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While cruising Google Reader I noted some great articles and tips that you shouldn’t miss. Have a great read and an excellent weekend!

  • Google LogoGoogle’s Matt Cutts gives tips on what page extensions Google does not index. In summary, don’t expect Google to index .exe extensions or URLs that end with a “.O” such as “”; although Matt did note that the “.O” extension is being re-evaluated and tested for less troublesome indexing by Google.
  • An intro to Apple's new MobileMe application with an allusion to Dr EvilRobert X. Cringely wrote a great article on a “Microsoft-killer” strategy that he believes Apple is putting into play based on the new MobileMe service coming soon. Here is an excerpt:

    “Microsoft’s success is based on two products and only two products — Windows and Office. Microsoft is obsessed with the idea that Google will undermine one or both of those monopolies through Google Apps. This is all Steve Ballmer thinks about and is what made him so eager to spend $40+ billion for Yahoo. But what if the real threat isn’t Google at all, but Apple?” … Read more…

A picture of a fly swatter crushing a fly with Microsoft the fly and Yahoo the swatterNew details have surfaced of Microsoft’s most recent dealings with Yahoo and another offer from Microsoft that was again swatted down by Yahoo. BoomTown’s Kara Swisher talks of Microsoft’s most recent bid that was designed to stifle the Google and Yahoo partnership before it was signed; a very tempting bid at that.

Swisher also points out a very insightful article by Harry Blodget on “Why Yahoo Passed on Microsoft’s New Search Deal (New Details!)“. Blodget sums up the reasons for Yahoo’s choice well in this latest bid:

“Yahoo decided that the strategic drawbacks of the Microsoft deal outweighed the potentially huge financial and operational benefits… and told Microsoft to take a hike.” Read more…

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Windows Vista Lives

Very recently my old laptop started giving me a world of problems ranging from minor software to rather serious hardware issues. For a three year old laptop it just didn’t make sense to fix it, so I decided to take the leap and buy a replacement.

I originally had hoped on finding something with Windows XP, and the only new machine I could find with XP was through Dell – my now dead laptop was a Dell, so I decided to pass and jumped over to a Toshiba running Vista.

Surprisingly thus far I like Vista, and it has only given me a few correctable & minor inconveniences. Of course, only after purchasing the new machine did I read that Microsoft has again opened the doors to selling Windows XP, and it will be made available on “Ultra Low Cost” Notebooks and PC’s. Read more…

The Washington Post posted an interview with the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer today that touched on topics such as Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo and the future of advertising. What I enjoyed most was the segment on the Future of Advertising where Ballmer, in his animated way, discussed Microsoft’s plans for the future and their continuing contest with Google.

For a few years now Google has offered their AdWords advertisers an alternative to the online interface with AdWords Editor, a downloadable program offering additional functionality to make managing your campaigns just a little bit easier. Today at SMX Advanced, Kevin Johnson, Microsoft’s Platform & Services Division President, announced the launch of a similar such product for Microsoft adCenter, in Beta of course.

Microsoft’s vision is a fully functional desktop client version for adCenter, rather than just an editor. This means that tools such as those used for keyword research will be integrated into the software, a feature lacking by Google AdWords Editor.

This product launch will likely make many advertisers happy assuming it all goes smoothly. Our experience with adCenter is that of awkwardness as their interface is far from user friendly, taking several steps to complete a task done with only a single click over at Google.

Unlike many other beta launches that are accessible to only a select few deep pocket advertisers, adCenter Desktop beta is available to anyone with an account in good standing. If you meet the adCenter terms and conditions, you are eligible to apply. If interested in giving the beta a try, fill in their application form to be considered.

Google, Yahoo, and others are already there, and now Microsoft has decided to follow the leader with the launch of Mobile Display Ads.

On Tuesday Microsoft Announced it had opened the doors for advertisers to display banner ads directly to Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail mobile users.

Microsoft also rolled out its beta for keyword based advertising using Live Search Mobile, to be expanded in the second half of 2008. A select group of “invited advertisers can create keyword campaigns through Microsoft adCenter that target customers on the go. This will be the first time that Microsoft has enabled advertisers to monetize its popular mobile search service.”

Mobile advertising and search is still in its very early stages and, in keeping with tradition, Microsoft has followed behind Google and Yahoo. If they ever hope to boost their market share and better compete with the two leaders, Microsoft should really try launching initiatives like this first rather then constantly playing catch-up.

The service is currently available to advertisers in France, Spain, the UK, and the US. As keeping with the trend of new web developments, Canada is still left out in the cold.

Microsoft offered a sneak peak back in February, and as of Tuesday the public beta of WorldWide Telescope has been made available, according to a Press Release issued by Microsoft.

The online virtual telescope has been created in response to Google’s launch of Google Sky a few years ago, and takes things to the next level with a huge database of high resolution images from various stars, galaxies, and other non-earthly entities. Ray Gould spoke about WorldWide Telescope back in February and noted that some of “the best images from the worlds greatest telescopes from earth and in space are woven them seamlessly to produce a holistic view of the Universe.”

“The WorldWide Telescope is a powerful tool for science and education that makes it possible for everyone to explore the universe,” said Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft. “By combining terabytes of incredible imagery and data with easy-to-use software for viewing and moving through all that information, the WorldWide Telescope opens the door to new ways to see and experience the wonders of space. Our hope is that it will inspire young people to explore astronomy and science, and help researchers in their quest to better understand the universe.”

WorldWide Telescope, Much like Google’s Earth & Sky products, is offered free and is currently available for download. While the user interface is quite different, the overall experience is very similar. WorldWide Telescope has a more modern and sleek interface than Google Sky, but in the end both have about the same to offer.

I prefer the Microsoft interface with easy graphic thumbnails to take you directly to the celestial body. Personally I find that this new beta release offers a higher level visual experience, which is why I would likely turn to it in the future.

The web is afire with the news that after its latest bid attempt to takeover Yahoo failed, Microsoft decided to back down. My desktop news widget is going wild with this news… updating every 30s or so with more updates from Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Forbes, Information Week, CNet News, etc; hot news indeed. All those big time journals aside it appears that BoomTown’s Kara Swisher was the first to break the news. Read more…

Google Docs logoIf you’ve been swayed away from your Microsoft Office products and are now a frequent user of Google Docs you may be interested to know that a select few users will now have offline access to their Google Docs files, as Google begins rolling out their offline editing access.

On Monday Google announced in the Official Google Docs Blog the upcoming functionality to their software. The big push came with requiring the ability to work on your documents when on an airplane, commuting to work, or when your home internet access goes down. Read more…

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Update at Microsoft Live Search

Search Engine Roundtable reported Tuesday that Microsoft Live Search, in an effort to “loosen up the spam filter”, has seen a major update. Over at WebmasterWorld however many are annoyed at the apparent level of poor results.

‘caveman’, one of the moderators at WebmasterWorld, made the comment “the net result has been more pages from iffy, third tier sites ranking than I have seen in long while”

If across the board results will continue to be of lower quality, it would not be surprising to see Microsoft roll back the update – either that or watch their market share dip even lower into the single digits; a loss they can’t afford to take.