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(Continued) Book Review: The Search by John Battelle
Batelle discusses how Gmail—Google's free email service—caused quite a stir when users started seeing contextual ads alongside their supposedly private correspondences. The ads were so relevant that people couldn't help but believe that Google was reading their email! This raises all kinds of red flags, not just about Gmail, but about search itself.
You'll see a search-based business model that may reduce or eliminate your cable bills and help you turn cost centers in your business into profit centers. Is shopping a search application? How are blogs and RSS feeds changing the landscape of search?
The message is clear—get relevant content up on the Web, lots of it, and do it quickly! That will attract the search engines. They will bring you targeted traffic and you will concentrate on converting those visitors into customers.
Search will be in almost every device, including the nearly two billion mobile cell phones and PDAs, and anything else in which we can put a computer chip, including your suitcases, your cars and even your cars keys, and every product on the shelves in stores. If you want to sell a product or a service, you'd better post it online, because that's how your customers will find you. Dave Taylor of AskDaveTaylor.com calls this "findability" in his informative book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Growing Your Business with Google, which we'll review in a coming issue of The Deitel Buzz Online.
Trivia questions: Why did Google offer specifically $2,718,281,828 worth of their stock in their IPO? What's a Google dance" and a "Google bomb?" What's "Google juice," "Google whacking" and Google Zeitgeist?" Who's the "GoogleGuy?" What does the "Page" in "PageRank" really stand for?" What are A9, Alexa, Backrub, the Database of Intentions, the Force of the Many, del.icio.us, DMOZ, Flickr, the long tail of search queries, Nutch, RDF, SERP and Y!Q. Who owns the patent on the Google search algorithm? Who created the business model that has made Google so successful? What is the significance of mesothelioma in the discussion about paid search? Why was paid search initially considered unethical? You'll get answers to all of these in The Search.
How is Google changing the rules for content-based industries like book, magazine, music and movie publishing? Battelle argues that content providers need to expose their content to search engines to be "part of the conversation" or risk becoming irrelevant. Will copyright and trademark issues prevent Google from achieving it's goals of indexing the world's information and making it accessible? What happens when an AdWords advertiser buys keywords that are other company's trademarks—a practice that Google currently allows and would have a heck of a time blocking? The courts are grappling with the legal complexities of this issue.
If you believe that Google is crucial to the future of business and world commerce, you should read this book to familiarize yourself with the growing array of Google's services, including: AdWords, AdSense, Blogger, Froogle, Fusion, Gmail, Google Answers, Google Deskbar, Google Desktop Search, Google Maps, Google News, Google Print, GoogleScout, Picasa and many more. Lots of these are currently free services with no apparent business model. Just wait!
What's the semantic Web? How will it change search? What about personalization and localization? How are projects like The Internet Archive "adding a time axis to the Web?" And what exciting new kinds of applications will that enable?
As you finish reading this review, ask yourself one very important question, "Why should I care about 2bigfeet.com?"
John Batelle's informative, entertaining, anecdotal and deeply incisive book The Search is a great read. He's hosting the upcoming Web 2.0 conference I'll be attending in San Francisco. I can't wait to hear him speak!
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