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Old 10-06-2004   #1
Anthony Parsons
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Google To Snap?

I was just reading the new innovation and release on http://www.snap.com, and am quite curious to whether Google may also take this road. Refining the query after the search by variable factors is an excellent idea, outside of the algorithm, to allow the user the ability to refine to their ideals, not an algorithms. This kind off takes the onus of the engine a little, by placing the refinement process with the user. Bit harder to manipulate each user than to manipulate an electronic means! Interesting stuff...

I would really like to see Google push this themselves...knowing they have a big announcement from the Web 2.0 conf.

Here is one piece on it: http://news.com.com/New+Snap+site+th...news.1032.1 0

And you can find plenty more within the web 2.0 posts coming out.
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Old 10-06-2004   #2
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Froogle may eventually allow some dynamic comparisons or something, but the beauty of Google is that it is just one form box and you hit enter. if the regular Google search gives you sorting options they show their algorithm is less than perfect and that works against their brand. I can't see them doing it to their regular search results anytime soon.
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Old 10-06-2004   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Parsons
I was just reading the new innovation and release on http://www.snap.com, and am quite curious to whether Google may also take this road. Refining the query after the search by variable factors is an excellent idea, outside of the algorithm, to allow the user the ability to refine to their ideals, not an algorithms. This kind off takes the onus of the engine a little, by placing the refinement process with the user. Bit harder to manipulate each user than to manipulate an electronic means! Interesting stuff...

I would really like to see Google push this themselves...knowing they have a big announcement from the Web 2.0 conf.

Here is one piece on it: http://news.com.com/New+Snap+site+thinks+outside+the+search+box/2100-1032_3-5397793.html?part=rss&tag=5397793&subj=news.1032.1 0

And you can find plenty more within the web 2.0 posts coming out.
This is an interesting little engine. They definitely open the books... as they grow they become the perfect blueprint on search engine development ... I hope the approach does not set them up for others in the industry to ride the coattails and then swamp them.
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Old 10-06-2004   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seobook
if the regular Google search gives you sorting options they show their algorithm is less than perfect and that works against their brand. I can't see them doing it to their regular search results anytime soon.
This is true, though for their localized search model.....wow, what potential does this have to fix that up quick smart and in a hurry? Lots IMHO. They have the means, but simply struggling to find the end result quickly; though this little concept is a big initiative in the right direction for local.

Yep....main results would possibly admit defeat, but then again....Google have already proven themselves in that aspect, changing direction would not necessarily be a bad thing if its an improvement. Interesting...
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Old 10-06-2004   #5
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Snap's link policy

Looks like some people have been some digging around with Snap and found out the following weird link policy in their Terms & Conditions:

"Unless a User has a written agreement in effect with us which states otherwise, User may only provide a hyperlink to the Site on another Web site, if you comply with all of the following: (a) the link must be a text-only link clearly marked "snap.com" or "www.snap.com"; (b) the link must "point" to the URL "http://www.snap.com" and not to other pages within the Site; (c) the link, when activated by a User, must display the Site full-screen and not within a "frame" on the linking Web site; and (d) the appearance, position and other aspects of the link must not be such as to damage or dilute the goodwill associated with our name and trademarks or create the false appearance we are associated with or sponsor the linking Web site. Perfect Market reserves the right to revoke its consent to any link at any time in its sole discretion."

Obviously, this is an insane link policy... that's not the way the web works. This echoes some of the crazy anti deep linking policies back in the day...
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Old 10-06-2004   #6
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...but the beauty of Google is that it is just one form box and you hit enter.
I agree with SEOBOOK about the simplicity of Google. Its one of the main reasons for its growth to the leader it is.

Im trying to look at this from average Joe User's perspective and trying to put on my usability hat. The home page is a bit encumbersome and I cant tell if Im searching for information for the whole web or just this site. I purposely didnt look at any of the information on how to use the engine, because, well most users wouldnt. Most users still try to conduct their searches off of one keyword.

