February 18, 2009

Opening invitations for SearchMasters'09 conference

February 17, 2009

Bringing the First Search Masters Conference to India

Who will be speaking?
Well, we have lined up some engaging speakers for the day including Adam Lasnik, Google Search Evangelist who will walk you through best practices on Google's webmaster resources. Also on the speaker list are Koti Ivaturi, a Google guide on the Webmaster Help Group, Rajat Mukerjee, Group Product Manager for Custom Search, Ankit Gupta, Engineer on the Google mobile team, Dinesh Jain and Deepak Kumar from the Analytics team.Due to logistical constraints, we had to keep this an invite-only event. However, we intend to keep you all up-to date about the event presentations through this blog. Be tuned-in to this space for more updates on the conference and look forward to videos of the event on YouTube.

For more information about the conference please visit:

Posted by Manasa & Zareen, Search Quality Team

February 13, 2009

Webmaster Community on Orkut Launched!

February 5, 2009

Google Phone Search Launched in Mumbai and Bangalore

February 4, 2009

Designing a mobile friendly website

As discussed in the first blogpost in this series, there are several steps involved and issues to keep in mind while designing mobile-friendly websites. One should always start with the user, and that's what we do here - in this post, we look at how to design the user experience for a mobile-friendly site.

Its a different world / Know thy user

A mobile user is completely different from someone who accesses information from a desktop. A mobile user wants to check email in a bus, view friends' photographs waiting in a line, wants to find out stock quotes any time anywhere and is looking for help when lost in an unknown place. A mobile phone too is completely different from a PC - it does not have a large monitor, completely usable keyboard and a fast broadband connection like a PC.

Fig 1: The world of mobile phones is very diverse

Screen-size makes or breaks the experience

As mentioned earlier size of the screen and the keyboard are one of the biggest constraints to be kept in mind while designing websites for a mobile phone. Do not make the website for just one screen size and one kind of keyboard. Make it generic or carefully choose a handful of common target screen sizes of
your users. The screen size on mobile phones today ranges from 176x208 to 320x480. Add to this different dpi ,orientation and browsers and it makes the world of mobile devices very diverse. But here's the bright side: a mobile phone user normally only wants to do the one or two things frequently on your website. Keep the primary features and information in mind and make it very easy for the user to discover them and use them.

Fig 2: The most common screen sizes and orientations

Typing is painful

Don't make the users type a lot because even on the smartest of phones typing is not as easy as on a desktop. Make the site more click based. If the primary use cases demand keyboard input from the user, give auto suggest as the user types and have incremental search for items wherever possible.

Up & down is better than sideways

Keep the site contents as vertical as possible. Expanding the site horizontally results in bad user experience while scrolling back and forth. Also some older phones only allow vertical scrolling. Also repeating the header contents in the bottom of the page is a good idea since it makes it easier for the user to switch to a different use case instantly without scrolling a lot.

GPRS is slow, unsteady and costly

In terms of quality and cost to the user, GPRS has a lot to catch up in comparison to the normal broadband internet connections. Unlimited data connections are still not available everywhere. 3G networks are still a dream for many countries. And many of the cheaper data plans have high loss rate and exceptionally high latencies for SSL connections. Keeping all these considerations in mind, the website should not have too many images and data. It should maintain the right balance between richness and latency depending on which device the user is using.

Having thought about user experience, we're now in a position to explore technologies that will help implement our design. In subsequent posts, we'll look at mobile markup languages, compression & transcoding, and javascript & ajax among other technologies that will enable us to build the user experience we've designed.

Posted By: Chunky Gupta, Software Engineer & Ram Brijesh, User Experience Expert, Google

February 3, 2009

India Internet Bus Project launches