Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another Google Summer Of Code Concludes

Google's fifth Summer of Code has ended, and by all accounts, it was quite a success. Indeed, the students' official success rate this year was judged to be the highest ever, and with 2,000 mentors and 1,000 students participating, that's no statistical fluke.

The Summer of Code is, in case you didn't know, a program Google runs to bring young people into contact with free and open source projects. Accepted students are given a choice between many different projects (there were 150 options this year), along with mentors and stipends.

This presents them with the opportunity to pick up coding skills, forge professional connections, and make a little cash. It's a very good deal for which many people compete.

And that brings us back to this year's record-high success rate. As a post on the Official Google Blog acknowledges, "85 percent of our student participants have successfully completed their projects." That number hasn't been higher than 83 percent in the past.

Leslie Hawthorn, the Summer of Code Program Manager, then continued, "We'd like to congratulate all of our student participants for their hard work and tremendous achievements this summer. We're excited to hear that many of our students have planned out the next few months of their coding work with their chosen open source project."

Google Shares Interesting Malware Stats

Google is sharing some interesting statistics on malware, such as the number of entries on the Google Safe Browsing Malware List that have occurred over the last twelve months, and search results containing a URL labeled as harmful.

“We’re glad to share this sort of data because we believe that collaboration and information sharing are crucial in driving anti-malware efforts forward,” says Niels Provos of Google’s Security Team.

Number of Entries on the Google Safe Browsing Malware List


“As we mentioned in our Top-10 Malware Sites blog post, we have seen a large increase in the number of compromised sites since April,” says Provos. “The number of entries on our malware list has more than doubled in one year, and we have seen periods in which 40,000 web sites were compromised per week. However, compared to infections associated with Gumblar and Martuz — two relatively large and well-known pieces of malicious code, many compromised web sites now point to hundreds of different domains.”

In January of last year, 1.2% of all Google search queries contained at least one such result. The trend has mostly been downward in the time that has passed since then, although you can see fluctuations.

Search Results Containing a URL Labeled as Harmful


Google says that as malware trends evolve, they’re constantly improving their systems to better detect compromised sites. The company notes that the increase in compromised sites they observed could partially be influenced by such improvements.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yahoo to compete with Bing despite Microsoft deal

Yahoo Inc said on Monday it has revamped its search to compete against Microsoft Corp's Bing, even as it relies on the Redmond giant to power its queries.

The announcement of plans to put a new face on Yahoo Messenger and Mail and add functions to its search engine came after news that Google and Yahoo each lost a fraction of a point of U.S. search share to Microsoft last month [nN18441019].

"We are not a version of Bing," Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior vice president of Yahoo, said to reporters at the company's headquarters.

"We are Yahoo and that will continue...We collaborate on the back-end but we are competitors on the front-end," he said,

At a press event held at their headquarters, the company gave more details of its complex relationship with Microsoft.

At the end of July, Microsoft and Yahoo signed a 10-year deal under which search on Yahoo's websites will be generated by Microsoft's new Bing search engine. The companies hope the deal will take effect early next year.

Microsoft will license Yahoo's search technology, allowing it to integrate certain aspects of it into Bing. Microsoft's advertising search product, AdCenter, will also replace Yahoo's equivalent product, Panama.

Raghavan said that when Microsoft sends ads along with its answers to queries, Yahoo may or may not use all of them, depending on a complex formula.

A new series of boxes to the left of search results and ads will give users more ways to make use of what they have found, said Larry Cornett, Yahoo vice president of search products.

A box powered by Internet security company McAfee Inc, will filter dangerous links. Videos will play without leaving the search page.

A box to sites like Yelp, which provides user feedback on stores and restaurants, can be clicked to check out the quality of a sushi restaurant without leaving the search page.

Cornett, who demonstrated the new approach, said it was undergoing testing and will be available some time this year.

Comscore reported Microsoft gained 0.5 percent in July, but still only holds 8.9 percent of the search market, compared to 64.7 percent for Google and 19.3 percent for Yahoo.

Yahoo shares closed up 20 cents, or 1.35 percent, to end the day at $14.99 on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by David Lawsky, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Change of Address tool to tell Google about your new URL

If you’re planning to move your site to a new domain, use the Change of Address tool to tell Google about your new URL. This will help us update our index faster and smooth the transition for your users.

