Report: Google May Buy Groupon

Kara Swisher reports Google is looking at Groupon as a possible acquisition. She said she has "multiple sources" close to the deal that say Google is very interesting in making a bid on Groupon. Google did not confirm the rumors but did reply to Kara's press request in Google fashion: Per usual, we don’t comment on rumor or speculation. If we did we’d be busy 24/7! Groupon is a local deals coupon site that has grown in popularity. Clone after clone has been created trying to replicate the model. To learn more about Groupon, see our article named A Look At Social Shopping With Grou [...]

Is Google Baraza A Test Drive For A New Google Q&A Product?

Google Blogoscoped pointed our attention to Google's Baraza, a Yahoo-Answers-like Q&A site for Africa. The expressed rationale behind Baraza is that it will help generate "local content" across the continent. There's a relatively elaborate point system (a "currency") used to pay for answers and as a reward for participation otherwise. Because it's globally available in English we're likely to see broad participation from outside of Africa in Baraza. The more interesting question in my mind is whether this will become a model for a larger Q&A effort at Google. The company cour [...]

RockMelt: Ad Free Google Search From Toolbar

I've been using the new RockMelt browser since late last night, but this is not a review. I'm merely interested in pointing out that users can search the toolbar (as with Safari or Firefox) and get Google results -- but they're ad free in this case. There's no SERP with ads, just a list of organic Google results (see below). RockMelt is the "Facebook browser" built on Chromium, the open-source basis for Google's Chrome browser. Accordingly it's really similar to Chrome in almost every way but it has Facebook and Twitter pretty deeply integrated into the experience. I'm liking it more than I [...]

StumbleUpon Becomes Android App Discovery Tool

StumbleUpon, which these days calls itself a "discovery engine," has integrated app discovery into its Android application's repertoire. It takes into account a range of variables to make recommendations to individual users. Those include user preferences, interests and the choices of friends and other "like-minded users." Once installed, you simply hit the StumbleUpon logo/button in the lower right corner of the app and you're presented with a succession of third party app choices. Its suggestions were generally pretty good in my quick examination and use of the app. App discovery has b [...]

Bing, Now With Extra Facebook: See What Your Friends Like & People Search Results

At long last, Facebook's social data is coming to search in a big way. Bing is now making use of it to show new "Liked By Your Friends" matches and Facebook-powered people search results. The move offers a huge amount of promise, and perhaps gives Bing a edge that Google can't quickly replicate. But at the moment, this is no Google-killer. You might not even see the new features appear that often. Think baby steps, and let's see what's been born today to proud parents Bing and Facebook. Finally, Facebook's Social Data Meets Search Over the past few years, some pundits have have viewed Facebo [...]

ChaCha, The Tortoise Of Social Search, Keeps Plugging Away

ChaCha, which was one of the early Q&A or social search sites, is something of a survivor. It started out in late 2006 audaciously challenging Google with chat-based human-powered search and then reinvented itself in 2008 as a mobile site, with voice and SMS search. Repeatedly dismissed and even ridiculed it has defied critics and grown to 10 million monthly uniques, double its audience in 2009. It also developed one of the broadest and most effective marketing platforms (SMS-based) to reach youth and young adults. ChaCha last year integrated with Facebook and started a social network o [...]

Google, Content Farms & Why This May Be Blekko’s Moment

At the beginning of Google's "Searchology" event in early 2007 original Google employee Craig Silverstein opined, "If Google had started a year or two earlier, it wouldn't have worked." That's because prior to that time (1998) the internet wasn't yet large enough to require Google or enable people to see the value of its approach. As sites and pages multiplied exponentially Google became an increasingly necessary tool. We're all familiar with the story. Now Google controls a majority of search traffic in most countries around the world. It has become a seemingly unstoppable force. The in [...] Debuts Local Biz Search, Goes After Google

Not long ago quietly introduced its own local business search. The site, the original "people search" engine, has always offered "yellow pages" listings but now the company has built its own database in the background. Accordingly, WhitePages claims its data are more accurate than you'll find on search engines and Google in particular. The company goes directly after Google in its press release and a related video introducing local business search: For example, if someone was using Google to look up contact information for Target in the Seattle area, more than 6,000 result [...]

Bing Adds Facebook, Twitter Sharing To Shopping

There are a number of "social shopping" sites and, of course, numerous product or shopping-related blogs. Among the most visible in the first category are Kaboodle, ThisNext/Stylehive and Polyvore. They offer tools and features that allow people to share, compare and vote on products. The mainstream shopping comparison engines such as or PriceGrabber don't fully enter into this realm, although is giving away an iPad if you become a "fan" on Facebook: One could argue that the group-buying phenomenon, exemplified by sites like Groupon and LivingSocial (although t [...]

Facebook’s Alternative Internet Vision And Its Search Implications

I attended the F8 Facebook developer event this morning and might have live blogged it but the public WiFi connection was extremely slow. Maybe that's a good thing; aspects of what were announced had me confused, especially the privacy issues raised by the announcements. I'm not a developer and this event was geared toward them; much of the keynote was about code and simplifying integration and so on. That aside, the vision articulated by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Bret Taylor, formerly of Google and Friend Feed (acquired by Facebook), is of a more social internet, where relationships [...]

