Archive for category Real Time Search

Is Christmas Online December 27th?

You know, I find myself wondering lately, how much business is done online in the days after Christmas.  Everyone knows that there are a lot of returns made on gifts that just aren’t right or don’t actually fit.  What happens with all that exchange money?  Certainly a lot of it is used in-store at the time of the exchange, but that can’t be all of it.

And what about all the Christmas cash and gift cards?  Do people make a bee-line exactly where they know something they want is?  Or do they just look around for a while to find the best deal they can on anything that interests them?  On occasion, search engines have used seasonally specific searching features, so is it possible that they’re going to need something that helps people find the best sale associated with your chosen keywords?

I’m afraid that I don’t have any worthwhile answers to this, but it’s certainly worth thinking about.  We all know that the Internet is used a lot for conducting business, so why shouldn’t it be part of the big After Christmas sales?  I know that, if I get some Christmas cash, I’m probably going to spend it in online purchases.

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Everyone Should Hate Spam

Anyone who maintains a blog has seen comments come in that look like they might not actually have anything to do with what you’re talking about.  “Hey, you should try this thing I found on http://www.website.com” ring a bell for anyone?  I realize I haven’t talked about this in a while, but it’s on my mind today and I thought I’d share a few things on the matter.

For starters, anyone who actually wants their clients to do well should avoid spamming whenever possible – if a search engine tumbles to the fact that spam is being used, they’ll penalize the site that’s benefiting from it in any number of ways including removing them from a search listing entirely (the searching equivalent of capital punishment, for those who don’t think spam’s a serious matter).

It gets even trickier with the rise of social media in the online community.  People are actually using Facebook and the online games connected with it than Google and all of its subsidiary sites.  That must seem like a ripe field for black hat operators ready to do just about anything to promote their clients.  Even for the rest of us it presents a very treacherous path to walk that can easily see you sliding off into the abyss.  Learning what to look for in your own efforts is the first and possibly most important step in cleaning out the spam from your own content.

Sadly, there isn’t a whole lot you can do beyond that and just clearing your spam filter every so often so that it isn’t stacked up.  I wonder, does a link that’s stored in a spam folder still count towards the ranking of the site to which it sends you?  That would be one for the various search engines to answer, I suppose, but I still don’t want to have them just sitting there in my account.

The interesting thing, though, is that you can now get spam on your smart phone, so that there’s no waking moment when you aren’t at risk of a polluted Internet.  As soon as you open it to your homepage, you’re going to find yourself faced with a lot of links that have nothing to do with what you’re after and some that may even offend your values.  All in the name of helping some company do better online.

As search engine optimizers, it’s perfectly natural that we should want to help our clients be more visible online.  It’s even right, because that’s what they’re paying us for.  But it should never be done at the expense of the people we’re trying to get to go to our client’s with their business.  If you’ll forgive me a Star Wars analogy, black hat techniques are “quicker, easier, more seductive” but in the end will leave your clients looking all rotten and gross, cackling “good, good” whenever someone launches another spam campaign on their behalf.

That doesn’t ultimately do anyone any good.

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Smart Sat-Phone: Yes And No

Well, you can’t fault AT&T for offering their clients more products.  Even so, it sure seems like they’re putting out second rate material in the process.  On Tuesday, they released their new smart phone, the TerreStar Genus, which has some satellite phone capabilities.  They’re marketing it under the banner of providing coverage absolutely anywhere in the United States, even where there are no cell towers available for use – doing so with all the capabilities expected of smart phones.

However, there’s a big problem with it as well:  there’s only one satellite on this phone’s network.  That means that anyone trying to use it outside of normal cell coverage has to make sure that they have a direct, unimpeded line of sight between them and that one satellite, even though it’s so far away they’ll never actually see it.  Most likely they plan to launch more satellites in the future; but there’s no mention of that in the article, so it’s anybody’s guess when there will be more of them in the sky.

Setting aside how unreliable the satellite capability is, making a hybrid satellite/smart phone actually is a good idea.  Having limitations on where you can enjoy all the benefits of modern phone technology is a problem that countless people have experienced just by finding themselves outside the range of any cell towers at an inconvenient moment.  It may well be that someday we’ll be using our smart phones exclusively on satellite networks.

However, that raises another issue as well.  At what point will we become so dependent on our smart phones that we’re back to square one in terms of having a digital service watching everything we do and quietly violating our right to privacy?  Or perhaps losing our ability to look up more than just an anecdotal amount of information about anything?  We’ve already run the gauntlet on both of these at least once because of powerful search engines, so what would happen if we could check “anything” from anywhere in the globe rather than have to take the time to actually do some digging of our own?

I’m afraid I don’t have an answer on that one.  Even though Harrisburg University ran its test to see how its students would do for a whole week without social media through any of their computers, that doesn’t even begin to approach the level of change that could be brought about by irrevocably tying your cell phone and the Internet no matter where you are.

It could well be that the benefits will far outweigh any negative aspects that come about as a result.  It could be that this is going to be the event that finally brings about the technological dystopia of which so many Twentieth century authors wrote.  We’ll just have to wait for a service with more satellites in its network in order to find out.