For best results, follow these steps:

  1. Set up the new siteReview our guidelines for moving your site to a new domain. Set up your content on your new domain, then make sure all internal links point to the new domain.
  2. Redirect all traffic from the old siteUse a 301 redirect to permanently redirect the pages on your old site to your new site. This tells users and search engines that your site has permanently moved. Ask webmasters to update their links to point to your new domain and make sure incoming links to your old site are redirected correctly using the 301 redirects.
  3. Add your new site to Webmaster ToolsMake sure you have added and verified your new domain.
  4. Tell us the URL of your new domain
    New URL for

    After submitting the change of address, check your Webmaster Tools data periodically to see if your new site has been crawled and indexed (if you have a Sitemap, one way to determine this is by checking Sitemap details for the new site to see how many of the pages have been crawled and indexed).

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How to Register a Domain Name

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Getting Your Web Hosting from HostGator

Web hosting is the lifeblood of any WordPress blog.

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How to Change Your DNS in Godaddy

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How to Change Your DNS in NameCheap

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How to Install and Use FileZilla FTP Program

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Installing WordPress Automatically Using cPanel

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How to Create New Posts in WordPress

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How to Install and Set-Up Windows Live Writer

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How to Use Windows Live Writer to Write Content

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Installing New Plugins in Windows Live Writer

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How to Create Backups for Your WordPress Blog

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How to Edit WordPress Theme CSS Styles

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Google Rolling Out AdSense Relevancy Improvements

Google announced (subtly) that it is rolling out a series of enhancements to AdSense’s contextual targeting capabilities to more accurately match relevant ads to AdSense publishers’ pages.

Unfortunately, not many details about these enhancements were given away, but Google says AdSense publishers will not have to update their AdSense accounts or ad code. Changes will be applied automatically.


“Our machines are very good at the matching process, but there are still a few cases where their definition of relevance differs from our human definition of relevance,” says AdSense Product Manager Woojin Kim. “In these few cases, the system might end up serving ads that don’t seem immediately relevant to users. We understand that increased ad relevance contributes to a positive experience for users, publishers, and advertisers, so we’re continuously working on ways to improve the relevance and quality of ads that appear on your sites.”

The changes will not affect how other types of ads are matched to your sites. Placement-targeted ads that advertisers bid on to appear specifically on your page, for example, will continue to appear.

These relevancy-determining changes are not the only thing the AdSense team has been up to. This week, they announced that they have tweaked the default fonts for different ad formats, in order to trigger better performance. Category filtering was also announced for AdSense for Feeds.

Google's Matt Cutts on .com Relevancy in UK

Some UK Google users have noticed that search results pages are showing more results from .com sites these days, than in the past. They are used to sites getting better rank, and assuming that they are more relevant to their geographic location.

Certainly in some cases the site would be more relevant to a UK searcher, but that is not always the case. Google's Matt Cutts has posted a video in which he answers a question on this subject from a user. The question was:

Why are the UK SERPS still really poor with irrelevant non UK sites (US/Aus/NZ) ranking very high on since early June?
Cutts says it is true that searchers in the UK will see more .com results, and that is simply a product of Google getting better at determining geographic relevancy.

As Google gets better, they're more willing to show .com results if they're relevant to the country. "If the best result for a British searcher is something that ends in .com, we still want to show that to that British searcher," says Cutts.

According to Cutts, this is a change that Google will not likely reverse, although he does encourage users to let them know if they see such results that aren't relevant, because they would want to improve this.

The bottom line is that Google is just learning more these days about what sites are associated with what countries, and they're better at detecting it. The goal is to supply relevant results.

As a bonus, Cutts posted to his blog that he's already received some criticism about his answer in the above video and responded:

There’s a couple effects going on:

- first, we’ve been making changes that make it much more likely to see .coms in the UK. I’d say that’s 80-90% of the changes that people are seeing. Most of the generic TLDs (.com, .net, etc.) that are showing up now are .com sites like and that are relevant to the UK even though they don’t end in a

- I’ve been following some of the examples people have pointed out. I remember in particular was mentioned and that probably is off-topic for the UK. I dug into that one, and it was an unrelated ranking experiment that was going on that we changed.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Google Suggest Suggestions for Indians & Americans

Google Suggest Suggestions for Indians & Americans

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Google Update August 2009 Caffeine Update

Google start to make major changes in is search engine results.

