Archive for July, 2010

Ninety-seven percent of Google’s revenue comes from advertising – that’s a staggering figure when you consider the company netted $23.7 billion last year.

So when it comes to tweaking the design on the homepage that has made Google the number-one search engine for 268 million users a day, the company is proceeding with extreme caution to avoid tampering with the success of those paid advertisements.

Though Google’s home page and the following results pages that appear after the user has typed in a query have gone through several subtle redesigns over the years, this new project is much more extreme, and therefore much more volatile. If it’s successful, it will improve the user experience so that Google can continue to maintain its edge over new search offerings like Bing and Yahoo!.

Critics say Google risks losing the feature that gives it their number-one appeal in the first place, a streamlined home page with no bells and whistles that makes the search experience easy. On the flip side, Google’s algorithm may be outdated, as Bing offers real-time results in tandem with algorithms that help determine relevance.

Google is gambling on the idea that a redesign will improve the user experience, and therefore the ad revenue as well. Whether the gamble will pay out is up to the enormous team of designers it already has likely working day and night on the task.

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As Twitter focuses more on how to monetize the company, developers are beginning to feel as though they may get the cold shoulder.

Until recently, Twitter has been very free with its information that allows developers to build companies on applications that complement or make direct use of the company’s platform. More recently, however, it’s becoming evident that Twitter has ambitions to make some of the profits from those developers’ ideas its own.

Twitter recently acquired the company Atebits, which makes the popular iPhone and Mac application Tweetie, and it has been making inroads toward developing in-company applications that directly rival many companies whose offerings make use of the Twitter structure and data.

Another example of Twitter simply buying up the information is the search engine company, Summize, which Twitter acquired in 2008. What developers are worried about isn’t being bought out – it’s being circumnavigated entirely.

For example, one company, CoTweet, offers tools for businesses to manage their Twitter accounts. Twitter is in the process of developing its own in-house business system that directly competes with CoTweet.

And CoTweet is not alone in its fears that perhaps what came to them so freely might not stay that way for long.

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