Wednesday, May 19, 2004



Google Desktop Search Tool Rumored & Software Principles Released
The New York Times is reporting that Google plans to release a desktop search tool in the near future. The rumor comes on the heels of a new "Software Principles" page the company posted yesterday.
Google already has a desktop presence in the form of its long-standing Google Toolbar and the Google Deskbar search applet released last year. But a full-blown desktop searching application is seen by some as a move Microsoft might make to lock-in users. The Google project appears designed to counter this threat, according to the report.
Among the major search engines, AltaVista offered its AltaVista Discovery desktop search tool back in 1998, but it was never widely used. More recently, Lycos introduced a desktop search tool in March.
Coincidental with the rumor - or perhaps not - Google released a new Software Principles page yesterday. It's a call to the software industry to be more transparent and clear with users about what exactly their applications will do.
Among the principles, Google suggests that software should
· Not trick people into installing it
· Provide clear disclosure of its functions
· Be easy to remove
· Be clear in responsibility for when it changes default behaviors
· Be upfront about personal data and other information gathered
· Not be bundled with other software that doesn't follow principles of good behavior
In other news, the Google Gmail email system that sparked amazement by offering 1 gigabyte of storage space in April appears to have increased that amount by 1,000 times to 1 terabyte, for some users.
Aaron Schwartz and Dave Winer are just to reporting this has happened to them. Checking my own Gmail account, I don't see this happening. Gmail still tells me that I have 1000 MB of space in total, with 17 percent of it currently used. Personally, I suspect a bug.
Google's move came after Lycos recently offered 1 GB of space to its email users and Yahoo declared it would greatly increase the free space offered to those using its email service.
Write; by Danny Sullivan

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Bank Espirito Santo launches 3G mobile banking
Portuguese bank, Bank Espirito Santo, has announced the launch of its bank services specially designed for the recent Portuguese UMTS platform.
Their wish is not only to maintain their domestic leadership of the mobile banking sector, but also to immediately assess the impact of the 3G mobile telephony in banking activities.
In order to help the spread of the use of this new service, the bank also announced its intention to help the costumers to purchase 3G handsets with special prices and credit conditions. The first available service will be based on the BES Internet Banking on the I9 TMN Portal. It will be possible to check accounts, transfer funds, and recharge mobile accounts.
At some point in the future, customers will also be possible to perform other transactions normally available via Internet banking such as stock exchange orders, and services payments.

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INTERNET – WI-FI launches wi-fi ‘virtual tokens’, Telecom Italia Media’s Internet service provider, has announced that it is to launch "virtual tokens" for for its wi-fi Internet service.
The tokens offer a temporary access code that may be purchased online via credit card from locations that host hot spots, such as hotels, shopping centres, bars and yacht clubs. The token is available in three different denominations. One-hour, five-hour and twenty-four-hour tokens cost €2.95, €4.94 and €14.95, respectively. The twenty-four-hour tokens are on special offer throughout 2004 for €9.95.
Launching on 15 May, the service is aimed at business travellers and tourists who need to access the Internet. has 364 hot spots in the country, 245 of which 245 are up and running.
Source;, May 2004

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Reciprocal Linking: A Disturbing Trend
In the world of Internet Marketing, and Web site promotion, nothing changes faster than the parameters that rule good Search Engine rankings and placement.
This has led to a developed new science in the last few years, SEM (Search Engine Marketing). This new science, SEM, has been a boon to both Web Masters and the merchants that maintain Web sites as a way to increase exposure and revenue for their products and/or services.
SEM has become a much sought after entity, with SEM specialists, who focus on optimization of a site, routinely adding linking campaign management to their overall repertoire of services. This has resulted in a large influx of Web sites focusing on linking campaigns and reciprocal linking as it has been established that good, solid reciprocal linking campaigns increased traffic and visitors to a site exponentially.

However, like with everything else online, the idea of SEM and linking campaigns has spread like "wildfire", with sites seeking links seemingly endlessly. This has led to what can only be termed, "linking explosions", with many sites posting links to everything and anything in an effort to increase their Search Engine rankings and placements.

The actual attainment of effective linking campaigns, is a work oriented, tedious undertaking, with literally months spent developing a good campaign. While a good linking campaign does increase rankings overall, with the Search Engines, the question remains, "does it increase sales"? After all, consumers are the ingredient that facilitates the sale of a product/service in the long run, not the rankings or placement of a site. Questions about whether linking campaigns increase revenue for a site are coming into play now.

Recent data has shown that consumers, now more than ever, are arriving at Web sites via "search features", not by direction to a Web site via another Web site link. The use of "search features" to arrive at a site has increased by almost six percent in the past year. In addition, direct navigation by visitors to a Web site, has also increased from a year ago, by almost ten percent. In direct contrast, Web link "arrivals" of visitors has dropped in the past year, by a somewhat staggering, twenty percent!

The World Wide Web quite obviously has now become more utilitarian to consumers, and linking campaigns, as a result, may become more ineffective as time goes on. Linking campaigns, by their very nature, promote "browsing" and the consumer finds time-consuming “visiting” of many sites, before the product/item/service. As the Web progresses and consumers become increasingly discerning in their overall approach to the Web, they are now going right to the source, more often, via "search features" and direct navigation.