Google Update August 2009 called “Ceffeine Update” are not been update yet in Google normal search results and been test in -> Google Caffeline Test.

this update look like it’s going to be more all about in site seo then links back.

i think this is a smart move from Google because this way the real interesting sites with content on them will rank hi then sites with lot’s of links just because webmaster that locking for links all day and paid of links instead of writing useful information, that is all about when a internet user looks for information in search engines.

i hope this will put an end of this links war and make the internet a better please

read more about this update at Matt Cutts Caffeine Update.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Analytics Data In Excel Through Our API

Many of our clients use Excel to manage their ad campaigns, visualize marketing performance, and perform complex data analysis. Most analysts use the Google Analytics Export feature to manually export their report data to CSV files. Then they import the CSV file into Excel. No longer! Now, with the Google Analytics API you can bypass this manual step and export Google Analytics data directly from within Excel! Once you’ve set it up, there’s no need to visit the Analytics reports to view data in Excel.

Thanks to a variety of developers, here are four solutions that can transform you from a reporting monkey to an analysis ninja (as Avinash would say).

  • VBA Macros – The simplest solution of them all. Mikael Thuneberg’s page explains how to make API requests directly from Excel using VBA Scripts and includes a pre-built Excel worksheet to get you started.
  • The Tatvic Excel Plugin – Another easy-to-use plugin for Windows users that supports both Excel 2003 and Excel 2007. To get started you download the plugin then register to use the tool. Its simple UI helps you build complex queries and get data from Analytics right into your Excel worksheet.
    Tatvic’s Plugin Query Builder
  • Excellent Analytics – Is an open-source initiative by Mark Red and Dropit. This Excel 2007 plugin works on Vista/XP and comes with a query builder to help you create Google Analytics queries and pull data right into Excel. put together a great step by step tutorial to get started using this plugin.
    Excellent Analytic’s Query Builder Interface
  • ShufflePoint – Works somewhat differently than the solutions above. ShufflePoint has developed a query language that works with the Google Analytics API to achieve common tasks, such as defining the last 30 days as a date range. One then uses this language to construct an Analytics Data Export API query either by navigating to a URL within Excel, or by using their web-based query builder, then importing this data into Excel. This process allows the ShufflePoint solution to work across most versions of Excel, as well as Powerpoint, and iGoogle gadgets.
    Shufflepoint’s Web Based Query Builder

We continue to be impressed by the new solutions developers are bringing to market by leveraging the Google Analytics Platform. If you have developed a useful new tool or integration on top of Google Analytics, drop us an email at If it’s innovative and useful we’ll highlight it to our readers on this blog.

Posted by Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics API Team

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Google buys On2’s video technology. Why?

Google announced today that they intended to purchase On2 technology for $106.5 million. While just a drop in Google’s seemingly limitless ocean of cash, this acquisition seems to be for a technology component (or two). On2 specializes in making video processing codecs and software that optimizes video for the Internet.

The big question is: Why?

Here are some reasons which I think may make the most sense:

First, Google’s YouTube unit has many Petabytes of video stored on Google’s server farms around the world. Every day that number grows. It costs a lot of money to keep that data live, online and backed up. It also costs a lot of money in bandwidth to deliver it to Google’s users. One of On2’s core competencies is bringing the size of SWF Flash (and H.264) files down while keeping the quality level high. As Google moves to make more and more of Youtube’s videos High Definition, this becomes even more important.

Even single digit percentage drops in file size to Youtube’s collection would make the technology valuable enough over a few years to make the sale a good deal. But there could be more to it than that.

On2 also makes software that optimizes video for mobile. Not only does Google have the Android handsets, but it also has users with iPhones, Blackberries and Windows Mobile devices that are going to be downloading more and more of their content.

Another big deal is the HTML5 standard that embeds native (not Flash) video. The standard is up in the air right now because Apple and the Open Source community both have different ideas of what should be the standard format for video. Apple obviously wants its Quicktime friendly H.264 while many in the Open Source community want Ogg Video. On2 could have either a third choice or a technology that allows both to be generated for webpages using HTML5. Either way, google is a big player in this space and will want to have a say.

