Google Chrome – Released, First Impressions

Google Chrome web browser has been released to the world now and I just could not help but download it and install it to see how it looks and works. My first impressions are that it installed quickly and runs fast.

The install was smooth. Chrome even imported all of my bookmarks and some other settings in from Firefox. I imagine it would do the same if Internet Explorer was set as my default web browser. Once it was installed it launched and I was presented with the default home page which in my case was blank. Now that I have used it a little the home page presents me with thumbnails of my most visited websites.

Websites seem to load fast in Google Chrome. I have not sat down and tested the load times but websites do feel like the are loading faster. GMail and Google Reader definitely feel faster. Google Gears is built into the browser and is installed along with it. I have not bothered trying Google Gears until now, but I can see why people like using it. Using Google Reader in offline mode is considerably faster.

Some other first impresssions of Google Chrome that I like:

  • Google Gears being built in. Very easy to use in offliine mode.
  • Application shortcuts to create a slimline browser mode for GMail, Google Reader, Twitter and any website you want. Combined with Google Gears this makes Google Reader into a nice desktop application.
  • I like the home page showing the most visited sites. But I am sure I could do this in Firefox if I wanted to.
  • The “Omnibox” so I can search right from the address bar but Firefox does this already as well.

Things I already miss from Firefox:

  • Addons – Like Adblock, TwitterFox, Web Developer etc. Things that I use all the time while I am using Firefox. I can’t see using Google Chrome full-time until it supports similar addons.
  • That is all I can think of at the moment.

The best thing about the browser is: it is fast!. It will be interesting to see how the browser progresses. What are your first impressions of Google Chrome?

Google Chrome – Coming Soon to a Computer Near You

I first read about this project over at Google Blogoscoped. Apparently they sent a comic book in the mail talking about Google Chrome, Google’s Web Browser project. Google’s official blog now has a post on the project. Looks like they sent out a copy of the comic book early. TechCrunch has a story on the new browser as well. It looks like the beta will be out tomorrow with a Windows only version available right a way with Apple and Linux versions to come later.

It is interesting that Google has decided to create its own web browser. It has basically funded Mozilla Firefox, but apparently that is not enough for Google. The Google Chrome web browser is open source project so other projects can look at what Google has done and use that in their projects. It is nice to have more open source web browser innovation. That will certainly keep Microsoft on their toes. If they were worried about Firefox taking away their web browser share, what will a web browser created by Google do to Microsoft’s web browser share. This should also help Google make their web applications more accessible, since Google Gears could at some time in the future be an integrated part of the web browser.

Things I am not to happy about Google introducing a web browser.

  • It means I have yet another web browser that I need to test websites in. Granted things should look similar to Firefox, but you never know.
  • The paranoid part of me is not so sure I like the idea of using a Google web browser. Google can already track me and my preferences through search, advertising on their network, RSS subscriptions that I read, sites I maintain through Webmaster Tools and most people don’t even realize that if they have a Google account their web history might be being recorded already by Google. Not to mention the Google Toolbar. Do we really want Google to know every website we visit and keep a record of it? I don’t know if the Google Chrome web browser will do that, but it would not surprise me.
  • The TechCrunch article talks about malware and phishing sites. “Google will also continually download a list of phishing sites and list of malware sites to your computer, which will be used to warn you when you visit them. Site owners will be notified when their sites are put on either of the lists so false positives can be remedied.” How will site owners be notified? How do you report a false positive if your websites makes it on the list? Will you competitors go and submit your websites to the malware/phishing list and force you to fill out a reconsideration request?

I guess we won’t know all the details until the browser is released. With the release of Google Chrome web browser can the Google Web OS be very far behind?

I know what I will be trying out tomorrow on my Windows computer.

Google Opens Knol to Everyone

Google has announced on the official Google blog that Knol has been opened up for everyone. Knol is Google’s version of Wikipedia and Squidoo mashed up together. You can create a Knol on a variety of topics much like a Squidoo Lens. You can also collaborate with others to help build a Knol making it more like a Wiki.

