After approving Google’s mega-billion dollar purchase of DoubleClick, the Federal Trade Commission has drafted a set of privacy principles for behavioral targeting in online advertising. The seven page document (PDF) addresses the need for transparency, consumer control of their information, privacy statements, user choice in having their information collected, secure storage of personal info, limited data retention periods, consent to changes in privacy policies, consent to using sensitive personal data in targeted advertising, and non-advertising uses of tracking data.
Enjoy the New Year, starting in a few hours. Until then, check out Yahoo’s New Year logo, done in Flash:
Click the logo on Yahoo.com, and you’ll go to Yahoo’s New Year’s 2008 page.
And Ask.com? They’ve got a bunch of balloons at the top of the page.
Take a good look at the source code for their homepage. If you were paying attention last week, you’ll remember a lot of the same code from the falling snowflakes. Yeah, I’m thinking that it would be a good idea to come back to Ask.com at midnight tonight, see some fun stuff.
Google stock is growing at a great pace, up 52.56% in 2007. However, Apple’s stock has been a market sensation, more than doubling and up 135.53% over the last year. Apple’s stock is so healthy, that Apple’s $174 billion market cap could easily top Google’s $219 billion in 2008. The chart above shows Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and for good (and far less spectacular) measure, Microsoft (MSFT) since Google’s IPO in 2004.
TechCrunch has an overload of charts showing the end-of-the-year numbers for Yahoo and Ask.com.
For Ask, Ask.com’s unique visitors increased for the year by 54%, from 29.8 million in November 2006 to 46 million last month. Ask may still be having market share troubles, but more users means a healthier company that isn’t going away anytime soon.
Ask’s other properties mostly enjoyed decent growth, with search results pages going up from about 20 million to about 30 million, Image Search up 91%, Spain and German up 2063% and 844%, respectively, AskCity up 548%, and the only down properties are Maps (really replaced by AskCity) and Weather (replaced by the same functionality in Ask’s 3D search results). Ask’s new search results are pushing traffic to its search verticals, growing them in a disproportinate way that Google wishes it had.
For Yahoo, TechCrunch had to run two seperate charts, showing the top growing properties and top declining ones, since there are so many. Yahoo’s U.S. properties are mostly on neither list, with small percentage raises (and a few small drops) leaving them stagnant. Yahoo Answers is one major exception, more than doubling its traffic. Yahoo’s biggest success was in Taiwan and Hong Kong, where search was up 7,452% and 6,763%, respectively.
Finally, TechCrunch ran this chart, showing the stagnation of Yahoo Mail and the rise of Gmail:
As you can see, Yahoo Mail went slightly up and down, and finished 3.21% up for the year. On that same page, projections show Gmail topping Yahoo Mail at current growth rates by November 2010. However, that projection assumes you are an idiot, because it also shows Yahoo Mail with the same amount of growth.
Yes, growth is common, but Gmail can’t take over the market completely without Yahoo losing users. Plus, growth never continues forever, especially at rates like this. More likely, Gmail will take some users from Yahoo and Microsoft, both of its competitors will grow slightly, and this war will still be going on well past 2010.
Here’s another video that is rocketing up the charts on YouTube, assisted by a link from Boing Boing. In this video, a guy sings a song backwards while performing some very specifically choreographed movements, then plays the video backwards so you can hear the original song while watching the actions performed in reverse.
Just watch it, dammit:
What an amazing amount of work probably went into this, learning how to sing in a way that would work when reversing the audio, then planning it out and executing it flawlessly. Great job.
Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom has launched her own YouTube Channel, part of a technology makeover the Queen has been undertaking since knighting Bill Gates two years ago and revealing she had never used a computer. The Queen’s YouTube channel, available at youtube.com/theroyalchannel, already contains 19 videos, with the highlights being the Queen’s first televised Christmas address, in 1957, and her first YouTube Christmas address, exactly 50 years later.
The two videos combined have already 1.1 million views, and the channel, with 16,191 subscribers in just the three days since launching, is already the second-most subscribed to channel this month on YouTube. The Royal Channel, which YouTube gladly designed for her for free, is clearly a big hit. Read the article, which contains all sorts of interesting information, including that the White House is developing a YouTube channel of its own.
Besides the Christmas footage, the channel launches with other rarely-seen archival footage, including newsreel footage from the 1923 wedding of George VI and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, and some 1917 footage of Queen Alexandra. In addition, they’ve uploaded three never publicly released films by Lord Wakehurst, showing public reaction to the death of George VI and the Queen’s accession and coronation.
The only real shame is that embedding is disabled, otherwise I’d be able to show you more of it right here.
Two years ago the Queen confessed, while conferring an honorary knighthood on American Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, that she had not yet used a computer.
Since then, however, she has willingly embraced the internet and other major technological advances.
