The Feature Google Killed The + Command For — Direct Connect — Is Now Dead

google-plus-signs-600 Cast your mind back to November 2011, only a few months after the launch of Google+. That's when Google made one of its biggest Google+ification moves. It demoted a long-standing search feature involving the plus symbol so that searchers could instead more easily reach new "Google+ Pages" that had been launched. Today, this "Direct Connect" feature is forgotten and broken. How Direct Connect Worked When Direct Connect launched, Google promised that people could go directly to popular pages on Google+ by beginning their searches with a + sign followed by a few characters of the page's name. F [...]

Google Testing I’m Feeling Lucky Search Button Within Search Suggestions Drop Down

google-imfl-instant A reader sent us a screen shot of Google testing displaying the Google Search and I'm Feeling Lucky search buttons within the search suggest or Google Instant drop down menu, as you type. Here is a screen shot sent by the reader showing the search buttons directly in the search suggestions drop down: It doesn't surprise me when I see unusual Google tests and yet here is one more. The buttons are available on the home page. But no one really gets a chance to use them since Google Instant launched. But now, maybe that they are being tested in the Google Instant search sug [...]

Google In Trouble Again Over Racist Search Suggestions In UK

google-suggest-autocomplete-featured Is Google Suggest (autocomplete) simply a mirror held up to society; or is it a product that needs to be censored and regulated to protect us from potentially offensive and objectionable content -- even defamation? In the latest row over Google Suggest, the company has removed racist and other offensive autocomplete entries in the UK. According to the Daily Mail Online, "Google has taken action after its search engine was found to be suggesting vile racist terms when users searched for a number of UK cities including Bradford, Leicester and Birmingham." Users were typing in city names and t [...]

Are Google Searches The Best Way To Highlight Discrimination Against Women?

un-google-autocomplete-ads The United Nations is continuing its admirable and proper work of highlighting discrimination against women around the world; but, is using Google's autocomplete feature the best way to do it? UN Women, a UN entity formed in July 2010 that focuses on gender equality and women's rights, revealed a new ad campaign this week that "uses genuine Google searches to reveal the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination against women." The ads, presumably designed for print media, show Google autocomplete searches that begin with phrases like "women shouldn't," "women need to" and "women [...]

Mississippi Attorney General To Subpoena Google For Illegal Sale Of Prescription Drugs

google-legal-law-featured Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood will subpoena Google records and emails to determine if Google facilitated the sale of drugs without a prescription and other illegal products, including counterfeit copies of movies, games and music. "Google is aiding and abetting criminal activity and putting consumers at risk," says Hood, "This is of grave concern to the chief law enforcement officers of this nation." The attorney general heads an intellectual property section of the National Association of Attorneys General and is urging other attorney generals to follow his lead. According to a [...]

Tokyo Court Orders Google To Alter Search Suggestions & Pay Fines

google-japan-featured AFP reports a Japan court has ruled Google to alter the search suggestions and fined Google 300,000 yen ($3,100). The Tokyo District Court ruled that Google has to change the auto-completions for a search on a particular man's name - the name was undisclosed - because Google provided suggestions that the man committed criminal acts. In addition, Google was ordered to pay the man $3,100 for the mental anguish the search suggestion caused him. What is interesting is that since Google does not operate the search results from within Japan, Google technically does not and historically has not [...]

Google Faces Autocomplete Lawsuit From Former First Lady Of Germany

bettina-wulff Google may be in trouble again over the automated suggestions that its Autocomplete feature provides to searchers. According to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (and also reported by TechCrunch), Bettina Wulff -- wife of the country's former president, Christian Wulff -- is suing Google because Autocomplete suggests prostitution-related terms when a searcher types her name into Google's search box. (The couple are shown in the photo above.) Indeed, searches this afternoon on both and reference terms like "escort" and "prostitute" in the Autocomplete suggesti [...]

How Google Autocomplete Can Affect Your Brand’s SEO & ORM Strategy

google-autocomplete-featured Have you ever typed a company name into Google and been instantly greeted with words like ‘scam’ or ‘complaints’ by Google Autocomplete? That can’t be good for business, and it is a situation that more and more organizations are finding themselves in. Being part of a firm that is heavily involved in Online Reputation Management (ORM), we take on a wide range of tasks. There is a bit of everything, from helping individuals clean up search results for their names to partnering with corporations to identify and fix reputation problems. One of the most common issues we get now, fro [...]

Google Make Deal With French Anti-Racism Groups Over ‘Jew’ Search Suggestions

Google in deal with French groups over 'Jew' suggestion via the AFP reports Google has made a deal with several French anti-racism groups of Google offering 'Jew' to the search suggestions for several prominent names in that country. Our earlier story named Google Queries Reveal Potential "Underground" Anti-Semitism In France explains that the French people are routinely searching on politicians’ names followed by the world "juif," which means "Jewish" in French. This may imply a strong sense of anti-Semitism, which is known to have been prominent in the history of many European countrie [...]

In Japan, Google Ordered To Remove Some Autocomplete Suggestions

The Japan Times reports Google has been ordered to turn off its Autocomplete search suggestion feature in Japan after being sued over some of those suggestions. However, Google says it's only being ordered to remove specific suggestions, not to turn off the entire feature. The man's case was adjudicated on March 19th. He said he found out he lost his job several years ago and was rejected for new jobs due to the suggestions offered by Google. Specifically, when you typed in this man's name, Google Autocomplete apparently suggested the man's name along with criminal acts. The Tokyo Distr [...]

