for Google, announced the search giant would be removing the emojis.

True to Mueller’s word, emojis disappeared from search results early this morning, as first noticed by Jennifer Slegg at The SEM Post.

Notably, Google has only seemed to remove the emojis from titles. Norwegian Airlines, known for creating the very first emoji URL, appears to be unaffected.

While the hearts, waves, and smiley faces are gone from Google, emojis are still currently appearing in Bing searches. Microsoft’s search engine started showing emojis in title tags shortly after they began appearing in Google, but there’s no word if they intend to follow Google in phasing them out now.

Google is in the process of rolling out a new hacked page classifier which puts a notice below sites in the search listings believed to have malicious code or other hacking issues. The only problem is, many webmasters are reporting getting labeled as hacked incorrectly.

Yesterday, Google’s John Mueller acknowledged that a small number of sites are being mislabeled in the search results, which is obviously discouraging to anyone considering clicking on the link.

You can tell if your site is affected by simply searching for your site on Google and seeing if a small blue text appears below the title tag reading “This site may be hacked.” If you don’t see it, you’re in the clear. On the other hand, if you’re seeing that line it means your site has either been mislabeled or really has been hacked.

Mueller suggests having someone experienced in working with hacked sites to review your site to ensure there are no problems. If they give your site a clean bill of health, you will have to notify Google.

This Site May be Hacked

The search engine says to fill out this form if you believe your site is mislabeled as hacked. Once it is submitted, someone at Google will review it and remove the label if they also find no issues. There is no indication how long it will take Google to review your site and remove the label, especially with the number of sites reporting the problem.

For more information on resolving issues with hacked sites, see Google’s best practices.

Looking for your favorite music video? Since MTV hasn’t shown music videos for the past 20 years, you will probably turn to Google. Now, Google is making it easier to find the videos your searching for by giving more prominence to the top playable music video result. So, if you’re searching for “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, it will be hard to miss the official version of the video at the top of the page.

Daft Punk Get Lucky Google Search

The thumbnail images for the videos look like they would be playable on the page, but in actuality they link back to the page for the video. It’s possible they play icon on the image might hint towards future usability for YouTube videos, or it might just be a little misleading.

Of course, the tool isn’t perfect, and you shouldn’t expect to get the “official” video or a video from the artist’s official account every time. For example, Search Engine Watch highlights a case where searching for “Let Me Ride” by Dr. Dre doesn’t pull up a video from the DrDreVEVO account, because that video hasn’t been uploaded to the official account.

Similarly, searching for “I Need a Doctor” by Dr. Dre doesn’t trigger the new large YouTube thumbnails, even though there is an official video uploaded to the account.

dr-dre-i-need-a-doctor-google-search

“This was already available in September 2013 when you searched for an artist and then clicked on a song – you’d see a preview of the music video if it was available to display,” said a Google spokesperson. “Yesterday we made it easier to get to – you can now just search for a song directly and see the video screenshot right away.”

It is notable that the huge thumbnail appears to be exclusive to YouTube. When Google pulls from other sources like Dailymotion, it shows the smaller thumbnail and link layout. For example, the video for “Simply Beautiful” by Queen Latifah looks like this:

simply-beautiful-queen-latifah-google-search

Just a quick update for the news on Google’s real-time search results.  They released a video to show exactly how it works.  And it looks pretty good!  Like it won’t interfere too much with other results, but will give people updated information on what they want.

Here’s the video:

Google is in the process of launching their latest search engine update/upgrade.  With it comes a real-time update capability.  You will actually see relevant information feeding into your search results as you watch.

This is expected to roll out over the next few days, so keep an eye out for differences in the Google results.  If you want to see all the information about this update, check out the article Danny Sullivan wrote about it on Search Engine Land.

Most people nowadays use Google as their primary search engine.  Well, something not everyone realizes is that when you’re logged into your Google account, Google keeps track of all searches you do with their search engine.

What this is intended to do is to enhance your experience with Google (although many people have conspiracy theories as to what their purpose really is).  The results are varied, but Google will keep track of every site you visit and display that on their search results, in addition to adjusting the order of the search results for you based on which sites you showed a preference for.

So that means if you visit one site several times while logged in and found them through Google, the next time you do the same search that site will be quite a bit higher on the results pages.

For any SEOs, this means it will not show accurate search results for keywords you do searches on.  Which is not something SEOs want to happen, if they’re looking for accurate results.

To get around this, you want to use Google when you are not logged in to your Google account.  Only then will it show unadjusted search results, which may still vary based on which server serves up your own results.  But it will not be affected by Google’s personalization of your own search results.

Whether or not they still track you based on IP address is something I’ll leave up to the conspiracy theorists, but for those of you who want a more objective search result, I recommend staying logged out of Google unless you need one of their services at that time.  Or else use a different computer/browser to do your Google searches that you want raw unaltered search results with.