Google Authorship is the Obi-Wan Kenobi of search

Let’s play Devil’s Advocate a minute.

Google has said it will “stop showing authorship in search results.”. It has not said that it will stop using what it has learned about authorship to impact rankings.

Over the past few years, it has registered a huge range of major publishers in one form or another and you can imagine it has gathered a lot of useful data. Its map of where writing comes from and how authors behave is more complete than ever.

Like moths to a flame, every SEO and their content-marketing best friend has splurged out rel=author in the hope it would positively affect their rankings. The issue with something so visible is that it immediately tempts manipulation.

Google must realise it doesn’t need to know about the long tail of EVERY author, just important authors. It has them. In the announcement it also reaffirmed its commitment to structured markup, the long time future of a more organised web and the area authorship fit into.

This isn’t a Google+ story, as many have tried to make it. It’s an interesting example of user experience vs ranking factors. Making authorship a visible element in search results was not an improvement – so Google has removed it. But I don’t believe that it has turned its back on better understanding sources and producers of content vs the simple pages they generate.

Like Obi-Wan, the corporeal form of authorship may have been struck down — but if the data so far has made it more valuable to Google as a ranking factor, it may have become even more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

September 5th, 2014


A different path to Inbox Zero

New Gmail got me thinking:

Alongside archive/ action, now there’s a third, lower maintenance option: scan the subject lines. They say decreasing decision fatigue helps you concentrate on the things that matter — and I think the new Gmail represents a step in that direction. Nagging notifications are dismissed just by viewing tab.

July 23rd, 2013


Glass Half Empty

From my latest on Medium:

Smartphones rose to power because they took a device you always had with you and crammed it full of extra value. These portable computers used the ‘phone’ concept as a trojan horse at just the right time of mobile data, miniaturisation and social networks. Before long, most people will have smartphones without even thinking about it.

But they also only impact you at the point of consumption. Until you take it out of your pocket, it’s out of sight and out of mind. Like your watch, these inventions are hidden but just a ‘click’ away when required – like menus in web design.

Glass is different. It’s always there, ready to notify you or leap into search. But there’s a price: it sits there benignly on your face all day every day, whether you’re using it or not.

Read the rest here

May 21st, 2013


Google Zero: the answer to the backlash

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about how Google is no longer the company it used to be – for example this ridiculous article by Danny Sullivan on paid inclusion last month.*

From its search page design to the nature of Google+ to what it’s ‘Don’t be evil’ slogan means today, it’s coming under the kind of flack that massive brands eventually always do.

But at the same time, I think it’s a company that has navigated a lot of these challenges with impressive grace. Quite apart from burying (or everything but?) it’s head in the sand like Apple, it seems to confront these threats with a powerful cultural tool: transparency.

(more…)

June 17th, 2012


What is Google Findy?


What have I Foundy?

Google’s little secret

I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t have much more to ask here than the question: What is Google Findy?

I stumbled upon it during a recent search but strangely it isn’t on GoogleBing or Yahoo anywhere.  Perhaps it’s just linked to The Scottish Business and Entrepreneurship Awards but that seems unlikely too…

(more…)

April 20th, 2010


Why the Nexus is not “just another Android phone”

Okay, let’s make this clear: The Nexus is just another Android phone.

However, it’s one that Google have thrown the full weight of their marketing effort behind. Bear in mind these guys don’t hold press events for the opening of every envelope- the last big one announced Google Wave and that was only as part of a larger Google I/O gathering.

Furthermore, Google are notorious long-game thinkers. They gradually manoeuvre their way around the industry, insidiously implanting the importance of their products into your everyday lifestyle. It’s viral.

(more…)

January 6th, 2010


Does Android Dream of Electric Waves?

WaveDroidSince its announcement two years ago, Google’s Android platform has had a bit of an underwhelming start, at least until the last few months when the new HTC Hero handsets seem to have provided a proper backdrop to do it justice.

The platform itself has been bouncing along its Cupcake development branch and the 1.5 update offered a bevy of new improvements in much the same way that companies traditionally do. However, when it comes to features that place it noticeably head and shoulders above the competition, Android has been rather lacking.

Perhaps Flash is a killer feature for some but it’s not the revolution one might hope for.

Google Wave, on the other hand, could be.   (more…)

September 18th, 2009


Where do you keep your Chromium?

cloudQmarkWho knows, Chrome OS could finally be the missing link that brings Linux into the big time but I’m interested is how the ecosystem will grow around it.

Surely Google will release some kind of Skydrive where you can store your content, freeing up space inside those tiny netbooks but will it be free or a pay service like Picasa Web Albums currently provides.

Answers on a postcard please.

July 10th, 2009