Archives for September 2009

Hidden Google Gem: Google Mobile App

We recently recorded a video of one of my favorite “hidden gems” at Google: the Google Mobile App, which does voice recognition to make searches easier on a mobile phone. It’s available for the iPhone, Android phones, BlackBerry, Nokia S60, and Windows Mobile. In the video below, I ran the Google Mobile App through its paces on an iPhone:

We basically decided to say queries until something went badly wrong, and I almost ran out of queries. I did:
[behavioral economist]
[ed felten dmca]
[fox theater redwood city california]
[time in beijing]
[39 centimeters in inches]
[answer to life the universe and everything]
[safebrowsing api safari firefox]
[custom made pinata] < - this got recognized as [old custom made pinata], but the search results were still fine [google quality guidelines] [sheraton hotel boston massachusetts] I can't promise that the voice recognition work as well for you, but I have noticed that the voice recognition has improved considerably since the mobile app first launched. If the recognition doesn't quite understand your accent, I hope it will in the future. Give it a try though, because you might like it.

30 Day checkin: book challenge

So how did I do on the “15 books in 30 days” challenge? Not too badly–I made it through 12 books. I could probably have squeezed in three more books, but I’d rather take my time and enjoy books than artificially force things for a deadline. I’ll make up those last three books later. 🙂

This month is really busy with some internal Google projects–don’t worry, not related to webspam–so I’m not planning to do a new 30 day challenge this month. I have kept biking in to work and I’m enjoying it more lately. I think I’ll enjoy biking even more after I bling my bike out with the full-color LED lights I bought from MonkeyLectric at Maker Faire. Here’s an image from MonkeyLectric’s gallery to show you what they look like:

MonkeyLectric LED Bike lights

I have to say, they’re a big step up from my Tireflys, which are just LEDs that stick on the stem valve of your bike tire.

Digg adds nofollow to some links

Digg recently added nofollow to some links on their site:

We’ve added rel=”nofollow” to any external link that we’re not sure we can vouch for. This includes all external links from comments, user profiles and story pages below a certain threshold of popularity.

I think this is pretty smart. Digg isn’t adding nofollow to everything, just the links that they’re less sure about. Once a story looks real to them, I can imagine that they would lift the nofollow. I discussed this for Google web properties in a recent video:

Google does something similar with Knol. Initially Knol authors received nofollow’ed links, but as we gain more trust in authors, we can remove those nofollows. As I recently said in another video, if a site like Wikipedia had good confidence in an editor, you could imagine links made by that editor not having the nofollow attribute. So if you have a way to determine which user-generated links are trustworthy, that could be a more nuanced measure of when to use the nofollow attribute. I discussed this subject a bit more in this video in case you’re interested. It’s about 1:24 into the video:

So new move by Digg is a positive change in my opinion, because Digg decreases the benefit for spammy stories but Digg still helps normal and high-quality stories in the search engines.