Google Instant Costs Google $65,000 In France

google-suggest-logo The Local, a French newspaper, reports Google France was ordered to pay €50,000 ($64,670) to Lyonnaise de Garantie, a French insurance company over a search suggestion that had them labeled as being a "crook." In the case of this French company, when you typed in their company name, Lyonnaise de Garantie it suggested at the end of the name escroc, which means crook or swindler. Google lost the case and was ordered to pay €50,000 ($64,670). As you know, Google's Search Suggestions, part of Google Instant, shows search result completions as you type. The suggestions are based off of [...]

The Alphabet of Google+ Direct Connect

g A new feature of Google+ is Google+ Direct Connect, where typing the name of a company preceded by a + symbol will make that company's Google+ Page appear as a suggestion in the search box, in the right circumstances. Who are the lucky few, so far? Here's an alphabetical rundown, which reveals a number of surprises on how Direct Connect works, along the way: A Amazon, AT&T, Angry Birds and ABC News all make the A list. B & Thoughts About "Regular Suggestion" Opportunities Burberry makes the list here, oddly followed by Angry Birds. Bank of America and Best Buy are regular su [...]

Even Google Thinks “Romney Can’t Win”

romney can win US presidential candidate Republican Mitt Romney can't seem to catch a break even from Google. Not only does it suggest that he can't win, if you start typing in Romney's name, but if you disagree, Google tries to correct you. Suggestion: Romney Can't Win Start typing in Romney, and Google as its top suggestion "romney can't win," as you can see below: Did You Really Mean He Can Win? Romney believers who ignore the suggestion and go on to search for "romney can win" get this response: "Did you mean: romney can't win" -- that's Google's spell checking system kicking in. Don't Bla [...]

Google Spell Checking Within Search Box?

It appears that Google is testing showing a red squiggly line in the Google search box as you type, if they feel the spelling of your query is wrong. You know, the red line you see when you have a spelling mistake when using Microsoft Word or other word processors. At first, I thought it was a built-in spell checking feature of the browser, but after seeing additional reports and then seeing it myself last night, it seems to me to be a new feature Google is testing. Here is a screen shot of it in action: I've had several other people confirm Google was showing them this red squigg [...]

Google: No Longer Guessing About Celebrity Sexual Orientation

anna paquin Wondering if some celebrity is Gay, Lesbian, Straight or Bisexual? Plenty of people do and turn to Google to find out. But the search engine just stopped offering direct answers about these questions, after they became more noticeable. Google's "Best Guess" About Sexual Orientations Here's an example of one of the answers that were being shown, in response to a search for is anna paquin gay: You can see that Google provided a direct answer: "Best guess for Anna Paquin Sexual orientation is Bisexual." This worked for Paquin and other some other celebrities up until a few hours ago, when [...]

Irish Hotel Sues Google For Defamation Over Autocomplete Suggestion

google-g-logo A popular Irish hotel has sued Google for defamation because Google's autocomplete feature suggests to searchers that the hotel is in receivership. Searchers looking for the Ballymascanlon Hotel -- a four-star property that's reportedly one of the most popular wedding venues in northeast Ireland and is not in financial trouble -- see "ballymascanlon hotel receivership" as an autocomplete suggestion as soon as they've typed only eight letters of the hotel name. According to a recent Sunday Times article (quoted here by TJ McIntyre), some brides have contacted the hotel "in tears" after [...]

Google Instant’s Autocomplete Now Also Works On Word-By-Word Basis

Google announced they have improved the Google Instant autocomple suggestions feature to work better at suggesting particular words, in addition to full search phrases. Google explained that many searches done at Google were never done before, so offering up predictions on a long tail query can be complex. But if you look at only part of the query, the chances of that query being done before at Google increases tremendously. The example given by Google was [florida state senate building], where the four word query is not all that common, but the query [state senate building] is much mor [...]

How Google Instant’s Autocomplete Suggestions Work

google-autocomplete-featured It's a well known feature of Google. Start typing in a search, and Google offers suggestions before you've even finished typing. But how does Google come up with those suggestions? When does Google remove some suggestions? When does Google decide not to interfere? Come along for some answers. Google & Search Suggestions Google was not the first search engine to offer search suggestions, nor it is the only one. But being the most popular search engine has caused many to look at Google's suggestions more closely. Google has been offering "Google Suggest" or "Autocomplete" on the Google [...]

Google Must Censor Google Instant In Italy For Derogatory Suggestions

google-italy-instant-censored-featured ZDNet UK reports the Court of Milan has ruled that Google has to filter the auto-completions that Google Instant provides in Italy. The issue is that someone was searching for a particular name and Google offered search completions for the name with con man or fraud. The individual sued forcing Google to filter out those suggestions and won, requiring Google remove any libellous search suggestions for his name. The Court of Milan upheld that ruling on March 31st. The court felt the auto-completions were something being produced by Google and thus did not fall under the protection of th [...]

Google Test: Auto-Completing Search Queries

Via Google Operating System comes the screenshot above, which shows a new test Google is running that involves auto-completing search queries. It's similar to Google Suggest but, as Google Operating System notes, this auto-completion is happening on long-tail terms where Google Suggest has stopped giving suggestions. I was unable to replicate the test using the same search term shown above. A Google spokesperson gave us this statement about the test: At any given time we are running 50-200 search experiments. We run more than 6,000 search experiments in a given year. [...]

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