But a question that everyone ought to be asking themselves when they look at buying one, or just any new smart phone, is how much they’re willing to deal with someone watching them while they’re doing their online business with their cell phones.  Once upon a time, everyone would get up in arms over the prospect of a phone call being “recorded for quality assurance”.  Nowadays that’s standard practice in one form or another for just about everything done through communications technology.  If satellite-based smart phones do prove to be the wave of the future, there will be practically no avoiding being recorded and followed by the Big Brothers of the Internet.

Recently both Google and the U.S. government have been accused of spying on people in the name of maintaining some sort of quality control, but perhaps they’re not the only ones who find the line blurry over what’s OK and what isn’t.  The problem with having everything networked together is that we’re all suddenly living in glass houses whether we like it or not, even though we can’t actually see into other people’s lives as easily as some can see into ours.

Ultimately, people need to stop and think about how much access to the rest of the world they need and how much they’re willing to give someone else – maybe someone they’ll never be aware of – access to them.  What would you do with a smart satellite phone?

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Google and Apple Apps: Real Time Search More Prevalent

The App wars between Google and Apple have taken new heights, and that’s to be expected seeing how these two fierce competitors are producing a tech-crazed revolution that has swept all corners of the globe. If you’re not familiar with what an App is, it’s simply this: they are small software applications designed specifically for iPhones, some smart phones, and more recently, the Droid. These applications can run anywhere from free to thousands of dollars. There are even apps that show you how to create apps. It’s an incredible thing that has taken on a life of its own, and anyone with basic programming knowledge can make one.

Whether you’re looking for directions to a local restaurant or you need a flash light in really dark places, there’s an app for that. The possibilities literally are endless, but what does it mean for us? Simply this: apps are a new thing to move us further into the future and it is changing the way the Internet is used. It’s also making the Internet a little more obsolete each day (sounds like an oxymoron but bear with me). When you can have the power of the Internet and certain nuances of the Internet at the tips of your fingers, then what’s the point of having the Internet in your home in the first place.

Is there a clear winner in the App wars between Apple and Google?  Currently, no; but more to be discovered later. Both produce apps for all walks of life, while the operating systems run off the same channel.  Apps are a science and they’re only as good as the system it’s used on. Whether it’s a Google App or an Apple App, one thing’s for sure: they’re still going at it with one another to get the edge, all the while designing Apps that are useful to followers (no matter what phone it’s on).

In a previous blog I mentioned real time search on smart phones is becoming more and more relevant and that remains to be the truth and nothing but the truth, considering both these phones are creating apps to be search friendly, giving you alerts when something happens. In an information-crazed society, this is huge.

Information at the speed of light is a powerful thing and in a hustle and bustle world, it becomes far more important to have information you can have access to without waiting to get home.  It goes beyond that, though. The App wars aren’t just based on “friendly” competition; it’s about creating user-friendly apps that are useful to society that can be accessed from the convenience of XYZ.

Google’s Apps appear to be headed toward more longevity since the dominant company’s rule a large portion of the Internet. Is there a correlation between real time search results and the name Google, or more specifically Google Apps?  Yes. It would be foolish not to think that’s not the case. Prepare for inaccuracies in search results.  These Apps very well could change the way we search permanently—and dare I say which hours we should search.  That could be a stretch, but given the multitudes of search avenues (including particular Apps), we can’t rule out that idea.

Apple appears to be losing the App race (brought on by bad phone parts press) but name recognition alone will get it back on track.  That’s not to say Google has the leg up.  Relatively new in the App making world, they still have some catching up to do, but like any successful business, they will find a way to catch up.

Will we see a winner soon?

No.

Will we see a change in how we search from now on?

Yes.

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Real Time All The Time

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the heated competition between Droid X and iPhone 4.  While iPhone 4 is still working through a few minor kinks and the Droid X yet to come, the jury is still out.  Both phones are, at least to the standard of technology today, state of the art.  The original Droid tried to mimic the iPhone and the iPhone was just the iPhone. The smartphone wars going on between Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint don’t seem to have a clear winner as of yet, but it certainly becomes interesting when we see how the Droid X really does when it’s released.

But what do these smart phones truly mean for its users?  It simply means this: we as users are being used as a test pool for real time search.  Technology is getting faster and faster, and smarter and smarter.  It’s also allowing us to do more with the browser on our phones today than at this point last year.  With the implementation of Facebook and Twitter on your smartphone you can relay information anywhere you want. While this concept isn’t new, it’s refined.  Refined in such a way that the speed is quicker and the tools are more enhanced to allow us to do more with what we have—and faster, too.

Twitter and Facebook are great, but it doesn’t compare to being able to surf the Internet at quick speeds.  Find a restaurant in the middle of nowhere or search movie times when you want to catch a movie at the spur of the moment. Your options are limitless when it comes to have a highly sophisticated smartphone, but with great power comes great responsibility.

As the sale of smartphones go up, so too does the use of mobile Internet.

What does this mean to you?

It simply means real time search is real.  Many SEO experts claim real time search is overrated and that only newsworthy items apply to this.  Not anymore.  The science of it makes sense.  It’s far more convenient for people to search the Internet when they’re out and about because they can.  No more booting up computers or dealing with connectivity issues.

This isn’t to say there’s still no value in searching from your computer.  It’s still important and it’s still necessary, but we simply can’t ignore the cards that technology has dealt us. Smartphones are here to stay.  There’s no disputing that and real time search is more of a reality than people think.

It’s now more crucial to understand the market in a different way.

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