June 27, 2006

Google Graphical Banner Ads!

Posted in Category: Work — Amr Awadallah @ 4:14 pm | link | | comment (0)
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I never thought I would see this day, Google now has banner ads on their site, i.e. within the google.com domain. We all know that Google for some time now has been offering graphical banner ads for their adsense network, but in that case the banner ads only show on partner sites and never on google.com. Can you spot the banner ad in screenshot below ?


Google Banner Ads

— amr

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June 22, 2006

Asking Google Answers about Google is forbidden.

Posted in Category: Work — Amr Awadallah @ 7:52 pm | link | | comment (0)
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First, I am very sorry I have not been posting much lately, a huge surge of work stuff plus PhD demands are diminishing my spare time, and hence this blog has to give.

That said, today I found an interesting question on Yahoo Answers that goes as follows:

“Why Shouldn’t Google Answers Let People Ask Questions About Google?”

The question was posted by Danny Sullivan, and you can read the context for it at:

http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/060622-081535

The jest of the issue is summarized as:

… Google officially disallows people to ask questions about the company because the researchers at Google Answers aren’t Google employees. Got that? Freelance researchers are apparently qualified to answer questions about any other company in the world, but when it comes to Google, special treatment is required. Incredible.

My answer to the question (on yahoo answers) is:

I am from Egypt, and this attitude from Google is not unlike many of the middle-eastern presidents. To appear democratic, they now let you say what ever you want, criticize the government and politics as much as you like, but never, never, question any thing the president is doing.

That’s why I was amazed when I saw this hilarious video clip of Colbert ridiculing Bush’s actions *in front* of Bush and the press corr:

http://video.yahoo.com/video/search?p=co…

If that was in the middle-east, the president’s response would most likely have been like this:

http://video.myway.com/sites/myway/popup…

In conclusion, Google is the president of the Internet, you can’t talk about the president, that is the Google democracy.

— amr

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June 8, 2006

Google evilness for advanced search queries.

Posted in Category: Work — Amr Awadallah @ 8:14 pm | link | | comment (0)
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Google has been, for some time, showing Adwords ads on advanced search queries that should not have matched those ads.

For example, if you do an advanced search for flowers, but limit the domain to stanford.edu only, you will still see lots of ads totally unrelated to that query (since the query explicitly said I only want to see pages from within stanford.edu).

http://www.google.com/search?q=flowers+site:stanford.edu

Google Adwords

So you can see in image above, that the first three sponsored results (way up there, in the north of the page, above the real web results) have nothing to do with stanford.edu, yet they are displayed prominently in that location. However, you note of course that the first natural result is indeed a good hit and is within the stanford.edu domain.

If you try the same query on yahoo search, you will notice that we do not show the ads in this case:

http://search.yahoo.com/search?va=flowers&vs=Stanford.edu

Another typical query, that Google shows ads for when they shouldn’t, is when negative words are used in the query. For example, the query “flowers -ftd” should return results that do not have ftd. However, when done on Google you will notice that the sponsored ads still have the ftd result (its actually the first result in the screenshot below), that is despite clear indication from the user that he/she does not want to see ftd stuff (the natural results section behaves properly):

http://www.google.com/search?q=flowers -ftd

Google Adwords Negative Queries

But if you do the same query on yahoo search, you will notice that we do not display any sponsored ads in that case, since we know that the user is doing advanced research queries and does not want to be distracted with ads.

http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=flowers -ftd

So the conclusion is, when doing advanced searches, you are better off using yahoo search to avoid irrelevant sponsored results showing up above the natural results 😉

— amr

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June 1, 2006

Most aggressive promotion on Google’s frontpage.

Posted in Category: Work — Amr Awadallah @ 8:27 pm | link | | comment (0)
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This is the most aggressive promotion that I have ever seen on Google’s frontpage. Its for a Google product obviously (the Google desktop), but still, this represents a major departure for them.

Max I saw before was a small link here or there, this is a full 345x37pix graphic, and it only shows if the client window size is larger than about 775×470 pixels (try reducing the window size and you will see it disappear). Not only does it add clutter to Google’s precious frontpage, but it also increases the page load time which they have been fanatical about (that’s a rather large graphic, about 1KB in size, the total pagesize with all objects goes up from 9KB to 14KB). However, they seem to cookie that you saw this promo, because on subsequent visits you will not see it (not sure what is timeout on that cookie though).

Is this a sign of desperation? are they really this scared of IE7 and Vista ?

Google frontpage promo

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