In case you didn’t see where I confirmed it on Twitter, Google recently did a toolbar PageRank update. It’s pretty much done now. If you want more info, I’ve answered questions about PageRank and the Google Toolbar in the past.
I predict that this will be the last toolbar PageRank update of 2008.
(I’m not with my parents this Christmas, but I’m thinking about them and thought I’d post this.)
I was chatting with my parents a couple weeks ago and the subject turned (as it often does) to Google. They wanted to give me feedback on some Google products:
- My Dad has been using Google Book Search, and he said that it’s gotten a lot better since last year (mostly because he found more books, but I think he also liked the newer features). He used it to check out some Physics books and see what level they were at before he bought them.
- My Mom has been using Picasa 3 on her Vista laptop. She says that it’s got a lot of nice features — she especially likes the straightening feature in Picasa. She says that Picasa lets her do more work without opening up other programs.
- At this point, my Dad chimed in with a guilty admission: that he’s not using Google Chrome. “Dad,” I said, “you’re running on a Mac, so you couldn’t easily run Chrome anyway. They’re still working on it, but it’s totally fine if you want to stick with Firefox. Use whatever works well for you.”
- Then my Mom hit me up with a feature suggestion (she often has good ideas to improve Google’s services). My Mom uses Gmail and she also interacts a lot with people that speak Chinese because of a charity she works with. So she’s often in a situation where she gets an email in Chinese and wants to translate that email into English. She can do that via the Google Translate web page, but it’s a hassle to go to that separate page. She wanted a “translate into my language” button in Gmail that would auto-translate any text into English. I didn’t have a great answer for her, so I told her I’d pass the suggestion on.
On the last suggestion, I had a few thoughts while my parents and I talked, but I wanted to do more research. Some of the options I found:
1. The Gmail blog mentioned a new Gmail Labs experiment to let you add any Google gadget to Gmail. I wasn’t sure if this would work though, because probably the gadget wouldn’t be able to access the main frame with your email.
2. Then I thought this would be a pretty good Gmail Lab. In theory, you just take the content from the current email and send it to Google Translate. It seemed more like gluing two existing services together. Maybe a Googler would be interested in a 20% project to try this?
3. Then while doing the research for this post, I think I found an easy answer for my Mom. Since the last time I looked at it, Google Translate has been beefed up quite a bit, including a new tools section with a one-click bookmarklet to translate an entire page (or the selected text on a page) to your desired language. If you want to translate text into English, click on the “English” bookmarklet link and drag it to your bookmark bar on your browser. Then to translate any web pages into English, just click that “English” bookmarklet. Want to translate just some text? Then select that text and click the “English” bookmarklet.
So that was the product feedback from my parents (Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad!). Anyone have feedback of their own on Google’s products?
I published traffic stats for my blog for 2006 and 2007, so it’s time for the 2008 statistics.
The rough summary is:
2006: 1.7M visits and 2.9M pageviews
2007: 2.3M visits and 4.8M pageviews, plus 31K RSS readers
2008: 3.4M visits and 5.7M pageviews, plus 46K RSS readers, 7986 followers on my Twitter stream, and 1607 subscribers on FriendFeed.
My most popular posts had nothing to do with search engine optimization (SEO). The top traffic-driving posts of 2008 were:
- My Gmail power tips post.
- My “Best Business Card Ever” post.
- The series of blog posts about Chrome that I did in September 2008.
- My two posts about my Halloween costume and Google’s anti-zombie robots.txt on Halloween.
In addition, my how to hack an iphone article was posted in Sept. 2007 but continued to drive especially strong traffic. If visitors were all I wanted, I’d write about nothing but the iPhone.
Almost as interesting were my traffic sources:
Google and direct visits were a large fraction of my traffic, but so were sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Google Image Search, Techmeme, delicious, and Twitter. It’s a good reminder that social media sites and places like image search can drive quite a bit of traffic.
All of this data is courtesy of FeedBurner and Google Analytics, which make this sort of analysis quite easy. What do your 2008 traffic stats look like?
I used Wakoopa to track which applications I run on my home Windows machine. Here’s what it says:
When 96% of your computer time is spent in a browser, that’s living in the cloud.
I noticed that The Guardian drew up a list of top 100 sites for 2009. There’s a lot of great sites on their list, from stackoverflow.com to popurls.com to xkcd.
One snag for me is that The Guardian only recommended two sites for blogging: Bloglines and WordPress. WordPress is great and just came out with a new version. But I haven’t seen as many changes happening in Bloglines compared to Google Reader. So I thought I’d hit FeedBurner to check on my recent RSS reader stats. Here’s are my stats:
My readership data is going to be way-skewed, but I do think Google Reader is more popular than Bloglines these days. What do your FeedBurner or RSS reader stats look like?
P.S. If you haven’t see Lee Odden’s post about it, Lee collected the subscriber numbers for a bunch of search-related blogs a while ago.