March 30, 2010

Shopping with Google

Today, Google announced the launch of a new tool to find product information online in India.

Google’s new Shopping tool for India gathers information about products and prices automatically - the system scans millions of Indian Web pages and extracts product names, prices and images. With the help of this new technology, Google users will receive information from more than 30 thousand Indian Internet sites and be able to research a variety of products online.

You can search for popular products like mobile phones (try sony ericsson phone and household goods (try LG washing machine. You can also search for less common products and product categories (try Aquasure RO water filter or wedding rings).

Google’s Shopping tool will also help you to compare prices in different stores for a specific product. For example, if you are looking for a Nokia E71 phone, you will see listings like this, helping you to decide where to purchase the phone.



Google’s Shopping tool also helps you to select a price range. For example, you can search for all flat screen televisions between Rs 15,000 and Rs. 20,000.



Google’s Shopping tool is another step toward our goal of making the web search results page more relevant for the specific type of information you are looking for. You can choose to display only news results or results from discussion groups, for example.

To use Google’s Shopping tool, simply enter the product name into the search box at www.google.co.in. Then, on the results page, click on the “Show Options ...” link located above the search results and select “Shopping”. Once you start seeing shopping results, you can customize your filtering options as required.

Posted by Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, Product Manager

March 23, 2010

A new approach to china : an update

(Cross-posted from the Google Blog)

On January 12, we announced on this blog that Google and more than twenty other U.S. companies had been the victims of a sophisticated cyber attack originating from China, and that during our investigation into these attacks we had uncovered evidence to suggest that the Gmail accounts of dozens of human rights activists connected with China were being routinely accessed by third parties, most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on their computers. We also made clear that these attacks and the surveillance they uncovered—combined with attempts over the last year to further limit free speech on the web in China including the persistent blocking of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Docs and Blogger—had led us to conclude that we could no longer continue censoring our results on Google.cn.

So earlier today we stopped censoring our search services—Google Search, Google News, and Google Images—on Google.cn. Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong. Users in Hong Kong will continue to receive their existing uncensored, traditional Chinese service, also from Google.com.hk. Due to the increased load on our Hong Kong servers and the complicated nature of these changes, users may see some slowdown in service or find some products temporarily inaccessible as we switch everything over.

Figuring out how to make good on our promise to stop censoring search on Google.cn has been hard. We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement. We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we've faced—it's entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China. We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services. We will therefore be carefully monitoring access issues, and have created this new web page, which we will update regularly each day, so that everyone can see which Google services are available in China.

In terms of Google's wider business operations, we intend to continue R&D work in China and also to maintain a sales presence there, though the size of the sales team will obviously be partially dependent on the ability of mainland Chinese users to access Google.com.hk. Finally, we would like to make clear that all these decisions have been driven and implemented by our executives in the United States, and that none of our employees in China can, or should, be held responsible for them. Despite all the uncertainty and difficulties they have faced since we made our announcement in January, they have continued to focus on serving our Chinese users and customers. We are immensely proud of them.


March 12, 2010

Indian Premier League bowls wicked googly* to the world on YouTube

(Cross-posted from the YouTube Blog)

When the first ball of this year’s Indian Premier League cricket season is bowled, fans across the planet will have a front row seat in the world’s biggest online sports stadium. Tonight the Deccan Chargers and Kolkata Knight Riders will face off in Mumbai at 8pm IST, and the YouTube global community will be able to tune in to the IPL’s YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/ipl) for streaming and on-demand access to witness the start of what promises to be one of the most widely-distributed sporting events in history. Fans can watch matches, highlight videos, player interviews and much more all on the IPL’s YouTube channel.


Named by Forbes as the "hottest sports league in the world" with revenues comparable to the world’s most popular leagues, the IPL season is a 60-match, 43-day tournament that features some of the best talent in cricket today. You can come to YouTube and keep up with the action any time, anywhere and connect with fans across the globe. Watch as the match happens, or if you missed a match, tune in later to see what happened. The entire season will be streamed around the world on YouTube, except in the US, where matches will be time-delayed and made available 15 minutes after the match ends.

On the IPL Channel, you’ll see three tabs:
  • Today’s Matches: This is where you can watch streamed matches as they happen. (Note that the stream will be delayed by a few minutes.) Click through at any time to see the match scorecard.
  • Recent Matches: Catch up any time on the full action of matches that have already happened. Watch Sachin cream the ball through the covers, Warney taking his latest wicket and more.
  • Highlights: If you’re short on time, check in here for short videos of player interviews, match highlights, greatest plays and more.
And for all of you who want to cheer or commiserate with others, check out our Twitter gadget on the channel page to be part of the conversation. You can keep up with the discussion on Twitter with the YouTube IPL hashtag (#youtube_ipl). Share, rate and comment on videos throughout the channel, or upload your own video responses to the action. There's also a link so you can join the Official DLF IPL community on Orkut (www.orkut.com/ipl).

We'll be watching the donkey drops, the five-fers, the flippers and floaters, the half-yorkers and slow sweeps — and cheering alongside you!

* A googly is a kind of pitch similar to a baseball pitch or a bowling throw in the game cricket; a wicked googly would be a really good pitch.

March 10, 2010

India Site Clinic - Part 2

In our previous post, we wrote about how addressing canonicalization can help search engines to more accurately decide which URLs to present for your site. Now, we'd like to cover two other important aspects that came up during our site clinic which help search engines understand what content is available on your site: the "alt" attribute for describing images and Sitemaps for listing your pages.

Alt attributes for images
In (X)HTML, the "alt" attribute of an <img> tag is the text that is used as alternative text content for an image. For example, it can be dispilayed if the image fails to load. It is one of the signals used by search engines to understand images.

Head over to andrinemendez.com . The home page is very neat to look at and bound to catch your eye. But if you notice, all content on the main site is within images. While it may look nice to have the text completely in the images, but from a search engine perspective the content becomes unreadable. In order to make your web sites more search engine friendly and to help search engines and the users who can't view the images, we recommend using the "alt" attribute of an <img> tag to describe your images. This makes it easier for search engine crawlers to index the images and also makes your web pages user friendly as the "alt" text shows up in place of the image when it fails to load.





To learn more about the alt attribute, check out this post and video about how to make your images more discoverable.

Sitemaps
Essentially, a
Sitemap file is a list of all URLs on your site that you want to be indexed. Sitemaps provide a way for search engines to find URLs on your site that may not be linked to by many other pages. If you'd like to know more about the use of Sitemaps, you may be interested in a study presented by Uri Schonfeld at a WWW'09 conference in Madrid last year.

At andrinemendez.com/sitemap.xml , we find a simple XML Sitemap file in place. It's great to see Sitemaps being used here. If you look at it, you can see the amount of information it provides for each URL. An issue with this Sitemap file is that the URLs have a change-frequency that does not match the actual change dates (homepage weekly vs last change in December). While the change frequency is good information to include, one should ensure that it is correct else the purpose is not served and it would be better to just remove these attributes otherwise.





You can learn more about Sitemaps on our Webmaster Help Center or read some additional FAQ's regarding Sitemaps for more information. And if you don’t have a Sitemap yet don’t forget to create one!

Remember, it’s all about making it easy for users to find and understand your content. Hope we helped!

Our last post to this series will be out soon so stay tuned. Let us know your thoughts in our Webmaster Help Group.


Posted by Search Quality Team