Accordingly, then, the "digging around" on other sites, has diminished over the past twelve months, and in all likelihood, will continue as a trend well into the future, hampering the effectiveness of linking campaigns overall. This trend reflects an international shift towards this method of finding information on the Web, and is not localized whatsoever, crossing many demographic and geographic barriers.

It's really difficult to effectively pinpoint the cause in this shift for consumers. However, the sheer magnitude of the linking campaign craze that is so prominent now, may account, at least in part, for the shift in the attitudes of consumers. Because of the popularity of linking campaigns as a method of increasing rankings and placement, attaining "quality" links (those with a Page Rank of 5 or higher) has become more difficult for Web masters. In addition, the sheer volume of linking requests to pages with a high ranking, has also increased, to the point where higher ranked Web sites are inundated daily with linking requests, interfering with their ability to attend to their own business.

Web masters have now oftentimes taken to using any links whatsoever; as long as the links added have the appropriate Page Rank. Little thought seems to be given at times, to the theme of a links page or the relevance of links that have been added, leaving visitors to some sites confused and frustrated. This will in all probability lead consumers to turn to the Search Engines and direct navigation even more in the future, not less.

This could have dire consequences for many Web sites down the road, as those at the bottom of search listings could conceivably be forced out of business.
There are methods however that can aid in the retention of top rankings and listings with the Search Engines, in and above linking campaigns.

These methods would also hold greater appeal for consumers in general, as they would add quality to a Web site, as well as content, something that will add "longevity of appeal" to a Web site:
1. The writing of good, content oriented copy, which imparts value to a Web site. Good copy has always been utilized to establish good overall traffic and conversion patterns. Even Search Engines seem to understand this and routinely rank Web sites with good pertinent content, higher than other Web sites.
2. The placement of ads on high traffic sites. Just one good ad, placed on another Web site with good overall traffic, will significantly increase rankings and placement by the Search Engines.
3. The submitting of a Web site to all possible, pertinent directories. Directories were always a good method of increasing rankings and placement, and they still, to this day, are a good choice.
4. The optimization of all other aspects of a Web site, from the meta-tags to the design. Meta-tag optimization, like directory listings, continues to be a good overall optimization technique. The design of a Web site can also enhance rankings and placement, as the site needs to be "readable" to the Search Engines, and some flash and other enhancements, can prevent "readability", thus hampering rankings and placement.
5. The enhancement of traffic by offline marketing campaigns. This is one facet of Web site traffic management that many individuals neglect, but that can successfully increase rankings significantly.
6. The use of PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns. While these can be expensive, if care is not given to the bidding, they can also enhance traffic to a Web site, as "traffic begets more traffic", establishing a ranking pattern for the Search Engines.
7. The addition of keywords that are relevant to a site, throughout the copy, the title, and the meta-tags and any other text, such as articles and reports. Keywords are the "guides" that the Search Engines use to find a site and rank it. The addition of good relevant keywords always enhances rankings and placement.
Linking campaigns, as you can see, while having their overall place in effective rankings and placement within the Search Engines, are not the "be all and end all" of optimization or rankings. Many various fundamentally sound methods of optimization still exist, and should be utilized in any well-rounded Search Engine Marketing campaign.

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Search Engines & Web Portals Going 1GB Email Crazy
Making news yesterday, Lycos Europe introed a paid 1GB email service which beat the slow paced Google GMaillaunch. However, GMail’s functionality may make it stand out to users and web emailers more so than its added storage size. Besides, other established mail servers have already or are starting to offer 1GB mail accounts. Here’s a comparison of search related email account offerings from Pras at Cinematic Rain
Yahoo! Mail:
- Upgraded their free accounts to 100MB 1GB mail coming soon
Lycos Mail:
- 1GB available for about $6 a month
Google GMail:
- Still in beta testing
- No news of when it will officially be launched to the public
- 1GB email accounts
- 350MB combined storage

The “All-You-Can-Eat Buffet” Effect
Finally the mailbox providers are realizing its not about how much storage people are really going to use, but instead of actually offering a whole lot of space. Its like a buffet, you offer tons of food and unlimited servings. But out of the potential diners, only a few will gorge themselves till they’re racing to the restroom.
All that aside, one must ask, where is Hotmail nowadays? Are they happy to be stuck with 2-4MB storage? What does MSN have up their sleeve, if anything?
Yahoo and Hotmail don’t change their ways, their advertising cluttered email pages will send mass pilgrimages over to Google GMail and other similar offerings, about two of the best-known e-mail services, MSN Hotmail and Yahoo Mail (my least favorites), I visualize their ad-laden, cluttered screens.

GMail knocks Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail hard. Speed is extra ordinary. It simply is too fast that you fear if it’s indeed a secure service.” Mittal adds his opinion on GMail’s controversial email content targeted Google Adwords advertising, I did not see many ads. In fact most pages did not have any. One big mail with some good content showed the adsense ads, which are creating furors in the market. They are not intrusive, irritating. They just are present at one side. It’s not something that’s in your face. And that is something wonderful. Compare that to Yahoo’s big flash ads and Microsoft’s heavy pages.
Just when things were starting to heat up in the big search engine version of King of the Hill, Google came out with their 1GB GMail, stirring the pot and starting a new battle trying to get registered mail users to their search friendly email systems. It should be interesting to see how MSN, Yahoo and others fully respond.

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