What I think is at play here is that major advertisers are getting ready to sign up for big campaigns with Hulu. Google, when all is said and done, is an advertising company. They make 99% of their money from ads and everything else they do are just ways of getting those ads into our eyes.

They see Hulu’s platform (based on the On2 technology btw) as the biggest competitor to their Youtube juggernaut. While Youtube can be mildly entertaining for viral videos, Hulu is grabbing more eyes for a longer period of time with better quality programming. If Google wants to participate in this space, they are going to want a piece of that action. And at $100 million, they can afford to get into the game.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Who Can Take the Cake in Chrome Creativity?

Update: Google says the Google Chome Icon Project is over now.

Chrome Conest Over

Original Article: Feeling creative? Fan of Google's Chrome browser? If your answer to either of these questions is yes, you might be interested to know that Google is hosting a global project in which it is asking fans to submit creative videos in which they create a Google Chrome icon.

Jason Toff from the Google Chrome team says the idea for the project came when the team itself was experimenting with using different objects to create the icon - like this cake for example:

Jason Toff Tweets about Chrome Cake

Chrome Cake with V8

What Google considers to be the best entries to this project, it will feature on Google and YouTube. "We know from past experience that users are the ones who come up with the coolest stuff. So with that, we now turn the challenge to YOU to make a video showing the formation of the Google Chrome icon in a big, unusual or creative way," says Toff. He tells me he likes the magnets one so far (video below):

Favorite icon so far?

Favorite icon so far?

You may recall that earlier this year, Google created its first television advertisement, and this was for Chrome. I don't know if any of these designs will make it into an actual commercial or not, but I suspect the initiative itself is designed to generate buzz and draw awareness to Chrome. Not a bad viral campaign.

Participants have until July 22 to submit their videos. You can do so here, and while you're there, you can also check out what other people have done. I'll leave you with a few samples below. By the way, they should be between 15 and 60 seconds long.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Intel Launches Facebook App For Research

Intel has launched a Facebook application that allows people to donate their PC's unused processor power to research diseases and study climate change.

Intel developed the app called Progress Thru Processors, which allows Facebook users to choose to contribute their extra processing power to research efforts of and Africa@home. is focused on understanding global climate change by predicting the Earth's climate testing the accuracy of climate models.

Deborah Conrad, Intel Vice President & General Manager, Corporate Marketing Group

Africa@home is focused on finding strategies to fight malaria by studying simulation models of how the disease spreads and the potential impact of new anti-malarial drugs and vaccines.

In addition, Progress Thru Processors also allows users to contribute to Rossetta@home, which is focused on finding cures for cancer and other diseases such as HIV and Alzheimer's.

"Progress Thru Processors underscores our belief that small contributions made by individuals can collectively have a far-reaching impact on our world," said Deborah Conrad, Intel vice president and general manager, Corporate Marketing Group.

"By simply running an application on your computer, which uses very little incremental resources, you can expand computing resources to researchers working to make the world a better place."

Launched in public beta, the application activates only when a PC's performance is not being fully utilized. The application runs automatically as a background process and will not affect performance.

For Progress Thru Processors, Intel partnered with GridRepublic, a not -for-profit volunteer computing organization.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Is Google Really Threatened By This Yahoo Microsoft Deal?

Are you tired of reading about the Microsoft Yahoo deal yet? Obviously not or you wouldn't be reading this. There has been a whole lot of coverage to digest, and there will certainly be a whole lot more as the deal gets scrutinized and continues its journey to fruition.

Steve BallmerThere has been a lot of talk about the deal being bad for Yahoo and good for Microsoft. This may or may not be true, as it's really way too early to tell for sure, but Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been doing his best to try to convince people (mainly Yahoo shareholders) that Yahoo is in fact getting a good deal.

Yahoo's shareholders of course didn't see it that way, and Yahoo's stock plummeted after the announcement of the deal. But that's because "nobody gets it," according to Ballmer. Shareholders wanted cash, but Ballmer says they should be happy with the elimination of Yahoo's search costs and the added advertisers that will surely come from the deal.

Others in the industry feel that Yahoo is simply making a big mistake by eliminating its own search business. Although there's no denying that Bing has been building some buzz, and those pricey TV ads are helping to fuel that, but how many of the average Yahoo users will even care?