While we as professionals in this industry and can appreciate what Snap is trying to accomplish, it may need some work to simplify, at a glance, who they are, what we are searching, and what we (Joe User's) can do when we search using our one keyword and dont find what we want.

I disagree with SEOBOOKs second point:
Quote:
if the regular Google search gives you sorting options they show their algorithm is less than perfect and that works against their brand. I can't see them doing it to their regular search results anytime soon
I dont think this would show a deffeciency with their SERPs (of course we all know they do have problems) but a deffeciency in the way users conduct their searches. The sorting options allow the user to narrow and refine their search rather than backing all the way out and, quite probably, going to Y! or MSN.
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Old 10-06-2004   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doppelganger
Obviously, this is an insane link policy... that's not the way the web works. This echoes some of the crazy anti deep linking policies back in the day...
so much for the transparency angle...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Martin
I disagree with SEOBOOKs second point:

I dont think this would show a deffeciency with their SERPs (of course we all know they do have problems) but a deffeciency in the way users conduct their searches. The sorting options allow the user to narrow and refine their search rather than backing all the way out and, quite probably, going to Y! or MSN.
I think their brand is something like...thanks to the democratic nature of the web and the power of Google you can find anything with one click.

they still do not have a related searches feature broadly enabled. I have seen it tested once, but that is it.
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Old 10-07-2004   #8
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I've split discussion of myGoogle Search to here: myGoogle Search.
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Old 10-07-2004   #9
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Thumbs up Updated: Snap linking policy

Looks like Snap founder Bill Gross has said he's changing the policy... At least, that's what it says here: http://www.boingboing.net/2004/10/06...ps_unforg.html

It's always encouraging to see a company that will listen to the feedback they're getting and do something about it in a timely fashion. Kudos to Snap for changing that policy.
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Old 10-07-2004   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doppelganger
Looks like Snap founder Bill Gross has said he's changing the policy... At least, that's what it says here: http://www.boingboing.net/2004/10/06...ps_unforg.html

It's always encouraging to see a company that will listen to the feedback they're getting and do something about it in a timely fashion. Kudos to Snap for changing that policy.
The smaller the company, the easier change is to implement as well as adopt to new technolgies and innovations. This, and the willingness to take risks, is what the "small guy" has over the main industry players.

That being said, with Google doing their best to hire as much brain power as NASA and that they are trying not to have the mentalty of a typical Wall Street company, may allow them to remain the leader of the pack for quite awhile by continusouly incorporating valuable feedback.
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Old 10-07-2004   #11
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IMO the average surfer prefers simplicity - which is why Google currently rules. Refinement after refinement is really geared towards the more acedemic searcher.

Back to snap. I loved the livedirectory section that they offered in 1999-2000 before it became a spam-fest. It'd be great if they could come up with something akin to that (doubtful I know).
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Old 10-07-2004   #12
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Originally Posted by Webmaster-Toolkit.com
IMO the average surfer prefers simplicity - which is why Google currently rules. Refinement after refinement is really geared towards the more acedemic searcher.
This is true, though using the same algo they do now for the initial search, really shows no indifference to the basic user. The search engines themselves are trying to teach users how to use their technology more efficiently and narrow results, ie. the basic user types in a one word phrase and wonders why they get nothing relevant for something they should be typing in a four word phrase to find.

If narrowing your search and refining it to the point of taking semantics out of the equation is left optional, then that should not affect the basic user interaction, whilst allowing those more experienced with the search engines to find exactly what they want with a little more ease. It is the experienced users that then teach the basic user. My wife sucked at searching for her university material, then I sat down with her and pointed her to more specific engines and then how to use each engine more effectively, in which now she has no problem finding research material.

