Archive for June, 2010

Google search gets a shot of caffeine with new indexing system

June 9th, 2010
Search engine giant Google announced it has updated the way it crawls and indexes the Web. The company says its new method called “Caffeine” provides better results for those searching the Web.

In August 2009, Google gave a teaser about what the world should expect with the launch of Caffeine. Yesterday the company confirmed the roll-out was complete and Google search is now updated.

In a post on the company’s official blog, Google software engineer Carrie Grimes said Caffeine provides 50 percent “fresher” results for Web searches when compared to the last method of indexing.

For those unfamiliar with “indexing” the process takes place when search engines crawl the Web to find new pages, as well as updates on existing web pages. For a company such as Google, it needs to ensure it has the latest and best results at all times in order to stay competitive with rivals such as Microsoft’s Bing or Yahoo.

As Google explains: “When you search Google, you’re not searching the live web. Instead you’re searching Google’s index of the web which, like the list in the back of a book, helps you pinpoint exactly the information you need.” Here is more info on how Google search works.

According to recent numbers published by ArsTechnica, Google currently makes up about 70 percent of the search market in the U.S., while Yahoo takes about 25 percent and Bing 9 percent. From a global perspective, Google owns about 85 percent market share, whereas Yahoo attracts just over 6 percent and Bing under 5 percent.

Google says Caffeine provides users with the largest collection of web content the company has ever offered.

“Whether it’s a news story, a blog or a forum post, you can now find links to relevant content much sooner after it is published than was possible ever before,” Grimes said in the company’s blog post.

Google said its new search indexing system was built because the Web is growing in size and new types of content including video, images, news and real-time updates are playing an increasingly important role in the Web’s information space. Today’s Web, Google says, is richer and more complex than ever before.

“In addition, people’s expectations for search are higher than they used to be,” said Grimes. “Searchers want to find the latest relevant content and publishers expect to be found the instant they publish.” Google’s previous index relied on several layers of indexing where some were updated more frequently than others.

As Google indicates:

The main layer would update every couple of weeks. To refresh a layer of the old index, we would analyze the entire web, which meant there was a significant delay between when we found a page and made it available to you.

With Caffeine, we analyze the web in small portions and update our search index on a continuous basis, globally. As we find new pages, or new information on existing pages, we can add these straight to the index. That means you can find fresher information than ever before—no matter when or where it was published.

Google says Caffeine allows the company to index pages on a massive scale (every second, Caffeine processes hundreds of thousands of pages at once). To put it into real-world terms, Google says if Caffeine were a stack of paper, it would grow three miles taller every second.

And from a storage standpoint, Google says Caffeine takes up almost 100 million gigabytes of storage in one database, adding hundreds of thousands of gigs more every day. That is the equivalent of 625,000 of the largest iPods worth of information.

“We’ve built Caffeine with the future in mind,” Grimes said. “Not only is it fresher, it’s a robust foundation that makes it possible for us to build an even faster and comprehensive search engine that scales with the growth of information online, and delivers even more relevant search results to you.”

Video: Boston Globe Tailors Print Edition For Three Remaining Subscribers

June 8th, 2010

In a bit of a departure from the more serious tone this blog usually takes, I couldn’t resist posting this video courtesy of the Onion News Network.

Anyone who follows media knows the financial crunch has hit big papers, broadcasters and online news organizations.

With more people questioning the business model associated with traditional media, the Onion News Network take a serious dig at mainstream press with one of its latest videos titled “Boston Globe Tailors Print Edition For Three Remaining Subscribers.”

Here is is:

Apple CEO Steve Jobs at D8 (full video)

June 7th, 2010

I recently posted a few videos of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talking at D8, so I thought I’d follow-up with another must-see conversation.

The Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital” conference (D8) is hosted by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher who are known for asking direct questions and getting direct answers from very public personalities.

In this video, Apple CEO Steve Jobs gives a very news-filled discussion about many topics. As the most-requested interview for the event, Jobs doesn’t disappoint. The Web has been a flutter with various clips of this interview, but here’s the whole shebang in one clip.

In this video, Jobs talks about the public feud with Adobe, the impact of the iPhone, apps and the new iPad. He also delves into Apple’s relationship with Google and AT&T and the future of the computers.

If you’re reading this on a mobile phone, you can get the full 90-minute video here. For those of you visiting from a desktop, see below:

What is Web 3.0?

June 4th, 2010

This is a very interesting video, and while a bit longer than some of you might like, it’s worth watching. I learned of it from a blog post by Matthew Gain and was created by Kate Ray, a NYU Psychology and Journalism major student.

Web 2.0 is out, and Web 3.0 is in. But what is it? What is the semantic web? This video will help summarize the next evolution of the Web.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dodges privacy questions at D8

June 3rd, 2010
Facebook has been publicly flogged recently over how it treats privacy; the company has been accused of making settings too difficult to understand. Yesterday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage at D8 where he talked privacy, but dodged questions.

The privacy issue has been a PR disaster for Facebook, prompting it to once again launch newer and simpler privacy settings. Some people have gone so far as to stage public walk-outs on the popular social sharing site, quitting Facebook over what they say are unethical business practices.

To discuss the privacy issue, the 26-year-old Facebook chief exec Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage at The Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital” conference (D8).

During the sit-down discussion, D8 creators and executive producers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher grilled Zuckerberg on his company’s stance and the public’s reaction to changes in privacy settings. They asked Zuckerberg if Facebook was violating its members’ expectation of privacy and if it’s pushing them to overshare. Zuckerberg also faced criticism about forcing users to opt-out of the company’s instant personalization feature (rather than opt-in).

While some give the wunderkind credit for having the nerve to face critical press on an issue that has bruised the company, others point out Zuckerberg was sweating bullets and avoided giving any straight-forward answers.

See for yourself in this video coverage from D8: