Sunday, May 30, 2010

Google Wave - Is it still there?

Last year Google introduced a new work collaborative application called Google Wave. It seemed an answer to many business people's dreams but it no longer looks as inviting.

Is it because Google launched the product too soon? Is it because non-techies have a hard time with it? - and as all IAs know the ideal software is one in which the users are unaware of, and certainly not frustrated by.

I've experimented with it but NONE of the business users were happy with it and didn't participate. I've heard several others voice the same the thing. No matter how good a product is, if it is not used it isn't useful.

Here's hoping to a comeback. Wave has great potential.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What is a good bounce rate?

A bounce rate, for those not familiar with the term, is the percentage of users who come to your site and then leave without going to another page. Too many SEOs, and other experts, write articles and give seminars where they say such things as “any bounce rate under 50%” is good,” or that a “30-40% bounce rate is good” and a 50% bounce rate means that you have to work on x, y or z in order to bring your site to the optimal bounce rate percentage.

I don’t think any such generalization can be made. You may have a page for upcoming events and the user went straight there to make certain he had the date and location correct. People may be looking for your phone number, find it on the first shot, and then bounce off. It does not mean that there is anything wrong with your keywords, your site organization, or the way you are presenting information on a page. It means the user found what they were looking for.

Frequent visitors to your site are probably not going to crawl through your site each and every time they come there. They are coming for specific reasons. Often times that will mean that they will get what their looking for on the first page.

Example: you’re looking to find out if your team won or lost last night. You go to and there is the score on the top of the page. You may not want to go any further. You found your information and you left. The same thing holds true on your website. You could lower the bounce rate by forcing the user to click through a series of pages to find the data they’re looking for (such as hiding your company address or phone number) but that would be counter-productive.

What does this mean? It means that you cannot have a one-size-fits-all approach to bounce rates. If a frequent user comes to your blog he may not click through your site but still be a very satisfied user. Analyzing your bounce rate will have to include thinking about the user – if the user found what he was looking for and bounced off. Great. Don’t dwell on the fact that he didn’t stay longer. The more the user incorporates you into his routine the less he is going to crawl through your site.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why Time Travel is Impossible

Of course this cartoon can be deconstructed but it's meant to be funny and thought-provoking - and it is.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Google Includes Site Speed in Search Ranking

Give 3 cheers to Google. They are trying to take account of how fast a page loads when determining their search results. This is a tremendous advancement: advancing properly coded pages over poorly coded ones. The devil is in the details but including page load and rendering speed in their ranking algorithms will only make things better for all of us.

Now, if only they can determine the original content writer and rank the site higher than copycats. I suppose it will become practical in a few years as Google increases their indexing and computer/database speed increases.

Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that's why we've decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.

While site speed is a new signal, it doesn't carry as much weight as the relevance of a page. Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on at this point.

Using site speed in web search ranking

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Facebook and Privacy

Once again Facebook has added a feature which will share information beyond what most people will expect. There is a new privacy setting called "Instant Personalization" that shares data with non-Facebook websites and is automatically set to "Allow."
As the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Kurt Opsahl notes, Facebook introduced this concept using the innocuous topic of "cooking." Who wouldn't want to be known as a fan of cooking? Unfortunately, the same rules apply to more controversial pages you might also like:

"Previously, you could list "cooking" as an activity you liked on your profile, but your name would not be added to any formal "Cooking" page. (Under the old system, you could become a "fan" of cooking if you wanted). But now, the new Cooking page will publicly display all of the millions of people who list cooking as an activity.

"Cooking is not very controversial or privacy-sensitive, and thus makes for a good example from Facebook's perspective. Who would want to conceal their interest in cooking? Of course, the new program will also create public lists for controversial issues, such as an interest in abortion rights, gay marriage, marijuana, tea parties and so on."
PC WORLD: Facebook Gets a Little Too Personal

Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites > Instant Personalization and uncheck "Allow".

When you uncheck the box the following pop-up appears:

FWIW if your friends don't do this they will be sharing information about you.