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How Google Can Increase Chrome Market Share?

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Not an easy task to increase Google Chrome's market share. But one thing that they sure should contemplate upon is making it mandatory for use inside Googleplex. Noticed a visitor from the Sitemeter readings today -

Knol - It's NOT the end for Wikipedia

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Google recently announced that they shall be launching a new tool called Knol. Knol, which Google refers to as the 'unit for knowledge' shall let users write on topics they are authoritative on, and this will collectively be a whole new 'encyclopedia', much like Wikipedia.

Why's Google doing this?

That's not difficult to decipher, is it? According to a recent study, over 25 percent of the times, Wikipedia appears on the first search result page of Google. Google just loves Wikipedia. But then, all of this traffic is just wasted away by directing to a different website and hence is not monetizable. By redirecting all this traffic who are looking for information to one of Google's own websites, this whole chunk of users can be monetized.

Is it the end of Wikipedia?

Many websites have already announced the beginning of the end of Wikipedia. But, in my opinion, it is quite clearly unlikely. Why? Here's why:


Wikipedia was not built in a day. It has been here since 2001, and it will be a long while before Knol can prduce something similar


Wikipedia is the knowledge of the masses, Knol is of one particular authority. Authority pages are not something new. Even article submitter websites like EzineArticles.com rely on expert authors for content. While search engine ranking shall not be a problem for Knol, credibility will be. And this credibility will be one deciding factor in favour of Wikipedia any day.


Wikipedia was just for the content part. Till today, webmasters do not mind linking to Wikipedia simply because it is a Not-for-profit site, and people trust it, very much knowing that it is not always accurate. Knol is more like Ezinearticles. And like Ezinearticles, Knol too shall be a website traffic builder and possible money-maker and will only invite contributors of the same kind.

All said and done, by the time Knol starts to make an impression, Wikipedia will be close to a decade of operation, and it will be much more than what it is today.

Three reasons why Yahoo should not partner with Google - An advertiser's perspective

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If you cannot face an enemy, become his ally. That's exactly what Yahoo is trying to do. If the recent rumours are to be believed, Yahoo might give up its paid search advertising to partner with Google to do it for them. It is a deja vu of sorts for Yahoo who had snapped their partnership with Google years back to start their own search engine.

Why's Yahoo doing this?
In fact, this is one of the cleverer decisions from Yahoo's point of view. Adwords IS the most dominant of online advertising programs and YPN has always come way behind Adwords in competition. This step will help Yahoo boost up its numbers. Let me take hypothetical numbers to explain this: Suppose I need to advertise on both Adwords and YPN. Because Adwords is huge, and I also have more people bidding on my keyword here, I might be bidding at $10 for my keyword, while at YPN, due to lesser competition, I might only pay $5. So, simplifying the calculations, Yahoo might make only $5 at the max from this advertising.

Now, Yahoo is a huge site by itself. So, Google shall give Yahoo a much better deal than it would to any other Adsense partner. So, now with Google ads on Yahoo, Yahoo might just make $6 or $7 from the earlier $5. It is a better deal considering they are also not taking care of the ads inventory and the related cost now.

Why it's going to affect me?

1. Google Monopoly
Google is already a clear market leader in this segment. Now with Yahoo partnering Google, it shall move into a much higher reach. As an advertiser, I might just not find the right variety of options to choose. Google still has competition, but then this partership will always mean more dominance.

2. Possible Ad-Price increase
For a moment, let us assume the advertisers at YPN to be mutually exclusive to their Adwords counterparts. With this partnership in place, the YPN advertisers have to move to one of the other existing options. If not Google, they will be moving to others like Microsoft adCenter. Eitherways, peer-competitios is going to increase amongst advertisers on each of these ad networks. Since in all these networks, pricing is based on bids, increasing competition means more pressure towards a price increase. Definitely not something I would want.

3. Potential increase in partnerships for Google
Point 2 suggests that Google could actually be increasing its profit margin per click with this partnership in place. This also means as an Adsense publisher, I might stand to get more earnings per click. That stands not just for ordinary publishers, but to the other big websites too. Probably Digg might get back to Google now!. This shall give more dominance to Google, which might shoot the prices further.