She has a mobile phone, and last year was presented with a six gigabyte iPod by Prince William, allegedly another Facebook fan, on which she reportedly stores the Last Night of the Proms
She allowed her traditional Christmas broadcast to be podcast last year. And, not only has she acquired a BlackBerry, with its instant access to email on the move, but she has equipped all her senior aides with one too on the advice of her most technically savvy son, the Duke of York.
She has also, recently, learned how to email after years of relying on staff to do it for her.
comScore has released statistics on the performance of Google’s various properties over the last year, and TechCrunch provides these handy reference charts.
As always, Google search is the big boy, with Google Images the only other vertical that performs spectacularly. However, strong growth in Google Maps and Gmail mean that the two have a shot of breaking out of the pack and joining those two.
In the third tier are Google News and Google Video, one growing slightly, one sinking slightly. Guess moving around Video and changing its focus every few months hurt Video, though not as much as you’d expect. The fourth tier has Books, Earth and Groups, which enjoyed moderate growth, Scholar, which sank 32% due to neglect, and iGoogle, which exploded and grew over 250%. iGoogle is Google’s success story for the year, which is great news for the struggling personalized homepage product category and Google’s Gadget developer ecosystem.
There are the also-rans at the bottom, including Blog Search, the Google Directory (shockingly still popular than many of the others), Google Talk (most neglected product of the year), Calendar and Finance. Google Product Search is Google’s biggest failure, losing 73% of its users from when it was Froogle. A year ago, Froogle had a good ten million unique visitors and a nice brand name, now it has maybe two million and two generic names. Google killed Froogle, and hurt itself badly with this one.
Missing from this list is another Google success story, Google Reader. This suggests that Reader, while disrupting the RSS market, is too small to make the list, or that comScore screwed up (since we know Reader had a ton of growth). Also: No Google Apps or Google Docs, no Blogger or YouTube or SketchUp or Desktop.
It’s important to note that, of the 17 Google products listed, the only ones being monetized are Web Search (#1), Gmail (#3), Google Maps (#4) and Product Search (to a very small extent). Not making any money are Images (#2), News (#5), Video (#6), Earth (for the most part), Groups, Books, iGoogle, Scholar, and any of the others. Google would love to monetize Images, News and Video, but the amount of content it doesn’t own in there makes it damn near impossible to do so and not get sued.
Here’s today’s Google Doodle holiday logo, the final in the Google Doodle 13 set:
Also, for your enjoyment (or annoyance); it’s Tay Zonday reciting Twas The Night Before Christmas.
Regardless of anything else, I’d put money down that Tay will have a very long career as a voice actor.
(via Steve Garfield)
Google’s AJAX Feed API team has released a PartnerBar, which displays links and headlines from sites in a website network. For example, if you have a blog network, it can display logos of those sites and also grab news headlines from those site’s RSS feeds. Google created it for Entertainment Weekly’s website, and you can see it at the bottom of the page, or a Weblogs Inc. version on the side of the PartnerBar webpage.
(via Dion Almaer > Digg)
While the rest of us were stuck with a cheap 1-gig USB card, Google’s top AdWords advertisers and search engine marketing agencies received the Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder, a pocket video camcorder with 1-gigabyte of internal storage and a 1.5-inch LCD screen. The camera costs $115 at Amazon, so it’s a pretty sweet gift, showing how much Google appreciates their business.
One wonders why everyone else got the USB drive, a huge step down from last year’s photo frame. These days, USB drives are about as ubiquitous and special as floppy disks were ten years ago. I’d rather have gotten a tiny stuffed Google bear, or something cute, than a USB card that doesn’t measure up to other USB drives most people already have lying around.
(via Kevin Heisler)
Google News has smartly added a new section for the biggest news story of 2008 (I’d put money on it), the U.S. Presidential Election*. You can click to get the section from the sidebar on any News page, add an Election section to your personalized News page, read it on the main News page (ranked fourth out of all sections), or add a special Election News Gadget to your iGoogle personalized homepage.
The Gadget is also good for adding to any web page, so here it is:
* - Yes, I’m sure for everyone outside the U.S., the election is either “Who cares?”, or a great opportunity to laugh at this disaster we Americans call a political process.
Google Doodle 13 continues, with this year’s Christmas Doodle being revealed bit by bit. Here’s part 2, from Saturday:
Sunday’s part 3:
And today’s part 4:
Go to Google.com at midnight tonight to see the final logo, or head to the Doodle 13 page if you miss it. Merry Christmas to many, and a good night to all!
Sunday’s logo has a ton of empty space on the right, just so it would be center-aligned. Couldn’t Google have just coded the page to do it, or would that involve too much complicated HTML/CSS?
Yet another U.S. Presidential candidate has spoken at Google as part of its Candidates@Google series, and this time, it is Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, a Democrat:
I liked the commercial they showed at the beginning, so here it is:
Dodd isn’t polling very well, but it’s good to see Google considering every candidate. Even they aren’t going to win, they usually bring something useful to the table.
