Monday, January 11, 2010

Google Sites

There are many host and application providers, who lets you create your site for free. But the glitch in using those is, you have to host your site on their server or use their Banner. Their Banner will reveal that you have created your site using their software/application, which is quite embarrassing for any business.

Now, Google is offering you to create your sites via Google Sites, which is a free and easy way to create webpages, as well as embed documents, pics, and Videos. Not only that there is a template gallery for Sites; when you create a new site, you can now select a template which you can further customize according to your needs. Available templates cover a wide selection of specific needs; you’ll find one for schools, weddings, families, clubs, restaurants, projects and more.

Apart from templates, it also offers Automatic site Translation. Visitors to your Google Site with a different language setting than your site can hit the translate button on the bottom right of the page to translate the whole site to the language of their choice

You can set a default location for a page template. This makes it simpler for you to keep the pages of your site organized. For example, if you have a recipe template in your family site, set /recipes/ as default location for pages created from that template so all your recipes show up together within your site.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Google Now Scanning RSS, Atom Feeds, May Experiment with Real-Time Protocols in Future

According to a post on Google's Webmaster Central blog, Google is now discovering web sites by automatically scanning RSS and Atom feeds. This new process will help Google more quickly identify web pages and will allow users to find new content in search results as soon as it goes live. While not exactly "real-time," using feeds to identify updates to websites is an arguably faster method than the traditional crawling techniques Google has used in the past. And Google may get even faster in the near future - the post also notes that the company may soon explore using mechanisms like the real-time protocol PubSubHubbub to identify updated items going forward.

The blog post doesn't say whether or not RSS and Atom discovery is displacing traditional web crawling for sites that are feed-enabled, but it's likely that, if given the choice, Google will opt for the faster method if available. As Vanessa Fox notes on the SearchEngineLand blog, since it's unknown at this time whether Google is using the feeds in place of traditional web crawling, it may make sense to use full feeds rather than partial ones in order to get your content indexed faster by Google's search engine.

Real-Time Web Crawling in the Future?

Although only briefly mentioned in the post, Google hinted that they may begin looking into other mechanisms such as PubSubHubbub, an open protocol that provides near-instant notifications of change updates. No further details were provided beyond the one sentence, but the announcement clearly shows that Google has seen the writing on the wall and knows that the real-time web is the future. This is one trend the company isn't planning to ignore.

The real-time web, heavily influenced by the speed of Twitter and other other rapid-fire social networking updates, has created a desire among internet users for faster access to information. This desire has, in turn, led to the creation of new real-time protocols such as the above mentioned PubSubHubbub and its counterpart RSSCloud. If Google began to use these technologies for scanning the web, their search results wouldn't just be updated faster - they would be updated in real-time. That means information would become available in the search results listings as soon as it was published to the web.

That, of course, would lead to a whole new series of challenges for the search engine - most notably, how to rank the real-time results? Given that Google's search algorithm has been built on top of the concept of PageRank, a way to determine the relevance of a website by what other sites link to it, ranking search results that are so fresh that there is an absence of links could prove a difficult feat. However, Google is already doing this to some extent now. Over time, the PageRank algorithm has evolved and can now reward sites with fresher, more fitting content and rank them higher than sites with more links on some occasions. And if anyone can figure out the proper algorithm for mixing in real-time content and ranking it appropriately along with static pages, it's got to be Google. In fact, we'll probably soon see exactly how they plan on addressing this issue, when they incorporate Twitter search results into their index, as announced last week

...But Until Then, Google Delivering Faster, Fresher Results Instead

Although the PubSubHubbub mention may have been the most exiting part of the announcement, real-time search results aren't here just yet. In the meantime, we have to just be content with sped up results instead. The post advises website owners who are blocking Google's search bot software known as Googlebot from crawling their RSS/Atom feeds to unblock it via their robots.txt file. If unsure, webmasters can test their feed URLs with the robots.txt tester in Google Webmaster Tools, as the post recommends.

