Archive | January 21, 2011

Google flexes its muscles against online spam

If you believe many search results from Google are overloaded with spam and crappy websites, you are not alone. Finally, Google gets to pay some attention and, through Matt Cutts, the big boss in Google Search Quality Team announces that it will tweak its ranking algorithms to eliminate some of the most annoying spam websites.

In his today blog post, Matt Cutts admits the spam issue (while also gloating that Google does a good job at detecting it) and discloses some high level actions Google will take. Among these actions we’ll see a new document-level classifier that will better detect when an article is intended as a spam – repeated words which serve as over-optimization to rank higher in the search engines, automated blog comments (this really brings me pleasure, you have no idea how many spam comments I need to delete every day) and also a better detection of hacked sites.

Google will also tweaks its algorithms to better detect sites copying somebody else’s content which seem to thrive lately and also to detect “content farms”, websites that are full of material which is both low quality and also keyword stuffed, designed to rank high in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

Matt also said that new ways for users to interact with Google and report spammy websites will be provided (Google Webspam Report extension for Chrome being one of these venues). Let’s just hope a physical person is behind and check these reports, otherwise I can foresee a war between various competitor websites declaring everybody else as a spammy site 😉

via Google Blog

Vudu 2.0 takes off to your nearby media streamer, PS3 and Boxee Box among the first

In an expected move, VUDU announced that their latest and greatest user interface version 2.0 goes live through today to many connected devices including PS3, Boxee Box and other VUDU enabled TV sets and connected Blu-ray players. The next in lines are VIZIO and Samsung devices.

Among the new features you can find a faster access to content and a recommendation engine based on past renting history. The only problem however is that since VUDU is different than Netflix because it requires to pay for each movie viewed, the past history will presumably will be much shorter than on Netflix with less information for VUDU recommendation engine to process. That being said, my PS3 and Boxee Box (full review here) just got better.

PS3 users also get to control VUDU via their MOVE device, although it will look rather awkward trying to point your ball at your TV. Same, to be honest as it looks trying to your Kinect to control Netflix on XBOX 360. For some reason, a universal remote control just works better for me.

Jump after the break for VUDU 2.0 Gallery.

via VUDU

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Google strikes back with Google Offers, will Groupon empire fall?

If you can’t beat them, try to buy them. If that doesn’t work either, pour some money and try to beat them again. At least, this seems to be Google’s algorithm when dealing with competition. Last year, Google wanted to get involved in the highly lucrative market of product offers and coupons and tried to buy Groupon, a company specializing in local deals. the offer was huge, as big as $6 billion but for some reason Groupon’s owners didn’t bulge.

As a result, Google will launch its own coupon / deals site called “Google Offers”. The new website will pretty much have the same kind of deals Groupon currently offers including local deals on restaurant meals, shopping, etc coming happily to your email box daily. The social component will also be added to the soup and you’ll be able to use Google Buzz, Twitter, Facebook and others to share the deals with friends / family. Read More…