Creating a Knol is pretty simple. Just visit and click “Write a Knol”. You will need a Google account to be able to create Knol’s. It is a simple process to get started.

I really wanted to try out this new service so I created a small Knol on my company. It is fairly basic at the moment and does not contain a great deal about what I do, but it only took me a couple of minutes to write up and publish.

Google Knol

The editing interface is simple and resembles more of a word processor, so it would be easy to use for all those that are just getting started publishing on the Internet. One of the things I like about Squidoo Lenses is the ability to add some interactive elements like polls and comments and the ability to import RSS feeds and other items from social media. These do not seem to be present in Google Knol, I could find no way of adding my latest blog post into the Knol.

If you want to check out Google Knol go and create your own Knol and tell the world what you know. I will have to update mine when I get some time.

Google Trends for Websites – Missing Google Data

Google Trends is a great tool. I use occasionally to see what is hot and what is not on the web. Recently Google Trends released Google Trends for websites. A very interesting addition. You can now see trends for websites that you enter. This addition is not very helpful for small websites that don’t get a lot of traffic, but it can be fun to play with.

One interesting thing I noted is there is no data available for any Google websites. Searches on Google Trends for websites for sites such as,, and all come back saying:

Your websites – – do not have data to display.

I suppose that makes sense for if it is taken from search data. Why would people search for on There must be people that search for Blogger or Youtube on Google though? If you try or there is data. There is even data for sites like and

I checked the “Learn more about why data may be unavailable for your websites” link to see why they don’t have all websites. Here is the answer from the FAQ:

10. Are all websites included?
No. Not all websites are included in Trends for Websites. The following types of websites may not appear in the tool:
* Websites with low traffic volume below our threshold
* Websites that don’t wish to be indexed by Google and have indicated their preference through a robots.txt exclusion file
* Websites that don’t adhere to our Quality Guidelines
* Other websites for miscellaneous reasons

I guess Google’s websites must fall under “miscellaneous reasons”. They don’t care if the whole world can get an idea of the kind of traffic Yahoo and MSN get but is still suppose to be a secret. That is a little disappointing Google.

if you have a minute check Google Trends for websites out. It can be interesting.

Other Links:

Update: TechCrunch has picked up on this now as well. Google Trends For Websites Rocks, Unless You Want Data On Google.

Google Actually Posted Something OFFICIAL on Bought Links

blank1.gifI was going to write a comment on the official Google Webmaster Central Blog but decided it would not get posted so I thought I would post it here instead. Google has actually written up something regarding buying and selling of links that is NOT on Matt Cutt’s personal blog so I guess we can actually believe it since anything on Matt Cutt’s personal blog has a disclaimer attached to it that says “The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.” I find it disgusting that official news about Google and what it is doing comes out through a non-official channel. It is even disgusting that the post on the official Google Webmaster Central Blog links to Matt Cutt’s personal blog for references (with no nofollows attached by the way). If it is official news about Google have the guts to post it on official Google blogs.

The long and the short of it is if you get caught buying or selling links Google will slap you with a penalty. Currently it only appears to be a PageRank penalty, but considering how Google flip flops on things like nofollow the next thing we hear will probably be a total ban from Google. The only way to fix it is to submit a reinclusion request after removing the bought links from a site and admitting that the great Google god was right.

The blog post has a little question and answer section that I would like to reinterpret for you with just a hint of sarcasm, just for fun.

Q: Is buying or selling links that pass PageRank a violation of Google’s guidelines? Why?
A: Yes, it is, because we can’t actually tell what links are organic and what ones are bought so we are going to pass the buck and blame webmasters for all the problems we have in sorting out our algorithm.

Q: Is this a Google-only issue?
A: No. All the major search engines have opposed buying and selling links that affect search engines. The other search engines though, do a much better job at being able to tell what is a paid link and what is organic than we do. Try using Yahoo search and see what I am talking about. We are the great Google Internet god and what we say goes so we want every one to stop buying and selling links so we don’t have to work. This is just easier for us.

