Google Instant – Warning Contains Adult Content and a Disappointing Level of Service.

Last month I published a small post about the launch of Google instant and the possible effects it might have for paid search. But yesterday I read an amazing article by Danny Sullivan of Search Engineland about some bizarre results that Google presents to people on via it’s Images search function.

If you are of a delicate disposition or easily offended, PLEASE stop reading now!

I’ve added my screen grabs so that you can see he didn’t make this up. But try it yourself!

If you type ‘G’ into Google Images the top suggested search results are:


girls without dress


girls breast feeding each other

And another step through the alphabet to ‘H’ produces these results:

So images of girls, girls without dresses and hot girls top the lists for Google Image search.

Of course, we shouldn’t really be surprised by this. And Danny Sullivan gives some expert insight into how users can change their settings to protect themselves and others from these results. That’s not the purpose of this post.

The point of this article, (apart from being astonished at these results) is that it serves as a warning to businesses generally against over automating its processes.

OK, so this is an extreme example, I’m not suggesting Google employ millions of people to tailor search results for its users; its algorithms stand by each of us every day with no complaints whatsoever. But for those of you who have an FAQ’s section on your website, or a CRM system with 4 options – none of which answer my question – beware! What people really crave when interacting with a company or organisation is a human reaction and the bar has been raised!

Fall beneath this bar at your peril.


Facebook Jumps Into Bed With Microsoft

This week Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be joining forces with Bing, by adding a ‘Bing Social’ search facility providing links to topics being discussed on Facebook.

This new collaboration with Microsoft puts Facebook in further competition with online search giant Google Inc. But Zuckerberg called Microsoft,  the “underdog” in search.

“I couldn’t think of anyone better to work with on the next generation of search,” Zuckerberg said.

So recommendations for restaurants or movies will now appear as a result of Facebook discussions and ‘social search’ will be a powerful element in making word of mouth truly the greatest channel that marketers will need to address.

But the adage “You are what Google (or Bing in this case) says you are” will be never more true!

So be careful when updating your status. If you wouldn’t say it to your Granny, then it’s probably best not to say it – it will be there forever!

For as the even truer adage goes, “You can’t take pi$$ out of a swimming pool!”

Ryder Cup Washout – A Social Disaster and Victory All At Once !

My alarm woke me early this morning. Stupidly early. I was up at 1.45 – why go to bed? The reason was to watch Lee Westwood tee it up at Celtic Manor to try and wrest the Ryder Cup back from the pesky Yanks!

Living in the US gives you a different perspective of these events. Being behind enemy lines makes the event even bigger. Although if things go wrong, (thanks for nothing Robert Green), then it can be twice as painful.

At the time of writing, play has just resumed and the Cup is not likely to be won or lost until Monday!

But the big news of the day, is the rain in Wales. Not just the rain, but the failure of the rainwear chosen by Corey Pavin and the USGA, to keep  the US players dry. Once the news was out that Tiger was soaked to the skin and Phil was dripping wet through, attention turned to the manufacturer of this equipment.

The fact that it was produced by a company called ‘Sun Mountain’, should perhaps have given Pavin a clue that these guys weren’t experts in wet weather clothing! The fact that the team then had to purchase new equipment in Wales, that wouldn’t have been designed beforehand, from a company called Proquip, meant that these two brands were suddenly all over the social web having quite different days!

Here it is happening before our eyes! Everything I’ve written about here before now is coming to pass!

Sun Mountain are suffering the worst possible PR disaster, whilst Proquip are basking in glory. And it’s being played out on social media.

Here are a couple of tweets:

“Probably the end of that company. Certainly the USPGA will never use any of their products again. #sunmountain

“Let’s get some Proquip”

And it spreads wider – Goretex are forced to make a statement that they ended their relationship with Sun Mountain in 2006! Right now Sun Mountain are toxic!

Google news results for Sun Mountain right now and you can see what’s happening. As I’ve said before, “you are what Google says you are” and “you can’t take piss out of a swimming pool”!

If Sun Mountain employ social media listening tools, they will hopefully be on this, working throughout the night and the rest of the weekend to try and address things positively – quite how they do this, I can’t think right now!

Proquip on the other hand may also be listening in and their positive sentiment report will bulging at the the seams! Lots’ of ‘thanks guys’ and if you’re a retailer carrying the Proquip range, ‘here’s a voucher for online store with 10% off Proquip merchandise if you buy before….”, you get the idea!

Anyway, the players are back out – come on Europe!

Yahoo! – The Death of a Search Engine

I heard the news today – Oh Boy!

It seems that west coast the fault lines running through Yahoo! are opening up once more. The news today is that three more top executives are due to resign.

Reading this, I’d forgotten about the failed takeover by Microsoft a few years ago, but it seems that Carol Bartz, the CEO who replaced Jerry Yang, to ‘clean up’ and restore  Yahoo! to greatness, after that failed attempt, is now presiding over a sinking ship.

I recall a great article I read a month or so ago by Paul Graham who detailed meeting founder Jerry Yang to discuss a new model for online advertising. The model they discussed was essentially the PPC model we know today, but at the time of the meeting, online ad revenues were being generated by banners and CPM deals. Advertisers were still living in the twentieth century and impressions were king. As this new model looked like giving advertisers much more visibility of the power of their ad dollars, Yang ran for the hills, preferring instead to sit on his throne of banners and skyscrapers.

Of course we all know who eventually saw the potential of the new model and now who cleans up!

Does anyone use Yahoo!? It’s a serious question. I know they went on an acquisition trail, picking up Flickr, Kelkoo and Delicious, so yes we probably use Yahoo! to access these services – but do you use Yahoo! for email, or even (sshhhh) search?

Paul Graham talks of there being no ‘hacker’ culture at Yahoo! Which was in complete contrast to the other silicon valley companies at the time. Instead, Yahoo! had an old fashioned approach towards its employees. Clock in, clock out.

Back in the day, there was Compuserve, Alta Vista, Yahoo! and then a odd one called Google. Whilst others have gone by the wayside, it’s a shame to hear of Yahoo’s seemingly imminent demise. But you reap what you sow I suppose.

Google’s Golden Egg at Risk?

Here’s a fascinating article by Tom Foremski on Google’s own eye tracking results from trials of its new ‘Google Instant’ search product.

Essentially, after just a couple of characters are entered, some suggested results are presented. The overall aim is to shorten the time people have to search for the sites they want. A glorified and more intelligent ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button.

Unsurprisingly, the results suggest that very little of the ‘heat’ generated by eye movements went to the traditional paid search ads on the right hand side of the page while automated suggestions are presented to the viewer.

With two thirds of it’s overall revenue generated by these ads, what will be the implications of people spending less time seeing and clicking these ads in the future?

Are Google prepared to kill the goose that laid the golden egg?

Or do they have plans to replace this revenue through other paid search models up their sleeves?