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Google SideWiki Review - Google Logic Taken To Its Ultimate Conclusion

Google SideWiki"Logical But Flawed" was about the kindest subhead I could use for a Google SideWiki Review; "From The Company That Brought You No Follow" was another that came to mind, as well as "The Death Of Adwords" or even "Google Reaches The Tipping Point". I'll go through each option as I review this very disruptive new introduction to the internet.

To say that the new Google SideWiki has thrown up a s***storm of protest would be an understatement but the development is also entirely logical from the Googlecentric view of the online universe.

There is that old philosophical question, "Does a tree actually fall in the forest if there's no-one there to hear it?". You could paraphrase that to, "Does a beautiful view actually exist if there's no-one there to see it?" or, "Can a book be well written if no-one ever reads it?". In the real world the answer is obviously yes, but to Google something is only of value if it is experienced by others (specifically "others who matter" - the so-called 'authority sites' - the 'quality' of the viewer matters more to Google than the number of people actually doing the viewing).

<- Richard Cranium (geddit?) commenting on Google SideWiki's own home page

That very concept is the basis of Google PageRank - a page is only of value or worth if it is linked to by others. What is actually on the page is of very secondary importance in how pages appear in the search listings. In fact even as recently as 2008 I was able to get completely blank pages ranked #1 in the SERPS just on the basis of incoming link text alone. You can't do that now after the 'Google Link Bombing' update, but the fact that it was ever possible to do it at all shows how deeply flawed the concept of PageRank actually is.

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Microsoft Bing Review

Microsoft Bing home pageMicrosoft's new Bing search engine went live today, replacing both MSN.com and Live.com search (they redirect to the new site) and we took an early look at the new beta to see if it matches up with Microsoft's pre-launch hype.

Our earliest feelings are that Microsoft have really hit the spot this time - Bing.com looks just right and returns exactly the results you'd expect from a serious Google competitor.

First of all, they've taken the notion of Universal Search and then really added to the experience. Google searches always feel corporate clinical where the new Bing results pages look like they've been prepared by people for people.

And it's not just the easy-on-the-eye image intensive look of the whole thing - there's some really innovative new functionality going on under the hood.

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Google Wave - The Ultimate Twitter-Kicker?

section of Google WaveIs the new Google Wave going to call time on Twitter just when that particular Web 2.0 property has become the app to have open on your desktop at all times? I think there's a strong possibility, but only if Google starts to make the much needed changes in its approach to new product marketing that will ensure future success. More on that in a minute.

Don't get me wrong though, I love Twitter as much as anyone, but I've really started to find the whole 140 character restriction thing a bind, even if that's pretty much the point of the exercise.

140 characters; about the same length as a search engine site meta description snippet. It's a great way of practising your Adwords and SEO skills, but it hardly amounts to a conversation, and that's the big problem. Twitter, and the deliberate string length limitation, are tailor made for the SMS/instant-messaging/text-speak-forum-comment mentality where a lot is said, most of it gossip and nothing in any particular detail.

Even those heavy Twitter users who aspire to marketing guru status tend to just post lifestyle comments of pretty limited interest mixed with direct links to their latest blog posts - hardly the cutting edge thinking you'd expect from them.

Overall, it's a pretty thin experience and one that I've quickly tired of - a bit like subsisting on a diet of nachos; tasty initially but you soon long for some real meat.

Enter Google Wave.

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The Great Chrome EULA Conspiracy

Great product - shame about the paperwork

Almost immediately after the launch of Google Chrome a storm started brewing about a part of the user agreement that claimed rights over "any Content which you submit, post or display on or through" the browser. Specifically, the End User Licence Agreement (EULA) claimed "a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."

To say this was broadly worded would be an understatement and indeed, on Wednesday, Google altered the text, leaving those rights in the hands of Chrome's users.

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Google Chrome - First Install

Setup file and desktop icon

Google made their new Chrome browser available for download on Tuesday at http://www.google.com/chrome . It's a two stage install - you download a small setup package off the site which then downloads the rest of the install after you've opened it. All standard stuff, although it's the kind of approach normally used for 50MB+ downloads, not little 7MB packs like this.

So far I've installed this first beta on two machines, a brand new Vista laptop and an aging XP desktop. I'd already got Mozilla Firefox installed on both machines, so during the Chrome install it asked whether it could import all of my various Firefox bookmarks, favorites etc. to get me started off. The laptop had little or nothing to copy over so that bit of the process finished in a blink and I had Chrome up and running in a matter of seconds.

The XP machine was a different matter however...

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Google Chrome Preview

Google Chrome Screenshot

The Google internet browser has been rumored for so long that a few commentators were starting to think that the folks at Mountain View were becoming content to let Firefox gradually take the market, but that was perhaps just wishful thinking. Today's announcement of the new Google Chrome not just tops Internet Explorer (hardly difficult) but answers many, if not most, of the problems that us Foxophiles currently have with our own particular favorite.

At the time of writing we've only got a single screen shot, and the Chrome comic, to show us what to expect, but what we can see looks fantastic. The screen shot doesn't show much but then, as with all things Google, that's not particularly surprising. In a Vista/OS X world, Google has always kept it's offerings looking very minimalistic and that seems to be what people want - "forget how it looks - just look at what it does!".

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