Q: Is that why we’ve seen some sites that sell links receive lower PageRank in the Google toolbar?
A: Yes. If a site is selling links, that can affect our opinion about the value of that site or cause us to lose trust in that site. These rules don’t apply to Google however, we can do whatever we want. Give us $1995.00/year for a mini search appliance and we will list you on a PageRank 7 page.

Q: What recourse does a site owner have if their site was selling links that pass PageRank, and the site’s PageRank in the Google toolbar was lowered?
A: The site owner can address the violations of the webmaster guidelines and submit a reconsideration request in Google’s Webmaster Central console. Before doing a reconsideration request, please make sure that all sold links either do not pass PageRank or are removed. You also have to admit that you were totally wrong in what you were doing or we will never consider your request.

Q: Is Google trying to tell webmasters how to run their own site?
A: No. We’re giving advice to webmasters who want to do well in Google. Webmasters are welcome to make their sites however they like. We can run our protection racket business however we want. If you don’t want to play along you never know what might happen to your website in our index. Even if you are the most authoritative site for a topic, accidents happen and your website might just disappear. (Think mafia movie)

Q: Is Google trying to crack down on other forms of advertisements used to drive traffic?
A: No, not at all. Our webmaster guidelines clearly state that you can use links as means to get targeted traffic. We just want disclosure to search engines of paid links so that the paid links won’t affect search engines. Of course in the future we might change our minds and only allow our advertising methods to be used, just like we have changed our minds about how nofollow is suppose to be used. So you better get ready to start spending a lot on Google Adwords because that is the only method we will allow in a couple of years. Again this also does not mean that we always have to disclose our ads.

Q: I’m aware of a site that appears to be buying/selling links. How can I get that information to Google?
A: Read our official blog post about how to rat out all of the other webmasters who rank above you for your keywords that sell paid links. We’ve received thousands and thousands of reports in just a few months, but we welcome more reports so we can punish all those that don’t follow our rules. We appreciate the feedback, because it helps us take direct action as well as improve our existing algorithmic detection. We also use that data to train new algorithms for paid links that violate our quality guidelines. What that basically means is, we go in and hand edit the search results to punish sites that sell links, because we really have no way of knowing. The whole thing is just a facade. Also, don’t worry about Yahoo, we don’t count them as selling links because they review the websites they list, and we know that the majority of webmasters out there don’t review the links they sell as long as they get paid.

Q: Can I get more information?
A: Sure. I wrote more answers about paid links earlier this year on my personal blog, that every one should read even though it is not an “official” Google information source and just my own ramblings. And if you still have questions, you can join the discussion in our Webmaster Help Group where no one really reads your questions or ever gets back to you about anything. Try it out sometime, there is nothing like never having a question answered.

Google really makes me sick sometimes. I wonder if maybe the web would have been better off without them?

Time to move along, nothing to see here!

Google PageRank Update – Time to Move On

Well Google finally updated the public PageRank and there have been a number of big name bloggers and websites that have been slapped with a drop in PageRank. I won’t regurgitate the whole nasty mess, a good read about it all is over on Andy Beard’s blog post Digg Favorites Slapped By Google. It looks like my little place on the web has so far escaped the wrath of Google, and heck makes me look pretty good since some of those big names got knocked down to a PageRank of 4, the same as here.

It is time for Google to drop the public PageRank. People used to buy and sell links for the advertising and traffic it used to bring. Google then came along and provided webmasters with some arbitrary number that they could use to help sell those links. If Google wants to stop people selling links for PageRank, the solution is for Google to stop telling us what the PageRank is. There will be a lot of webmasters and bloggers that would be upset about that, but they would get over it.

Google needs to stop trying to get webmasters to fix their algorithm problems with paid links and nofollow and find a way to fix it themselves.

Do Google Gadgets Work?

I was browsing through all of the Google Gadgets today and, while there are some really interesting ones, I have to wonder “do Google Gadgets work to help keep visitors on your website/blog?” Does embedding a game of Pac-Man make anyone stay on a website any longer if there is no interesting content?