Its a slow process, but advancement must go on. We cannot stop for the basic user and remain. Keep up, or get left behind is the stance that needs to be taken to some extent. This is nothing different for your OS really. The web weaves its way to fit the updated OS. Those who choose not to upgrade beyond a certain reproach, get left behind and forced to upgrade if they want the same experience. Searching should be no different IMO.
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Old 10-08-2004   #13
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Its a slow process, but advancement must go on. We cannot stop for the basic user and remain. Keep up, or get left behind is the stance that needs to be taken to some extent.
I whole heartily disagree.

That is exactly what must happen.

Do we grind 'the basic user' beneath the wheels of progress?

Most studies I've read say that most interet users would fall into the 'basic user' category. Search is still a mysterious technology for most users. They dont understand how it works and, because of this, dont know how to use it properly. The more behind people feel the more intimidated they become and the less likely they are to want to struggle with it.

Instead of leaving people behind, we should take the initiative, whenever possible, to educate. And I dont just mean our clients and executives.

I dont share the mentality that the SEs want to be our friends and we walk off together into the sunset hand-in-hand, however, the education of 'the basic user' i.e. most users, is something we should work on together as it is mutually benefecial to both our livelyhoods.
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Old 10-08-2004   #14
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I think most users are actually quite ignorant and lazy in most aspects towards search. I agree that we need to educate, I am not saying we don't, but I am saying that the search engines need to push forward anyway, regardless of the lazy user who doesn't want to exert any effort to move forward. Do we remain a constant, or do they provide some simple instructions and push on?
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Old 10-08-2004   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Parsons
I think most users are actually quite ignorant and lazy in most aspects towards search. I agree that we need to educate, I am not saying we don't, but I am saying that the search engines need to push forward anyway, regardless of the lazy user who doesn't want to exert any effort to move forward. Do we remain a constant, or do they provide some simple instructions and push on?
Overall you are probably correct in your assessment of the "average" user, but there's nothing saying that an SE must sacrifice a technology or an interface or take on overwhelming programing costs to service the basic crowd. As a matter of fact, an SE might find that it is to their benefit to raise the bar just a bit if it can improve the results and let them target a slightly more sophisticated user.

Let's face it, for most, 50% of their users will never click on an ad and will never pull out a wallet to buy anything anywhere anytime on the Internet in their lifetime. So if you raise the bar and knock out the bottom 20% of users who are Internet clueless, what have you hurt?

Go for where the money is! I've run into people who are killing themselves trying to make themselves all things to all people. Yet if you have a visitor who is running Win 95 with IE 4.0 and 16-colors on 640, this is NOT a prospective client and chances are the guy running on a 28.8 connection is either so cheap to afford an upgrade computer that he's not going to be a customer either.

Technology must move forward and drag people with it. There would still be people using Win 3.1 if it was still supported.
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Old 10-08-2004   #16
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Technology must move forward and drag people with it. There would still be people using Win 3.1 if it was still supported.
The difference there is, arguably, the interface was improved to make it easier for users to interface with the OS and increase stability. Im not refering to technology that aids users in more easily using web applications.

This thread is talking about the refining features of Snap and my comment was that the interface does not make it easier for the average user to use or easier to understand. While I can appreciate what Snap is trying to accomplish, as far as an interface, they have a ways to go yet.
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Old 10-08-2004   #17
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This thread is talking about the refining features of Snap and my comment was that the interface does not make it easier for the average user to use or easier to understand. While I can appreciate what Snap is trying to accomplish, as far as an interface, they have a ways to go yet.
Then you are assuming that everyone want "average users", which IS my point. Not everyone wants average and not everyone who is above average wants to be limited by the speed of slowest kid in class. It's why Photoshop sells for $650 and why MS Picture-it Premium sells for $39
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Old 10-08-2004   #18
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Then you are assuming that everyone want "average users", which IS my point. Not everyone wants average and not everyone who is above average wants to be limited by the speed of slowest kid in class. It's why Photoshop sells for $650 and why MS Picture-it Premium sells for $39
The point being made is that Snap needs to simplify its interface not its technology.

