With just a handful of days left in 2012 -- and a fighting chance we will avoid the Mayan apocalypse -- it's time to start forecasting what awaits us in 2013. Google had a big 2012, rolling out scores of new products while making countless adjustments to its old ones. In 2013, it will continue to face competition on all sides -- and here are five things to keep an eye on as the New Year ramps up.
"Applications, rather than the browser, are now the predominant windows to the world's information."
That's a claim in a recent Microsoft Online Services Division job post. But it's also the thinking of some inside the Microsoft Bing search team.
As I have blogged previously, Microsoft's AppEx (Application Experiences) team of a couple of hundred developers is the unit that built a handful of applications that have shipped as part of Windows 8 and Windows RT.
But how and why did it fall to the Bing team to create these programs?
"A lot of … Read more
The Federal Trade Commission may bring its two-year antitrust investigation of Google to a close by allowing the company to make voluntary changes to its search business, according to a report.
The search giant is said to be readying an announcement about changes to its use of "snippets," bits of text culled from sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor and displayed in search results, Politico reports, citing unnamed sources. Yelp and others had charged Google with using their content without permission.
Google will also make tweaks that will allow for easier porting of search-ad campaigns from Google to … Read more
Windows XP users can now take advantage of Microsoft's Bing Desktop app to run searches without leaving their desktop.
Released yesterday, Bing Desktop version 1.1 supports all versions of Windows starting with XP. The latest flavor also lets you set your desktop wallpaper to match the image displayed by the Bing home page. You can cycle through the past nine days worth of images, according to Microsoft. And as the Bing home page image changes each day, so will your desktop wallpaper.
The Bing Desktop sports a search bar at the top so that you can enter a … Read more
Earlier this month, Google shared a fascinating statistic. The number of items in the company's Knowledge Graph -- its database of people, places, and things, and the connections between them -- had tripled in size over its first seven months in the wild, to 18 billion facts.
Up until this month, though, those facts were available only in English. It wasn't until December 4 that Google made the Knowledge Graph truly global, by introducing it in seven new languages: Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, and Italian.
The project to make Knowledge Graph content available in … Read more
If you've ever wondered where to find the best iskender kebab in Istanbul or a good accountant in Ankara, Yelp might be able to help.
The local business reviews site announced today it has expanded into Turkey, the 20th country in which Yelp has launched its service. Yelp plans to focus its efforts on Istanbul, the country's largest city, Miriam Warren, Yelp VP of New Markets, said in a blog post today written in both Turkish and English.
"Our initial community building efforts in Turkey will concentrate on Istanbul, the only city in the world to span … Read more
There's a certain beauty to the Festivus pole. It's tall. It's undecorated. It's made from aluminum, a material with a high strength-to-weight ratio. It doesn't have the maintenance needs of a Christmas tree and its plain, unfussy look thoroughly captures the spirit of Festivus. Though Festivus isn't celebrated until December 23, Google is already getting in on the holiday action.
When you google the word "Festivus," you get all the expected search results. There's a link to Wikipedia. There's a link to a place to buy Festivus poles. And, hello... what's this, Google? There's a virtual Festivus pole over on the left side of the screen. Scroll down and you reach the base.… Read more
Search for porn using Google Image Search today and you might not find much.
The company rolled out a change to its image search algorithm overnight that makes it tougher to stumble across adult pictures, whether or not you're searching for them.
Here's how a Google representative explains the change:
"We are not censoring any adult content, and want to show users exactly what they are looking for -- but we aim not to show sexually-explicit results unless a user is specifically searching for them. We use algorithms to select the most relevant results for a given … Read more
The death of Whitney Houston in February led to Google's top search for 2012.
Looking at the world's most popular searches for the year, Google's Zeitgeist 2012 uncovered a variety of people, events, and even a couple of tech products.
In second place behind Houston was music video phenom Gangnam Style. Hurricane Sandy took third place, followed by the iPad 3, Diablo 3, Kate Middleton, the 2012 Olympics, Amanda Todd, Michael Clarke Duncan, and BBB12.
The list also drilled down to the top searches among specific categories, including people, movies, TV shows, and consumer electronics.
The iPad … Read more
Google CEO Larry Page was friendly with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs off and on, Page says in a new interview.
Speaking to Fortune in an interview published today, Page said that he and the late Apple co-founder were friendly "at times." He failed to elaborate on when he wasn't so friendly with Jobs. He did, however, hint that it might have had something to do with Android.
In Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs, the Apple co-founder said that he was willing to go "thermonuclear war" over what he believed was Google's theft of … Read more