Monthly Archives: February 2007

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Google wants to sell you tickets

Check out the query chicago cubs on Twingine. Of the organic web results, 5 out of 10 of Google results are ticket sellers. Are they presuming tickets provide diversity for a query that doesn’t include the word ‘ticket’?

What do Yahoo, Google and Bill Clinton have in common?

Q: What do Yahoo and Google have in common with Bill Clinton?
A: Yahoo and Google are moving to the center.

The common feeling used to be that Yahoo used an editorial staff to help searchers by showing shortcuts and various content feeds; whereas Google used to be algorithmically driven web results without editorial intervention (not exactly true, but that was the perception they wanted people to have).

Now look at them.
Yahoo removed their Inside Yahoo results, probably to highlight the Panama-driven sponsored results. Try Paul Newman and you’ll see Image results, but no pointer to Yahoo’s own content on him like there used to be.

Google on the other hand is showing refinement options for health and drug queries, like aspirin. But the interesting point is that these query refinements are generated from a standardized, editorially-created vocabulary. Try a few searches for medical conditions and you’ll see the same topic refinements being shown each time. Also, Google changed from providing only one result for URL queries like to now having a full result set like Yahoo’s been doing.

So the ranking of the web results are very similar in quality. The indexes are different enough the deeper you dig, but for most searches both companies have large enough indexes to satisfy queries. The UIs are slowly congealing to the same compromise of simplicity mixed with a little bit of extras. As the engines continue towards centrism, what’s differentiating them?

Where’s Inside Yahoo?

Hey, where’d Inside Yahoo go? Now when I type in my favorite queries, like Britney Spears and Mission Impossible, I don’t get any Inside Yahoo listings anymore. I just get boring old web and sponsored results. Boohoo.

Well, at least shortcuts are still around for some queries, like San Francisco movie times.

Is this a way to differentiate the visual presentation of ads now that Panama has launched?

For those who don’t know, Inside Yahoo links were those links that took users to Yahoo properties. So for a music query you’d go to the artist’s page on Yahoo Music; for a movie title you’d go to the Yahoo movies page. Personally I often found those pages useful, though they did clutter the SERP.