As you see, it is clearly going to create many more partnerships in Google's favour. As I see now, it is going to be a nice thing to happen for an Adsense publisher. But if you want to advertise, it is going to be all the more harder!


Google "Smartads" on Mobiles?

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Last week, Nokia announced that they were acquiring the multimedia sharing website Twango. Twango is a website where you may share all the pictures, videos, audios from your cellphones or digital cameras with your family and friends through a blog, website or a discussion forum. This was probably for the first time that a Mobile handset maker had laid hands on a Web 2.0 company. In fact, Nokia had supposedly had a look at 70 probably candidates before rounding upon Twango. Well, this is just the flavor of the season as many big companies have started expanding their customer reach by taking to 3G for the next level of revenue growth.

Now, the news is just coming out from WSJ that Google is courting Mobile handset makers for a GPhone. This handset will help Google push mobile users to use Google apps on their phones and also set a platform for serving more and more ads to mobile users.

Smartads for Mobile phones?

Yahoo introduced the patent-pending Smartads as the way to provide the most personalized ads to a customer. This was based on his activities on the different microsites of Yahoo. Now, with GPhone, Google can really be taking the alternative route for personalization. This is because Google has already patented a technology that provides local search on mobile phones based on GPS-based technology.

With internet on mobile becoming more pervasive, Google's marketing strategy would revolve around pushing the customer to use mobile technology for localized searches (say the restaurants, beauty parlor, etc) and the web for more globalized searches. This would really give Google an upper hand against Yahoo and the other traditional rivals.

So, is Google moving out of web to counter Yahoo? No. Google is still the leader when it comes to search on the web. It might not be very long before Google introduces a technology to counter the Smartads. But, with mobile phones still being a largely untapped market, the future leadership might just be on the side of the company that makes early inroads here.


Is Wikipedia a vulnerable tool for propoganda?

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Wikipedia is the most celebrated example for success in Search Engine Optimization. There are hundreds of thousands of keywords that get a link to Wikipedia on the top 5 search results on Google. This being the case, Wikipedia holds tremendous clout on what internet users read and perceive.

Though it does not make financial nor commercial sense for companies to use Wikipedia for customer's perception about the company's and their competitor's products, Wikipedia still remains widely vulnerable to attack from the different intelligence agencies on political issues. Recently, Slashdot published an article on a Wikipedia admin who was found to be a former investigator of Britain's MI5. This raises questions on how much vulnerable Wikipedia is to propogate distorted information.

Where is the problem?

The problem lies in the very nature of the internet and in the way Wikipedia chooses its administrators. All one requires to become an admin on the Wikipedia network is a dedicated contribution is addition and edition of articles on Wikipedia. Such Wikipedians can then be chosen admins on request and approval. All along, the admin remains anonymous and there is no way out but to take the information that he provides at face value.

Can the problem be solved?

It is humanly impossible to manage the huge database that Wikipedia is. Hundreds of thousands of modifications happen everyday that Wikipedia cannot afford a centralized contol of information and has to rely on the admins and the approval of co-admins to the decisions taken by each of the admins.

However, a background of the admins, atleast for the policitally sensitive articles needs to be known. For this, Wikipedia needs to categorize the pages as politically sensitive or not. This can be quite easily achived by asking the very readers to rate it as sensitive or not. Such pages alone may be edited by only those admins who have provided their background and other information like the Social Security Number etc. This will help provide more unbiased editing of such articles.

Can companies use it for propoganda

Given the current scenario, can companies use it as a propoganda tool? Could Enron have used Wikipedia to tell people that nothing was their fault? Yes for reasons already said, but it is also commercially unviable. Firstly, an effective propoganda can be made only if there are quite a few admins from 'your side' who can approve of each others' actions. Repeated attempts by an admin to propogate false information can lead to his banning from other admins. Secondly, the exercise is not a one-time effort. Companies requires the admins to be dedicatedly work as long as the propaganda needs to stay. In case of companies that are looking to exist to the future, such a means is financially unviable and serves little purpose as the propaganda if exists can still be made news through other channels of communication.

On an ending note, here is an interview of Mathias Schindler, a Wikipedia admin that can give insights on the job of an admin.

Del.icio.us - Is Yahoo getting anything out of this?

