Google’s New Look – For Festive Season or New Year?

Google is recently testing its new layout for its homepage and search results pages. The new look is being testes out to some selected users, and you won’t believe, but I was one of them.

As you can see from the screen shot on the left, the new Google logo is more simpler leaving out the shadow effect. Instead the “Google Search” and “I’m Feeling Lucky” buttons get some bright blue colour gradient background.

Search Results page have different look with different options to choose from left hand sidebar like News, Blogs, Images, Video, Maps etc.

I tried to play around a little with the new layout and other options, and one interesting option was “Page Previews”. It shows the screen shot of the result page here it self.

Now you must be feeling eachy in your hands and you want to use this new layout as soon as possible. I know how it feels to use the new features… Well just leave a comment below with correct email and I will let you know how you can use this new layout from Google without Google choosing you for their test.

Keep Blogging and Keep Rocking…

Do You Want To Know What Google Knows About You?

There were many privacy concerns over the period of Google’s evolution in the last 11 years. People were worried about the amount of data Google have about us and can be used in the most dangerous manner. Especially after the introduction of Google Social Search, it was very clear to users that how much data they can collect.

So to show users that how much data Google have about them, Google has introduced Google Dashboard.

Here is what they have to say:

In an effort to provide you with greater transparency and control over their own data, we’ve built the Google Dashboard. Designed to be simple and useful, the Dashboard summarizes data for each product that you use (when signed in to your account) and provides you direct links to control your personal settings. Today, the Dashboard covers more than 20 products and services, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Web History, Orkut, YouTube, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts, Latitude and many more. The scale and level of detail of the Dashboard is unprecedented, and we’re delighted to be the first Internet company to offer this — and we hope it will become the standard. Watch this quick video to learn more and then try it out for yourself at www.google.com/dashboard.

Here is the video from Google about Google Dashboard:

Google Social Search – Find your friends’ updates on Google

I would consider last week as Social Media week. News sites and internet marketing blogs haven’t had enough of Bing’s Twitter and Facebook deal along with Google shaking hands with Twitter for another great deal, now we have Google Social Search.

What is Google Social Search?

Google social search which is still in beta can be opted in through Google labs. It is nothing but an amalgamation of updates from your social network status updates in one place. e.g. if you are searching for “New Zealand”, Google social search will show updates, twits and photos of your friends who have had their last vacation in New Zealand.

According to Google Blog:

A lot of people write about New York, so if I do a search for [new york] on Google, my best friend’s New York blog probably isn’t going to show up on the first page of my results. Probably what I’ll find are some well-known and official sites. We’ve taken steps to improve the relevance of our search results with personalization, but today’s launch takes that one step further. With Social Search, Google finds relevant public content from your friends and contacts and highlights it for you at the bottom of your search results. When I do a simple query for [new york], Google Social Search includes my friend’s blog on the results page under the heading “Results from people in your social circle for New York.” I can also filter my results to see only content from my social circle by clicking “Show options” on the results page and clicking “Social.”

I was searching for “Bajaj Pulsar” and got a blog page of one of my colleague Jaydip Parikh. Here is the screen shot:

 

How Does it all Work?

Now, you will think that how does Google know your friends and connections? Here are some of the main sources that Google counts to connect to your friends according to Matt Cutts:

• Google Public Profiles

The most obvious source for Google to look into their own data. Here they can find your other social network profile links, blog links etc, which makes it possible to find your other contacts on twitter, facebook or myspace.

• Google Talk Connections
All your gtalk connections will be added to your social network and updates from them will be shown to you.

• Google Reader
If you have subscribed to some blog in your Google reader, the updates from blog will be shown on the search results.

• Extended Network
If you are friend with someone and he / she has 10 other friends, there is a good chance that some of them might know you as well. So, this extended network friends’ update will be also be shown to you in the search results.

Here is a video from matt cutts, that show how does it work?

I think this will really change the SEO game. The real time search craze is getting heat and will change how the sites are ranked, although the social search is turned on only when you are logged in to Google.

Do you think Search engine optimization experts now will have hard time getting the ranking or they will find a way through as usual? Do you think social media will be spammed now like never before in order to get ranking on Google?

Google’s Caffeine Update – Which way is it going now?

Google has been working on a new search infrastructure code name Caffeine and you can now test it if you visit http://www2.sandbox.google.com. On Monday (10th. Aug, 09), Google has revealed what it calls a “new generation of infrastructure for research on the Web and asking the public to test. Google specifically states that its goal for the new version of Google Search to improve its indexing speed, accuracy, size, and comprehensiveness. Here’s what they wrote:

“For the last several months, a large team of Googlers has been working on a secret project: a next-generation architecture for Google’s web search. It’s the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions. The new infrastructure sits “under the hood” of Google’s search engine, which means that most users won’t notice a difference in search results. But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences, so we’re opening up a web developer preview to collect feedback.”

In other words, the company aims to crawl the web, index it well, and delivers fast, relevant results – something it’s always aimed to do. After a number of searches, its clear Caffeine offers increased results in a shorter timeframe; however, how results appear remains a mystery.

From a consumer point of view, Caffeine is identical to regular Google search save for shaving off a few precious half seconds. It is unclear at this point whether Caffeine will be more or less friendly to the magic worked by SEO practitioners, whose inexplicable art is aimed at winning the desirable first page of Google results for keyword searches of interest to their client. It’s perhaps too early to make changes, but people already started searching using their existing keywords to see what changes appear in their rankings.

Useful Links:

Official Google Blog Update

Update from Matt Cutts Blog

Interesting Discussion at Warrior Forum

CNET News

New Search Engine Bing, Now Showing as Search Engine in Google Analytics

Hey All,

I know I’ve been really busy with things, so couldn’t update the blog. Here is the little update that I wanted to post today. New search engine called Bing, from Microsoft had some issues showing up in Google analytics. It was showing as general referral site instead of search engines, so webmasters couldn’t track the keywords through which they were getting traffic. Now, Google has resolved the issue and it is showing as Search Engine with traffic from different keywords.

Here is the screen shot from one of my new client’s Google Analytics, which is showing Bing as Search engine.