March 28, 2006

Please learn how to read the Comscore qSearch report.

Posted in Category: Work — Amr Awadallah @ 9:12 pm | link | | comment (0)

I guess its ok when media makes mistakes interpreting Comscore reports, they do not deal with numbers much, but its painful to see financial analysts making the same mistakes.

The search share that is relevant for revenue is not the Comscore total media reported qSearch share which includes all types of search like image, video, directory, groups, etc. These ancillary verticals do not contribute to revenue (not directly), hence they can double marketshare in those areas and still make no additional revenue for that quarter.

Also that specific report had a ton of methodology changes over the last year, so year-over-year comparisons are totally out of whack. For example, Comscore had a technical issue with how they count Google image search PVs which they corrected in Jan 06, that led to inflating Google’s growth in Jan and Feb compared to last year.

That said, the proper metric to look at is the Web Search PVs marketshare, and specifically within the top 5 players (Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and ASK), since Comscore added a new bunch of ISP search portals to their total report in Jan 06.


— amr

PS: Bearn Stearns, you also had a typo in the table on page 2 of your report, the column headers for the last two columns should read Jan 06 and Feb 06 (instead of Jan 05 and Feb 05).

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March 23, 2006

Google testing ads at bottom of their SERP

Posted in Category: Work — Amr Awadallah @ 6:06 pm | link | | comments (3)

Sorry for the light blog posting lately, very busy with a couple of projects at Yahoo and exploring G.R.A.W. on the 360.

I grabbed this screenshot from Google’s SERP more than a week ago, I think this is the last change to make the Google SERP look identical to the Yahoo SERP 🙂 (actually Yahoo shows 4 ads in the north in very rare cases, and Google only shows up to 3, though I did see them testing 4 last year).

Google Ads Bottom

Ignore the result numbering (like 9. and 10. for the last two results) that is an artifact of the CustomizeGoogle module (I like numbering for results, and it has an option to add that).

Finally, don’t you guys think that this promotion for Desktop Search is horrible from a UI point of view? it overlaps heavily with the pagination module at bottom of their SERP that you can mistakenly click on it instead of the Next arrow:

Desktop Search promo


— amr

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March 15, 2006

I love to shoot’em between the eyes

Posted in Category: Games — Amr Awadallah @ 5:59 pm | link | | comment (0)

Halo Sniper

“I am looking for them through my 10x scope sniper-rifle, while continuously moving left and right to make it hard for them to snipe me. I spot two of them coming from behind the far tower to the left.

I now have a tough choice to make, I can either go for body shots, which are much easier, but require at least two hits to kill, or I can go for the instant kill head-shot, which is much harder to land. Since there is two enemies, and since my bullets will leave a trail revealing my position, I opt for the head-shots to give the second guy less time to look around and fire at me.

I line up my scope, I focus, I steady my aim, and I get the first moving head within my cross-hair, I fire, he drops. Now the other dude is on to me since he saw the trail of my bullet, he turns around and I can see his visors looking towards me. He fires first, but luckily he misses, and that’s all the time I need to land a head-shot and take him out.

Just when I was about to take a sigh of relief for landing two head-shots, I see my body falling down, I just got wacked from behind, the cycle starts all over again.

This whole hunting scenario takes around 1.5 seconds within Halo, one of the most popular online first person shooter games. The purpose of this little story, besides showing you the dark side of Amr, is to emphasize how critical latency is for online gamers. Unlike doing a web search, or reading your email online, the smallest delay can turn the outcome of an online match upside down. This was the motivator behind my paper entitled “The vMatrix: Equi-Ping Game Server Placement For Pre-Arranged First-Person-Shooter Multiplayer Matches”.

Click here for a nice PowerPoint summarizing the idea I proposed in this paper.

That said, I am really puzzled why I like such killing games. I mean, I never held a rifle in the real world, and would never think about shooting a guy in the body, not to mention the head. Yet, I get an amazing kick out of Halo (its my favorite game by far), is it the visceral feeling of landing such a perfect kill ? Is it the adrenalin rush I get when in a tough situation ? Not sure, all I know is that at the end of a long working day, if I spend 60 minutes playing Halo, I feel much better and I am ready to go to bed 😉

Why do you love killing games ?

— amr

PS: This is a nice Halo l33t sniping video clip: Halo Killing Spree.

You can see a lower quality version for it at YouTube:

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