In its current state it is complicated to use, most of us have read the research or done our own and now how lazy most users are. They want you to do thinking fo rthem and hold their hand and make it as easy for them as possible. This is the 'average user' and most users are average users. If Snap's target audience is search professionals and well lets face it...geeks like me, then great. If its my dad, mom, wife , kids, etc. they have a ways to go yet.
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Old 10-08-2004   #19
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The point being made is that Snap needs to simplify its interface not its technology.

In its current state it is complicated to use, most of us have read the research or done our own and now how lazy most users are. They want you to do thinking fo rthem and hold their hand and make it as easy for them as possible. This is the 'average user' and most users are average users. If Snap's target audience is search professionals and well lets face it...geeks like me, then great. If its my dad, mom, wife , kids, etc. they have a ways to go yet.
Jeff, you can stop trying to demean me by pointing out "the point". I know your point is all about the average user, the 12 year old, the AOL newbie, and granddad, and having an interface that a complete idiot can get through. The last I checked, these are users but most are not clients. In other words, they waste bandwidth.

Great! You have done your "own research" on lazy Internet users. LOL... it's the same thing that a million others including myself have done on a very large scale (no disrespect for any little study infering the obvious intended). I do however, think that you have significantly overstated the case. No, Snap not intended for 12 year olds. But are you saying that it takes a geek to pull significant results from Snap? I don't think so. I assume that you recognize that there is a lot of room between a 12 year old and an average geek user.

It is obviously meant for mid-level users and above. That's called market segmentation and frankly, it's pretty darn smart. They know they aren't going to compete in Google's space and aren't trying. If all they wanted was to create another Google clone, then they've done nothing to differentiate themselves, and there is no reason for anyone to use them instead of Google.
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Old 10-08-2004   #20
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Jeff, you can stop trying to demean me by pointing out "the point".
There is no demeaning, Im trying to keep this thread on topic...it is what we Moderators are here for

Quote:
Originally Posted by papdoc
I know your point is all about the average user, the 12 year old, the AOL newbie, and granddad, and having an interface that a complete idiot can get through. The last I checked, these are users but most are not clients. In other words, they waste bandwidth.
Wow thats over 90% of Internet users who are a waste of bandwidth

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Originally Posted by papdoc
Great! You have done your "own research" on lazy Internet users. LOL... it's the same thing that a million others including myself have done on a very large scale (no disrespect for any little study infering the obvious intended).
Ouch, those guys from Palo Alto are usually pretty accurate on their findings

Quote:
Originally Posted by papdoc
No, Snap not intended for 12 year olds. But are you saying that it takes a geek to pull significant results from Snap? I don't think so. I assume that you recognize that there is a lot of room between a 12 year old and an average geek user.

It is obviously meant for mid-level users and above. That's called market segmentation and frankly, it's pretty darn smart. They know they aren't going to compete in Google's space and aren't trying.
I am not aware of their business plan and market segment, if you are you are then your one-up on me. Which is why I stated:

Quote:
Im trying to look at this from average Joe User's perspective and trying to put on my usability hat. The home page is a bit encumbersome and I cant tell if Im searching for information for the whole web or just this site. I purposely didnt look at any of the information on how to use the engine, because, well most users wouldnt. Most users still try to conduct their searches off of one keyword.

While we as professionals in this industry and can appreciate what Snap is trying to accomplish, it may need some work to simplify, at a glance, who they are, what we are searching, and what we (Joe User's) can do when we search using our one keyword and dont find what we want.
Quote:
Originally Posted by papdoc
If all they wanted was to create another Google clone, then they've done nothing to differentiate themselves, and there is no reason for anyone to use them instead of Google.
As I mentioned earlier, if they can simplify their interface as G has, not clone them, and provide a refinement in the same manner then they may attract a much broader audience which Im sure they would like to do.
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