Written by Sarah Perez

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

What is canonical page?

A canonical page is the preferred version of a set of pages with highly similar content.

It's common for a site to have several pages listing the same set of products. For example, one page might display products sorted in alphabetical order, while other pages display the same products listed by price or by rating.

According to Google official blog:
If Google knows that these pages have the same content, we may index only one version for our search results. Our algorithms select the page we think best answers the user's query. Now, however, users can specify a canonical page to search engines by adding a link element with the attribute rel="canonical" to the head section of the non-canonical version of the page. Adding this link and attribute lets site owners identify sets of identical content and suggest to Google: "Of all these pages with identical content, this page is the most useful. Please prioritize it in search results."

How do I specify a canonical page?
To specify a canonical link to the page, create a link element as follows:

link rel="canonical" href=

Copy this link into the head section of all non-canonical versions of the page, such as


Monday, December 21, 2009

Google Browser Size

Anyone who develop/design websites, have this problem that some Browser support some features while other dont. This can be best seen when you compare your site with Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Now Google has come up with something very useful for the designer and developers i.e. Google Browser Size. Using the tool is simple: type a URL in at the top of the screen, and the site will load your webpage in the background. It will then overlay a semi-transparent graphic depicting how much of the web’s population can view each section of your page without scrolling.
  • You can change the opacity of the overlay by clicking the gray boxes next to the word "Opacity" at the top of the window.
  • As you move the mouse around the window, you will see a transparent rectangle following the mouse pointer. This feature allows you to interact normally with the page you're examining even though it has a graphical overlay atop it.
  • The sizes represented in this contour are client area sizes, not browser window sizes. This means they represent the size of the browser without the title bar, toolbars, status bars, etc., and thus give a true representation of how much content can be seen by a particular segment of the Web-using population.
  • Browser Size works best on web pages with a fixed layout aligned to the left. If the content reflows as the width is adjusted or it is centered, then the results can be misleading. In this case, you can obtain more accurate results by reducing the browser width to a percentage column, e.g. 90% and seeing what content falls below the 90% horizontal line.

According to Official Google Blog:
"Browser Size is based on a sample of data from visitors to Special code collects data on the height and width of the browser for a sample of users. For a given point in the browser, the tool will tell you what percentage of users can see it. For example, if an important button is in the 80% region it means that 20% of users have to scroll in order to see it. If you're a web designer, you can use Browser Size to redesign your page to minimize scrolling and make sure that the important parts of the page are always prominent to your audience. We hope people will use this tool to make their websites better, in turn making the web better for everyone."


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Google's New Real Time Search Streams

Google upped the relevance factor of its search results with the launch of a new real-time feature that integrates live updates from blogs, news sites, Twitter, Facebook, and more.

Now, when you enter a search term like "Hotel Taj Mumbai" into Google, you'll not only get results from across the web, you also get the option of checking out a real-time stream of what people are saying about the Hotel right that minute in the news and blog posts, or on popular social networking sites like Twitter and FriendFeed. Besides the obvious coolness factor, the new feature makes it possible to get news related to your search term almost the instant it happens instead of waiting hours or days for web sites to get indexed.

This is a pretty awesome way to find out about breaking news or what people are saying about the latest blockbuster film. Imagine hearing about a traffic jam on the bridge right from passengers who Tweet about being stuck in traffic, or getting the skinny on movie reviews as people talk about it on FriendFeed. It's basically integrating what we like best about Twitter directly into Google. To turn it on for search results, just:

Click on "Latest results" or select "Latest" from the search options menu to view a full page of live tweets, blogs, news and other web content scrolling right on Google. You can also filter your results to see only "Updates" from micro-blogs like Twitter, FriendFeed, Jaiku and others. Latest results and the new search options are also designed for iPhone and Android devices when you need them on the go, be it a quick glance at changing information like ski conditions or opening night chatter about a new movie — right when you're in line to buy tickets.

