Thursday

Is Google Entering Web 2.0?



Of the four new product announcements made at Google Press Day,
Google Co-op
looks to have the greatest potential impact. This service
allows users to
subscribe to the "bookmarks" of experts in hopes that
the relevance of
search results will be improved.


The product manager for Google Co-op, Shashi Seth, described Google
Co-op as
follows: "Anyone can contribute. We expect it to work in a
three-part
process. At the first stage, the contributor will ask users
to subscribe
with specific pieces, relying on user trust and desire to
utilize their
content. At the initial stage contributors will 'sell' the
Co-op product on
their own sites and bring their own audience. Then
we will tally how often
they are used and the level of interaction and
whether to build a signal. As
confidence increases, the contributor
has a better chance of getting into
the Google Co-op directory. Once
they are in the directory, it will make it
easier for others to subscribe.
And finally, with more quality proven, the
information may affect Google
Search itself."


Basically, Google Co-op allows web masters to improve search results in the
topics they know best. Google Co-op creates a meta search engine, combining
other specialized search engines that are created by its' users.

What Does this Mean for Us?

These developments have very exciting implications for web masters. The
chance to influence Google rankings is always an exciting thought.

Google is entering into the world of communities by letting users contribute
their knowledge and expertise to improve search results for everyone. This
was confirmed by Shashi Seth, the lead product manager for Google Co-op who
recently stated that Google Co-op is the search engine's push into
community-based searches.

This service certainly seems similar to the many social bookmarking sites
that have exploded on the internet in the past couple of years. Furl, Digg,
del.icio.us, Scuttle, Yahoo! MyWeb 2.0, and others all offer ways for users
to share information. Google entering into this giant arena may very well
spark some additional growth of Web 2.0.

For the web developer and search engine optimizer, these developments are
very enticing. Here's how you can take part.

How to Get Started

To build a topic, you must first decide on a set of labels and their
presentation in the user interface. After that, you must annotate web pages
to improve the search experience for yourself and for your subscribers.
Depending on your topic you may want to label hundreds or even thousands of
web sites or web pages.

To begin, simply go to Google.com/coop. Sign in and create a profile and a
label. If you want to create a page about dog training, you might label it
"dog training." Then, you could put all sorts of information in that page.
Others can contribute to that page or subscribe. The more subscribers you
get, the more relevant your page becomes.

For a complete tutorial on creating a topic, go to
http://www.google.com/coop/docs/guide_topics.html.

Once you get started, you will be given a profile page. This is where users
can learn about you and get more information about your contributions. Users
can then decide whether or not they want to subscribe to your topic. Your
profile page also includes:


a.. Your recent contributions
b.. what kind of labels you've added
c.. Your subscribers and…
d.. Links to your own web sites or blogs

You can allow people to subscribe to your topics by sending them to your
public profile, enabling them to add your work to their search results.

However, the power of Google Co-op goes even further. To get the most
benefit out of these new developments, you'll want to chëck out subscribed
links.

Subscribed Links

Subscribed Links allow you to gain frëe promotion for your website by
enabling you to add your services directly into Google search. This makes
your links much more prominent for people who are subscribed to your
content.

Google provides a number of special features, including currency conversion,
movie showtimes, and stöck quotes. You can create your very own services as
well by building subscribed links.

Other web sites have already begun offering these customized services.

OpenTable created a subscribe link that delivers real-time information about
restaurant availability whenever they perform a restaurant search on Google.
These specialized links lead to a web page that allows you to make
reservations on OpenTable's website.

People Magazine built a subscribe link that gives users relevant celebrity
info based on the queries they type into Google. When users subscribe to
their content, they receive priority links at the top of Google search
results that lead to more detailed celebrity info on the People Magazine
site.

You can create similar applications and allow your users to add your
subscriptions to their default Google search page. These results appear in
the Google one box, a special text area with a light green background. So,
if someone subscribes to your links, they will instantly see your website at
the top of the results whenever they search for topics related to your
expertise.

For a complete guide on creating subscribed links, go to
http://www.google.com/coop/docs/guide_subscribed_links.html.

For webmasters, this is a very exciting development. Expect to see some
"Subscribe to our Links!" buttons appearing on web sites very soon.

Ready to Get Started

Google Co-op is nöw in it's infancy stage, the perfect opportunïty for you
to gain some ground early in the game. The Google Co-op directory is
currently very small, with only a handful of topics being covered. By
getting started nöw, you can gain an advantage on those who enter in later,
much like those who have established their rankings early on within the
Google search engine. Kim Roach

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