Posts Tagged Web search engine

Google Wave – the next generation of communication?

Lars Rasmussen introduces Google Wave
Image by dailylifeofmojo via Flickr

Within minutes of Microsoft launching their new search system that is set to revolutionise the way we search, Google announced one of the most innovative applications yet to grace the World Wide Web.

Microsoft must have been so disappointed when all the web and blog headlines were NOT about their new search engine strangely named Bing. No, what caught every web enthusiasts eye was the launch of Google Wave.

Google Wave is Google’s attempt to rid the World of our archaic emailing system. They began their presentation with the notion of how old email has become in its 40 years of existence. It’s something that was designed and developed in a time when instant messaging, cloud computing, Facebook, Bebo and other social networking sites didn’t exist. They believe that now is the time to make the change to a new more advanced system that will incorporate all the “real-time” functionality that most of us live and breathe today.

Although I have to admit some of the functionality is mind-blowing and in places hugely innovative -  albeit that the system is developed with the yet to be fully HTML 5 standard – I’m yet to be convinced that it will actually replace people’s use of email.I just can’t see the normal joe soap trying to get to grips with this system when they hardly understand how to cc a number of people in a simple email.

Google plan to release a lot of this innovative code as part of their Google Web ToolKit which is an absolute dream for any web developer. They will also provide a fully open API which will allow developers to use the power of the system for their own applications, whether it be web, mobile or desktop!

One side of me is so excited about the release of Google Wave. That is the programmer side of me, the one that lives and breathes web innovation – we haven’t had anything like this in years! The other side – I’m kind of like, “so what?”. I personally see it as being the final string in Google’s stealth approach to building the World’s largest social network.

What do you think? Have a look at the launch here:

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Red Cardinals FREE €3k Conversion Optimisation of your website!

The much respected SEO expert, Richard Hearne of Red Cardinal, has today launched an amazing offer for Irish website owners. He promises to give 5 Irish websites a free Conversion Rate Optimisation service worth €3,000 for free. Yes FREE!

To be in with a shot of getting this amazing offer for your business, get yourself over to his blog by clicking here
Further details of the offer are at the link above too.

Great idea from Richard and great opportunity for some Irish business to get their website making money for them!

You certainly won’t get a better offer anywhere else on the web!!

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Fight duplicate content with the “Canonical Tag”

Duplicate content is something that has been an issue for quite sometime in terms of search engine optimisation and now Google, Yahoo! and MSN have introduced a new way for webmasters to deal with this issue in the form of the “Canonical Tag”.

In simple terms it allows webmasters to specify the preferred version of a URL. Using the Canonical Tag, webmasters can now sleep safely in the knowledge that Google knows that there is a preferred URL and that it should not penalise the site for having duplicate content to due an obscure URL structure created for programmatic purposes.

How do you use this tag?

Well simply add something like this within the head area of your HTML:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/page.php?idname=web-design”/>

More information

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Geansai Gorm – the latest “Greatest SEO” competition

Damien Mulley, via the Irish Web Awards, has launched the latest search for Ireland’s greatest SEO.

Entrants are asked to try and rank their site number 1 in Google for the gaelic phrase “Geansai Gorm” (translated to Blue Jumper).

The basic rules are that you must use a brand new domain name, none of the keywords can appear in your domain and you can’t use 301 redirects.

I’ve never been a fan of these competitions myself because for an established SEO it’s an easier task to achieve results than those that have nothing to start with. Generally an established SEO also has access to a number of strong sites that they can quickly get good links from.

Already this morning there are a number of blogs that are appearing in Google for  ”Geansai Gorm” which will make the task for the entrants that little bit harder.

It will be interesting to see who the winner will be none the less! Hopefully the winner can do the whole site “as gaelige” too!

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Where do I stand on web coding standards?

In my business, I’m constantly involved in debates on a regular basis discussing how important developing websites to the latest coding standards actually is.

In most cases, people expect me to be a huge fan of the latest W3C web coding standards. A lot of these people believe that all professional web design agencies should do nothing less than provide my clients with websites coded to the latest web standards.

However the reality is, that although I completely believe in the concept of having web coding standards and that it is for the common good and the future of the Internet, I’m not convinced that every website has to be developed to the latest coding standards right now.

Those that think it is the only way to do websites now are generally egotistical snobs who like to brag about being able to produce standards compliant websites.

I think it’s time to cut out the b*llshit.

Let’s look at the arguments most pro-standards compliant supporters use to justify their cause.

  1. Sites coded to the latest coding standards perform better in the Search Engines
    This statement is simply untrue. A site can perform just as well developed in the old fashioned way as it can in the new way.

    But with all statements related to this topic, it was taken completely out of context and made a fact by those that didn’t really understand what it meant.

    The truth is simple, a properly coded CSS based, compliant standard website should have less code than your old table based website. In theory a search engine should be able to pick up the important content of your website more easily, since there is less code. However, a clean coded website in the old fashioned way can do just the same too.

  2. Quicker and more flexible
    In some cases you can agree with this, but in others you can’t. There are a few things that can be done quickly in HTML that take an age in CSS, but this goes both ways. So I don’t think it’s fair to use this as an argument for the cause.

    Another argument is that CSS based sites download quicker… that too is highly debatable and comes down to how well a site is coded. Here’s a recent study : http://www.decloak.com/Dev/CSSTables/CSS_Tables_02.aspx

    The fact is that in theory a CSS based site will have less code, so it should be a smaller file size. In turn this should relate to a faster download. I completely agree with that.

    However, if the site is badly coded and uses unnesseccary code, it will be the same amount of code as the old way.

  3. Accessibility & Cross Browser Compatibility
    This is one that really gets to me. Most people that use this as an argument don’t really understand what accessibility actually means. So just for you, here’s WikiPedia definition of accessibility:

    “Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product (e.g., device, service, environment) is accessible by as many people as possible. Accessibility can be viewed as the “ability to access” the functionality, and possible benefit, of some system or entity.”

    My only issue with wikipedias definition is the highlighted part. Accessibility is about access for all (http://www.sustainable-design.ie/arch/adapthouse.htm) not just a few people.

    So unless your site is nearly completely text based, your website will not work in old browsers. Have a look at a browser compatibility chart : http://vzone.virgin.net/sizzling.jalfrezi/stylebml.htm

    For me, it is more impressive for a web developer to have his website work well in all browsers than someone who can just code for the latest browsers.

    To date, most webmasters base their website accessibility test on W3C’s WCAG 1.0, which are just that, guidelines. How many web designers that claim to be 100% accessible have actually sat down with someone who has activity limitations? I would imagine very very little.

    Instead, they use a program to test how well their site is coded. Webmasters being webmasters, have spent years hacking their code to work in different browsers, so you can imagine how easy it is to trick a piece of software that just looks for dodgy code. In theory you could have an inaccessible website, that will pass this test, yet it could be claimed to be accessible. Thankfully WCAG 2.0 will focus more on the actual accessibility rather than the websites code.

    On and just to add more to this argument, you can create an accessible website no matter which route you take in terms of coding standards.

With our clients, we’ll continue to give them the pro’s and con’s of each different techniques. It must be noted that a lot more people care more now about the latest coding standards than working in older browsers.

The change is coming, so make sure you evaluate all issues before deciding on which route to take your website. Both ways have equal pro’s and con’s associated with them.

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