Google partnered with Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, MySpace, Jaiku, and to pull status updates into search results from all those services. Google says the new service will be available to everyone in the next few days, but check out the video above in the meantime to see for yourself what it does.

It's really amazing to see live updates in search results, but there's plenty of people that don't give a hoot about what the folks on Twitter or Facebook are talking about. It will also be interesting to see how Google keeps the signal-to-noise ratio down when huge news breaks and people everywhere are blogging, posting, and sometimes unintentionally spreading false information.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Google Analytics - Annotations and other New Features

Google today launched a new feature in Analytics i.e. Annotations. Now you can explain why there are dips and hikes of visitors on your website or web application. Webmasters have been demanding this feature for really long time as this will help them in analyzing which events have caused conversions to increase or decrease. Earlier Webmasters have to maintain separate sheets/files for explaining to the Owners of the websites the reasons for increase or decrease in the conversions.

According to Official Google Analytics blog:

"Annotations allows any user with access to a Google Analytics profile to leave shared or private notes right on the over-time graph. Building upon the concept of bringing Intelligence to data, Annotations complements existing anomaly detection by capturing the tribal intelligence of your company, which tends to be the most expensive and easily lost resource of all. A simple note from a colleague can save hours of real work (and frustration) for an analyst who is tasked to explain a usually dry set of numbers. This short video will show you how to use Annotations."

Apart from Annotations, Google also added few more NEW features in Analytics:
  • Multiple Custom Variables: Custom variables provide the power and flexibility to customize Google Analytics to collect the unique site usage data most important to your business. Define and track visitors according to visitor attributes (member vs. non-member), session attributes (signed in or signed out), and by page-level attributes (viewed Sports section). Use custom variables to classify any number of interactions and behaviors on your site.
  • Custom Variables in Custom Reports: Create Custom Reports with any of the key or value dimensions associated with any Custom Variable. There will be a segment defined by Custom Variables and how it behaves along any of the metrics available in Google Analytics.
  • New Tracking Code: Google also made it easier for users to track data across multiple subdomains, mobile sites and more with a new tracking code setup wizard. The new technology will automatically generate the appropriate code for specialized tracking without the user having to input it manually.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Google Analytics - New features

Google recently added 7 new features to the Analytics, and here are they

Analytics Intelligence with Custom Alerts
Using an algorithmic driven Intelligence engine, Analytics Intelligence monitors data patterns over daily, weekly and monthly periods. Significant changes in data trends and insights you may not have noticed are surfaced directly in your account. You can also create your own Custom Alerts that monitor your selection of dimensions and metrics that can be sent by email or displayed in the Intelligence reports.

Expanded Goals and New Engagement Goals
You can now track even more conversions by creating up to 20 goals per profile. Measure user engagement and branding success on your site with Time on Site and Pages per Visit goals.

Expanded Mobile Reporting
Google Analytics has expanded support for mobile websites and tracking for iPhone and Android mobile applications tracking. Adding server side code to your PHP, JSP, PERL, or ASPX mobile websites enables you to track non-Java-Script enabled phones. For mobile application developers, access the SDK and technical implementation details here.

Unique Visitors Metric
Include the Unique Visitors metric in your Custom Report or Advanced Segments to see how many actual visitors (unique cookies) visit your website. You can select Unique Visitors as a metric against any dimensions in Google Analytics.

Advanced Analysis Features
Dive deeper into your data with Pivoting, Secondary Dimensions, and Advanced Table Filtering.

Share Advanced Segments and Custom Report Templates
Share the URL link for an Advanced Segment or Custom Report with anyone who has an Analytics account. Sharing the link will automatically import the pre-formatted template into the person's account.

Multiple Custom Variables
Custom variables provide the power and flexibility to customize Google Analytics to collect the unique site usage data most important to your business. Define and track visitors according to visitor attributes (member vs. non-member), session attributes (signed in or signed out), and by page-level attributes (viewed Sports section). Use custom variables to classify any number of interactions and behaviors on your site.