The ultimate question of this whole thing is will this really give Google significant competition in the search space? Again, it's too early to truly tell, but my gut is telling me it's not going to make an incredible difference.

If a typical Google user has tried Bing and decided to continue using Google as their primary search engine of choice, they're not going to abandon it because Yahoo's using it. Does it matter that much to Google if Yahoo users are using Bing? They were already using Yahoo over Google, so what's the difference?

Microsoft and Yahoo may get some more advertisers out of this with the combination of Bing and Yahoo making up a greater percentage of the search market share, but it's not like its going to draw advertisers away from Google, which still controls an incredibly dominant amount of that market.

And let's not overlook the fact that when something eye-catching occurs in the search industry, and Google's not the one catching eyes, they are usually quick to counter with their own offerings (or at least acknowledge that they will be forthcoming). When Bing launched and started highlighting all of its "cool new features," Google was quick to add a link to its homepage highlighting some of its own "decision-engine-like features."

Google - Discover the Web

As some discussed back then (namely Danny Sullivan if I'm not mistaken), Bing's launch merely highlighted some things you could do with a search engine that other search engines (like Google, and in some cases even Microsoft's own Live Search) were already doing. Bing's launch has been more about branding than anything (despite the fact that it does bring some new things to the table).

I could be incredibly wrong, but I just don't see this partnership between Yahoo and Microsoft having a tremendous effect on Google. Many want to see more competition in the search industry, and that's a good thing. Competition can only make the industry as a whole better.

But Google is so dominant for a reason. People like Google. Like I said when Bing launched, even if the competition offers a product that is just as good or even better in some ways, it's going to take Google dropping the ball and driving people away on their end to make a significant impact on its share of the search market.

Google is so far ahead, and it has been for so long. Think about all of the products that Google users are already tied into from Gmail to Google Docs to AdWords to Google Calendar, etc. Google search is always right there. Users have a lot of their online lives invested in Google, and switching is probably asking a lot to most of them. Yes, you can use both Gmail and Bing, but it's about convenience and familiarity.

Microsoft has done a very good job combating the branding issue that has held them down in the search market for so long though. Bing appears to be doing much better than Live Search from that standpoint. We'll see what happens.


Facebook Offers A Username Mulligan

Just last month, Facebook announced that they would allow users to choose a custom username, a.k.a. vanity URL, for their Facebook profile. A post on the Facebook blog warned users to:

"Think carefully about the username you choose. Once it's been selected, you won't be able to change or transfer it."

Well, that's not true anymore. You can now change your username, but only once. At the time of this writing there is no official announcement from Facebook about the username change option.

Facebook Username Change

It's unclear when Facebook added this new option, but we're sure some Facebookers will appreciate it, as ReadWriteWeb points out. If you wish to change your username, go to the "Settings" tab at the top of your profile and click on "Account Settings". The second option down is "Username", just press "Change" and pick your new username.

Last month, Mashable put together a pretty comical list of the "15 Silliest Facebook Vanity URLs", maybe some of those users would like a mulligan on their initial username choice.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Do Meta Geo Tags Influence Google?

Google's Matt Cutts frequently posts useful tips for webmasters on the Google Webmaster Central YouTube channel. The short clips generally offer valuable nuggets of info that can have an impact on your site's performance in Google.

In these videos, Matt always answers questions submitted by users, and in a recent one he answers the question: "How do meta geo tags influence search results?"

Cutts says it's not something Google really looks at at all. He says they do look at:

- IP Address
- gTLD
- ccTLD

He also points out that there's a feature in Google's Webmaster Tools where you can tell it that your site pertains to a specific country even though it's a dot com. "Typically the geotags that are in meta tags are not as useful and We don't tend to give those as much weight if at all," says Cutts. He suggests spending your time:

- trying to make sure you have the right domain name

- trying to make sure you have the right IP address if you can

- If you have content (even if it's geo-located) even if it's a sub-domain or a sub-directory, you can specify it in Google's Webamster Tools. You can tell it that certain content is relevant for a particular country.
These are good things to keep in mind if geographic information is important to your site. Have you used the Webmaster Tools Feature Cutts refers to?