Below are Search Engine Land’s 10 most popular stories from November 2008:
1) Maps Of Fires In Southern California: November 2008 Edition – Fires are burning in Southern California once again. Here’s an update on how to find maps of where the blazes are.
2) Are Our Brains Becoming “Googlized?” – Are our brains being rewired by using the Internet? The evidence tends to be pointing that way. As somebody interested in how the mind works, I read with interest the results of a recent study at UCLA that used the sexiest research tool around today, fMRI scanning. fMRI allows researchers to see which parts of the brain are active when participants are exposed to different stimuli. And for the first time I’m aware of, this was used to track brain activity while people engaged in various online tasks, including searching. First of all, the “official” story of the study. Then I’ll launch off into my own personal speculation, as the study raises some mind altering implications, and I use that term “mind altering” in it’s literal sense.
3) Election Results From The Search Engines & Beyond – Today, the United States is electing a new president, voting on one-third of the seats in the U.S. Senate, and voting on all 435 seats in the House of Representatives. An important election? To say the least! Not to worry, though. The internet, and the major search engines, in particular, will have you covered. Here’s a look at how the search engines are planning to help you get the real-time election results you’re looking for tonight.
4) Google’s New Search-Based Keyword Tool Tells You What Keywords You’re Missing – Google released a new keyword tool tonight, named the Search-Based Keyword Tool. This tool goes beyond what the other Google tools provide and tells you what keywords you are currently missing out on based on search query data from your site’s content.
5) Google SearchWiki Launches, Lets You Build Your Own Search Results Page – Google will announce today (Update: official announcement) the launch of SearchWiki, a major addition to its user interface that allows users to edit search results. When using SearchWiki, you can re-order, remove, or add web pages to the search results for any query. You can also add notes to specific listings. You have to be logged in to a Google account so that the changes you make will be saved and shown the next time you run the same search. “This is a way for search to adapt to a more interactive experience,” says Google Product Manager Cedric Dupont. “We ran a bunch of experiments, and the response was overwhelmingly positive from our users. They asked for this feature.”
6) Eagerly Awaiting Google’s Voice Search For The iPhone – Yesterday, arguably the top tech story of the day was Google’s introduction of voice search for its iPhone app. As of this morning, the updated app still isn’t available in the iTunes store (that’s not Google’s fault). I spoke yesterday afternoon with Google’s Mike Cohen and Gummi Hafsteinsson about the app and how it would work. What they described was something that sounded qualitatively different in terms of accuracy and usability vs. competitive offerings now in the market.
7) Google Hosting Time-Life Photo Archive, 10 Million Unpublished Images Now Live – TimeWarner and Google have announced that starting today Google will make available millions of images from the Life Magazine photo archive. The vast majority (97 percent) of these images have never been seen by the public (they were sitting around in physical envelopes). These are hard-copy photographs that have been or are being scanned by Google and will be hosted by Google. They will show up in Google.com and Google Image search results. All these photos are available in high-resolution (5 and 6 megapixels). The images will be free to use for “personal and research purposes” but will be digitally watermarked to prevent unauthorized or unlicensed commercial uses. There are links to appropriate contacts for those who want to use the images commercially.
8) Google SearchWiki 101: An Illustrated Guide – Google SearchWiki — a new feature that allows you to move and comment on search results — has been out for less than a day, and it’s amazing to see how much confusion (as well as commentary) there is already developing. So below, some clarification on how it works, opportunities search marketers should consider, some privacy issues and ideas for improving it.
9) Where Can I Vote? Google Maps Lists Voting Locations! - According to Google Trends, lots of people are currently trying to figure out where their local polling place is. So it’s time for a good reminder of what we covered earlier. Google Maps has a special area and search shortcut to help you find where you’re registered to vote, voting location hours and more. Searches like where can i vote or polling places make a special “shortcut” box appear at the top of Google’s results.
10) Who’s Got The Flu? Google Flu Trends Reveal State-By-State Activity - Wondering if it’s just you or if others have the flu, too? Google’s announced a new tool that tells you. Google Flu Trends allows you to see flu activity across the United States. How’s Google doing this? Is it now indexing actual human beings, in the way it does web pages? Nah. Turns out that when you’re sick with the flu, you search for that word and other flu-related topics. Google can tell which areas are seeing a spike in flu-related searching, and from that, trends can be plotted.
To see all of our most popular stories over time, visit our Most Popular Stories page.