The major search engines have started running their holiday logos, starting with Google Doodle, Google’s series of Doodles that tells a story. Today, part one of Google Doodle 13:
I’m guessing the guy is firing on top of the logo in order to leave holiday greetings of some sort up there.
Yahoo is running a Flash animated logo, as they have been known to do:
Users who don’t have Flash installed will see this static version:
Ask.com has an animated background, with falling snowflakes. Barry has a screenshot:
Here are the background and foreground images running along the bottom of the screen (they’re seperate so the snowflakes can pass between them:
And here are the five types of snowflakes:
You’d better go to Ask.com and see it in action. It’s not a Flash animation, but rather some smart HTML code that mixes those elements as a natural animation, which is really cool. I read through some of the source code, and apparently it won’t work in IE6, presumably because of features that version of Internet Explorer doesn’t support. There’s even a fix in there specifically for the Opera browser.
Can anyone create a screen recording of the homepage? Gary Price recorded it and uploaded a video. I’ve put it on YouTube:
Finally, from Barry, the Search Engine Roundtable decoration:
And Dogpile’s logo:
Enjoy the holidays, everybody!
If you’re wondering what was popular in 2007, check out Google’s Zeitgeist for the year, where they list the fastest rising searches of the past 12 months. Google doesn’t list the most popular queries, since they don’t change much per year, and they usually feature the names of companies Google might not like so much, so instead they feature the queries that have risen in popularity the most.
The search of the year was “iPhone”, with Apple’s breakthrough semismartphone capturing the interest of the most searchers, both in the U.S. and internationally. Other queries successful both here and abroad were Youtube” (#6 internation, #5 U.S.), Facebook (#3, #9), Webkinz (stuffed animals linked to an online community, #5, #2), and Club Penguin (Disney’s online virtual world, #10, #6).
Some terms were only popular in the U.S., with the rest of the world not caring as much about TMZ, Transformers, MySpace, Heroes, and especially Anna Nicole Smith. And seriously, did anyone really care that much about Anna Nicole either, except the news media? Terms that were popular with the rest of the world, but not the United States: Badoo (a London-based social network), DailyMotion (France-based video site, third most popular after YouTube and YouPorn), eBuddy (instant messenger), virtual world Second Life and social network hi5.
You can see that this year was truly the year gossip found its home on the internet, as the gossip blog/news website overtook the traditional supermarket tabloid as the primary source of celebrity dirt. Internationally, this year all sorts of social networks and video sites found an audience, proving that Facebook, MySpace and YouTube have plenty of competition all over the world.
Unlike regular search, Google News did list the most popular queries, which included YouTube, Britney Spears (what a year she had!), Chris Benoit, the iPhone, Anna Nicole Smith and Vanessa Hudgens. Hudgens was also the fastest rising search in the third quarter of the year, proving nothing’s as popular on the internet as naked pictures of young stars.
In the political arena, Ron Paul was the most searched about candidate, owing to his small but dedicated supporter base. Paul seems to get three times as many searches as the next most popular candidate, Hillary Clinton, which would seem to indicate that his supporters are becoming quite adept at getting their candidate to the top of any chart. Oddly, Republican front-runner Rudy Giuliani was in tenth place, getting less search interest than even Joe Biden and Bill Richardson.
Most popular sports team? The Boston Red Sox. Most popular touring music act? Hannah Montana. Most popular TV show? Heroes. Most popular movie? Transformers.
Despite its ridiculous hype, the Nintendo Wii didn’t overtake the Xbox 360 in searches until last month (while Sony’s PS3 flat-lined):
HD DVD beat Blu-Ray. LCD TVs beat plasma. iTunes was the most popular music software, followed by Limewire (guess people still want to be sued), followed distantly by Bit Torrent (I’ve noticed how many people just still don’t know how to use torrents). The most popular ringtone was the mosquito ringtone, the high frequency sound that kids can hear, but adults can’t.
Google also lists some of the top questions people asked the search engine. “Who is god” topped the “Who” list, with “Who is satan” at the bottom (there is hope, after all!), “What is RSS” was popular (not sure if that’s good or bad), and a shocking number of people want to learn how to crochet.
Comedy Central runs this end-of-the-year comedy special called “Last Laugh”, where the comedians make fun of the top news of the last year. The message always seems to be that the past year was the worst year in human history. I’m not sure that 2007 qualifies as worst ever, though the focus on celebrity gossip this year was distressing. Hopefully next year will be all about the presidential election, and the world can focus on items of actual importance.
That, or Tara Reid will die, and it’ll be Anna Nicole Smith all over again.
Google has added a OneBox that shows you flight status if you enter a flight number into the search box. If someone you know is on a plane, just enter the airline name/code and flight number, and you’ll get the full details of the flight, including when it is expected to land and if it’s delayed today. Just like Google did with package tracking numbers, they’re now making it easier to enter in all sorts of information, right into Google, and get the answers you seek.
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