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It is one and a half years since Yahoo acquired Del.icio.us, the online bookmarking service. Any acquisition goes with a long term business strategy. At most times, one of the primary reason for the acquisition of a company is to integrate the users of both the services. Other times, it is to leverage the audience of the acquired company through ads on the site. Now that sufficient time has passed since the acquisition of one of internet's most loved websites, it makes sense to introspect into what benefits has Yahoo gained out of this acquisition.

Undeciphered Reasons
Frequent users of Del.icio.us will vouch for the fact that one reason why Del.icio.us is best is because they have absolutely no ads on their pages. This makes it a pure utility website. That also means Yahoo is not monetarily gaining too much out of this acquisition.

Yahoo is yet to integrate Del.icio.us to Yahoo. Users of Yahoo and Del.icio.us still have different usernames for the two websites. So, Yahoo is yet to decipher how many of the users of these two websites are common and how many new users they have added as a result of this acquisition.

Google's happy
Does this acquisition get Yahoo any closer to Google? No. In fact, ever since Del.icio.us made it to the internet scene, Google has been able to get more relevant results thanks to the concept of tagging on Del.icio.us. Not that Google would have not got better results otherwise, but a huge directory of tagged links to numerous webpages does indeed help. Yahoo too has been able to use this to get search results closer, but nothing more than what Google probably has got. It is after all Yahoo's property.

What can be done?
This blog post comes close on the heels of the launch of SmartAds by Yahoo. SmartAds are aimed at providing more personalized ads to the Yahoo users. Traditionally, when a user searches for a keyword, "Apple" (say), the keyword is taken at face value while delivering the ads. So in this case, it could be a mixture of ads on Apple computers as well as the fruits.

SmartAds tends to infer more about the user through his activity on other Yahoo products, like Yahoo Finance, Sports, Music, etc. So,if Yahoo infers that you follow the stock of Apple computers at Yahoo Finance, the ads that relate to Apple Computer Stocks is displayed thus getting you the most relevant ads.

Yahoo can leverage Del.icio.us for the first time with SmartAds. By learning what kind of webpages a user likes to bookmark, a great deal of information can be unearthed. Added to this, SmartAds will also enable Yahoo to infer why a person is bookmarking a particular page for. If a user is storing a webpage on 'Weather in Mumbai', it can either be because he is interested in Mumbai or the weather. Tags("Weather" or "Mumbai") can greatly help Yahoo interpret the same webpage in different aspects for different users.

Del.icio.us is a goldmine waiting to be tapped. Unlike Google, which wastes no time in integrating user-ids of its hot properties with its existing user base, Yahoo has so far not done it with respect to Del.icio.us. Allowing users to login to Del.icio.us with their Yahoo ids is the primary step in this direction.


Is it the end of the road for FeedReaders in India?

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"If you are in India and can use internet, you have to have an orkut account" - this is an unwritten rule. Almost everyone in India (a lot many below 18 years of age as well, which is against the T&C) has an orkut account. That is why orkut is now the second most visited website in India after Yahoo.

Today, orkut launched a new feedreader feature in orkut. This allows you to add blog and website feeds you follow so that you may directly read these feeds from orkut.

Does this mean that with the launch of this feature, it is virtually the end of the road for the feedreaders in India?

RSS Awareness

One huge pro that I see with the introduction of this feature is the awareness about RSS to the common internet surfer. For all the hype around how simple internet has become after RSS, a majority of them do not know or use RSS. It is still the tech-savvy users who still use feed readers. Now that people will come to know that you can read blogs via orkut, the awareness about feed syndication is going to proliferate.

Are Feed Readers out?

As the existing bloggers promote their friends in orkut to follow their blog via the feedreader, I see the general readership increasing for blogs. But, we should remember that while people add feeds, they might not actually follow them. This could turn out to be another feature like the orkut communities where not everyone frequents though everyone on orkut has quite a list of communities subscribed to.

The bottom line however is that this feature WILL increase the awareness about RSS feeds. There are quite a good number of feedreaders on the web today that are way better than what orkut has to offer that the introduction of this feature shall only open up the gates for many more people to subscribe to the other popuar feedreaders.

This then boils down to the feedreaders which rank top on the Search Engines and on the word-of-mouth. Because these are the two avenues the new feed reader will use to find a feedreader which is better than what orkut has to offer.


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