Social Bookmarking Service Xmarks Adds Ratings To Search Ads

Social bookmarking service Xmarks, which began life as a Firefox social bookmarking add-on called Foxmarks, has developed an interesting new service called "SearchBoost." It permits star ratings to appear as an overlay in paid-search ads (in Google, Bing) for users that have the company's browser add-on installed. Xmarks CEO James Joaquin told me the Xmarks active user base is currently 4 million people, and that the company manages a database of more than one billion bookmarks consisting of 350 million URLs. Xmarks users conduct roughly half a billion searches per month. The overlays [...]

Digg To Shut Down Its Toolbar, Unban Domains

SEOs (and probably a lot of others, too) are celebrating with today's news that Digg will shutter its toolbar and unban all previously banned domains. Digg's new CEO, Kevin Rose, says the changes will happen with the upcoming relaunch of The DiggBar launched almost exactly a year ago, and was immediately met with criticism from publishers who didn't like their content being framed, and from search marketers who pointed out that it robbed sites of credit for inbound links. Digg later changed how the DiggBar works in response to these criticisms, but in his announcement today, Rose [...]

Live Blogging SXSW: Social Search, A Little Help From My Friends

It's live blogging time again from SXSW. Today, the Social Search: A Little Help From My Friends panel gets underway.On our panel today Marc Vermut, Fine Point Solutions Brynn Evans, Bolt|Peters Max Ventilla, Aardvark Ash Rust, OneRiot Scott Prindle, Crispin Porter + Bogusky Brynn starts off with a presentation (see her slides here). She's been researching social interactions during search tasks. Think about search as no longer a question in a box but what about how your friends might be able to help you. Say, "How do you interpret a 110 on the GRE?" That might be a bet [...]

Is Facebook Becoming More Important Than Google?

That intentionally "inflammatory" headline is inspired by an article that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday, "Facebook directs more online users than Google." The article cites Compete data and says, "Facebook has passed search-engine giant Google to become the top source for traffic to major portals like Yahoo and MSN, and is among the leaders for other types of sites." Partly intoxicated by that SF Chronicle article, All Facebook wrote "Facebook Posts Phenomenal Growth In Search," citing an Information Week article that itself cites January comScore search share data: [...]

URL Shorteners Come To Google & Facebook

Google announced a new URL shortening service It doesn't replace and others because it only works right now with the Google Toolbar (and Feedburner) and you can't directly access it as you might one of the established tools: Google URL shortener is not a stand-alone service; you can't use it to shorten links directly. Currently, Google URL Shortener is only available from the Google Toolbar and FeedBurner. If the service proves useful, we may eventually make it available for a wider audience in the future. The Google Toolbar for IE and Firefox also now allows users to share an [...]

“TV Guide For The Internet” Clicker Comes Out Of Beta

The label, "TV Guide for the internet," doesn't fully capture the intent or the extent of Clicker. We first wrote about the site when it appeared at the TechCrunch50 event. It was then in a closed beta. However today, a mere 58 days later, the site launches to the public with a number of new features and additional content. Former Ask CEO Jim Lanzone, now the CEO of Clicker, has described the site as "the first structured, comprehensive and unbiased programming guide for internet television." And in today's press release the site calls itself "Complete Programming Guide for Internet Televis [...]

Pew: Almost 20 Percent of Internet Users Update Status With Twitter (Or Other Social Net)

Already widely reported from yesterday the Pew Internet & American Life almost 20 percent of US Internet users are on Twitter or updating their status with another social network: LinkedIn, MySpace or Facebook. According to the report: Some 19% of internet users now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves, or to see updates about others. This represents a significant increase over previous surveys in December 2008 and April 2009, when 11% of internet users said they use a status-update service. Three groups of internet users are mainly responsible for [...]

Google Social Search Is Coming & More On Google-Twitter

Google's Marissa Mayer has announced at the Web 2.0 Summit that Google Social Search will be launching in the coming weeks. I've seen an early release of it. It's way cool. Below, what details we have now about this plus some follow up on today's Google-Twitter search deal that was announced. NOTE: Google Social Search is now live. See our Google Social Search Launches, Gives Results From Your Trusted "Social Circle" post. I'm in a bind because I can't say more about the product than what Mayer released today. I wasn't able to make it to Web 2.0 nor were her remarks on the product broadc [...]

Aardvark Revamps Site, Becomes “Social Search Engine”

Aardvark has redesigned its site and repositioned somewhat as a "social search engine." The site can be accessed directly, via IM, Twitter and the iPhone. You can also sign in using Facebook Connect, which sends your activity on Aardvark back to your news feed on Facebook. What Aardvark is trying to do is not new -- there have been Q&A sites for some time -- but it's trying to execute as a better version of the concept of peer-to-peer advice or answers. Once could also call this "human powered search." Services like kgb and ChaCha also try to do something similar but with trained "guide [...]

New StumbleUpon Adds Search, Social Elements

StumbleUpon wants to be a search engine. Kind of. It also wants to be more like Twitter and Facebook. Kind of. Better search and better social elements are the two cornerstones of StumbleUpon's new web site, which was announced this week and will roll out to all during the next month. There's no doubt the site looks better. Beyond the cleaner layout, StumbleUpon says its new features include: search for sites within your own favorites search your friend's favorites improved friend search capabilities improved site navigation improved navigation within user profiles There a [...]

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