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Google Base API

By hagrin - Posted on 22 August 2006

Google has released a new Google Base API for developers to make even more applications for the Google Base index. What's interesting about this API post is that Google provided a small demo for developers to start brainstorming possible API implementations. As always, I'll be taking a look at the new API to see if there are potential applications I could build to help Google users.

Personalized Mobile Google Home Page

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

Google announced the initial offering of their personalized home page for mobile users. Now, the same content you could get on your personalized IG page, you can now get on your mobile device.

This announcement comes with great timing for me since my Blackberry 7290 is waiting for me at home. It's been a while since I have had a cell phone (I feel like I waste so much time just talking), but the 7290 will allow me to use it more as a data device than a cell phone. Hopefully (this is the plan), I will be able to do more updates during my travel times on the train and really become as efficient as possible.

AdSense Click Fraud - ClickBots

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

We all knew they existed, but now we have the code to prove it. Recently, code was discovered that showed a website utilizing a botnet to create fraudulent mouse clicks on Google AdSense ads to generate revenue for the webmaster and in turn the botnet master. With the increase of organized crime's Internet presence, we're now seeing that malicious motives have turned from defacements and destruction to fraudulent capitalization. Wondering how it works?

First, a hacker/cracker will backdoor several hundreds to thousands of computers by exploiting a vulnerabilty, using a scanner to detect all vulnerable targets and then infecting those victim machines with a trojan horse and/or virus. The malicious application usually contains code that creates a connection to a centralized server (IRC is the connection of choice for crackers/hackers) that allows the botmaster to control all zombie computers through a command line statement. Once this botnet is assembled, these botmasters will seek "clients" to purchase their services. In this scenario, webmasters running advertisements on their websites are purchasing the services of these botnets to randomly and covertly click on their advertisements in order to generate revenue. The ad revenue then pays the botmaster for his services and the cycle continues ...

Obviously, the implications here are the potential for fraud with a PPC based advertising system and the difficulty in detecting fraudulent clicks when they occur. With a seemingly random selection of computers from networks all over the world, I can't imagine that Google could be overly successful in protecting the investments of their advertisers. Throw in a couple of page views before the ad click and I can't see how Google would be able to distinguish this click from a legitimate one. As bots become even more sophisticated, one can only speculate as to the true amount of click fraud occurring in AdSense and YPN! programs.

Google Trends

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

Although I'm not too sure how this slipped by me, Google has released Google Trends which allows you to see the trends in overall user searches for a specific search term. Google doesn't label the Y-axis with any types of numbers; however, it does allow you to see relative increases and decreases for a specific term. In addition, like Google Finance, the graph is marked with indicators relating back to news stories of the day for that search term. These stories help SEO types figure out user trends when certain news stories break on the Internet and can provide matching content accordingly. Google Trends, as well as other Google search initiatives, were announced in this Official Google Blog post.

Google Calendar API

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

The Official Google Blog announced the release of the Google Calendar API which will allow developers to enhance the power of calendar data and create applications that will allow users to craft their calendar data to their specific needs. What makes the release of this API so newsworthy was teh speed in which it was released to the public. Although Planzo has an API for their calendar service, it's not nearly as complete as the Google API and we have seen the power in releasing APIs to the public (see Google Maps). Again, I need to set aside some time to play around with this API (might even have some applications to my full-time job) so hopefully I'll be able to produce something for everyone to use.

Best April's Fools Joke - Google Romance

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

Hahaha, you have to love Google sometimes. Google announced that they have released Google Romance. In my morning daze, I forgot that today was April Fool's until I saw the following underneath the right side box:

"Post multiple profiles with a bulk upload file, you sleaze."

Hahah, I seriously lost it at 9am on a Saturday morning (waking up my brother I think). But the jokes don't end there! In the FAQ, Google writes:

Then we'll send you both on a Contextual Date, which we'll pay for while delivering to you relevant ads that we and our advertising partners think will help produce the dating results you're looking for.

And of course, if you actually tried to upload a profile, well, you received the extremely funny "Profile Upload Rejected" error message. That error message made me think back to the movie Clerks ...

"No time for love Dr. Jones."

Google & Nike Create Soccer's Joga.com

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

Google and Nike have partnered up to create an online football / soccer community called Joga.com. Joga, meaning "play beautiful" in Portuguese, is the MySpace of the football / soccer world where football fans and players from around the globe can come together to create teams, find games to play, talk about their favorite teams and much more. I have already signed up (registering uses your Google Account information just like Orkut does) so the registration process is pretty painless. All you football fans, go sign up now.

Google Maps API Tutorial

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

Mike's Little Home Page (which might be the only thing "little" about Mr. Mike), has an amazing tutorial up concerning the Google Maps API. Mike states that the Google documentation is thorough; however, unless you have a mastery of JavaScript, the help files maybe difficult to comprehend. His tutorial really allows someone to quickly build a Google Maps application wth relative ease - so, if you're looking to add mapping functionality to your existing applications, Mike's tutorial is the place to start.

Why to Hate Google

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

I'm all for the occassional rant, but Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Watch does a great job of not only diagnosing problems, but also offering solutions to many of them. Danny's list has 25 points of which I agree with every single one of them. Even with all these points, I'm still impressed every day by Google's efforts although there is definitely room for improvement.

Danny's point about customer service cannot be echoed enough by me. There is a real "cloak and dagger" atmosphere when it comes to AdSense and AdWords support very few answers actually get passed back to the user and for non-paid applications, there is basically no support. I find it amazing that a huge corporation like Google really doesn't have the customer service staff that other companies its size does. Great read - definitely go visit Danny's article.

On the flip side, Danny offers his 25 reasons to love Google as well - can't have nothing but hate mongering going on! Of his 25 love points, I really saw a lack of in-depth explanations or comparisons against competing sites, etc. which makes me believe this was the fluff piece to release his much more interesting and relevant hate piece without being seen as a Google basher (Danny has great contacts in the industry and he wisely doesn't just go shooting from the hip without trying to ease the blow). Definitely two interesting pieces that when compared side-to-side show Google's current market dominance and areas where they can eventually improve and grow.

Google Mars Released

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

The Official Google Blog announced that Google has released Google Mars - an offshoot of their highly popular Google Earth program. Google Mars allows users to view the surface of Mars at several distances as well as an infrared-imagery map. Again, Google should be applauded for taking such highly coveted information such as sattelite images and providing them freely to the public so that additional discoveries can be made (i.e. finding new impact craters via Google Earth).