What widgets/gadgets do people find useful to add to their websites that help to improve a users experience?

What If Google Had to Design for Google?

How different would Google’s home page look if they had to create it for Google, or any search engine really. The only thing that needs to be added is the whole nonsense of the rel=”nofollow” tag. You would want to control the flow of PageRank through the site and those external links should all have nofollow or they might be considered paid advertisements. Thinking about the rel=”nofollow” we should start a webmaster movement to place rel=”nofollow” on all links to Google. After all those links might be considered paid links by other search engines, and we can’t really trust the information that Google is going to give out.

Google’s Staff Has Had a Few Too Many Special Brownies

For everyone that might be following the controversy about Google punishing websites for selling paid links you need to read “NoFollow is for Blog Spam…no Paid Text Links, wait…Paid Ads…Aww Heck, Just Stop Linking and Let Calacanis Decide the Rankings” series by Jennifer Laycock over at Search Engine Guide.

  • Part One: The Evolution of NoFollow
  • Part Two: But Yahoo Reviews the Sites! You Do To? Oh, Umm…Yeah, That’s Different Though!
  • Part Three: The FUD Effect

She has voiced a lot of what I have been thinking about Google the last few days. I will have to make sure to read part four.

My favorite quote from part three:

On the other hand, Google’s staff has had a few too many special brownies if they don’t think penalizing sites will send buyers and sellers deep underground even more rapidly.

Maybe we should start a boycott Google day? There are other boycott days where you are not suppose to drive your car, or use the computer. Perhaps if we could all get together for one day and not use Google for search, turn off the Adwords ads, remove the Adsense ads, etc etc then maybe Google would get the hint. And no I have not had any special brownies, just a beer.

Google = Mafia?

Everyone seems to be talking about Google the last few days and how they have started to penalize websites that sell text links, such as Text Link ads. Search Engine Watch has an interesting article on the topic and Daily Blog Tips has decided to stop selling text link advertising altogether.

The Search Engine Watch article states that

Google said that some sites that are selling links may indeed end up being dropped from its search engine or have penalties attached, to prevent them from ranking well.

There are several things that bother me about Google and this whole campaign against selling text links.

  • Text links have been around a lot longer than Google. It was one of the best forms of advertising long before Google came along with their PageRank formula that relies on links to calculate. People used to buy text links for the actual traffic it could send, not for some mystical Google PageRank juice. If Google wants to do something to stop text link advertising to manipulate Google rankings, then they should stop using links to calculate the rankings in the first place.
  • There appears to be a double standard from Google. They want people to have advertising on their websites, but only Google Adsense (or some other Google approved advertising system). I sell text links on some of my websites and I have to tell you if I have to choose between running Google Adsense for revenue and selling text links, I would take text links. Google Adsense is unreliable as far as income is concerned. I can sell text links and have a more stable income source from month to month than I ever had with Google Adsense.
  • Many blogs run other ads on their sites, typically you see the 125 x 125 ad spots, with no nofollow attribute on the links. Many blogs rely on that income to continue to operate. What is stopping Google from targeting that advertising next, or affiliate marketing now that Google has pay per action advertisers. If Google threatens to drop your rankings for having other forms of advertising on your site they are no longer providing people who search the best results. Shouldn’t the search results be about the actual content, and not whether the website sells links, or have other forms of advertising?
  • Google is starting to sound a little bit like the mafia running a protection racket. Drop the paid links or you never know what is going to happen to your search ranking. I can almost see the scene from a gangster movie. Search engines should return the best pages for a query, irregardless of how the website makes money.

Personally I find the whole Google campaign against text links to really show a problem with Google and their PageRank algorithm. Google needs to reexamine how they catalogue and rank websites and pages. Search results should not have anything to do with whether or not a website sells links or not. Does Google really do their users a good service by filtering results based on a websites monetization? Google needs to stop the mafia act regarding text link advertisements and spend some time working on how they rank websites in the first place. Yahoo and MSN are probably watching Google closely here. They might just have a chance to gain a little ground on Google.