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Second Interview with Google

Googleplex in London
Image of Googleplex in London (from ZDNet gallery)

LAST night I had my 2nd interview with google (a *nix systems administration position). What is noteowrthy is that I did not apply for a job. I was contacted by Google owing to my involvement and work on the Web. I am patiently waiting to hear their decision (should take several days), but I am pessimistic. Some questions were really hard and I needed hints. These questions were less analytical than I had expected.

Google Recommends Yahoo

The following screenshot, which I grabbed just moments ago, speaks for itself. Many thanks to T.J. from the search engine newsgroup for pointing that one out.

Google recommends Yahoo
Google proposes Yahoo Search (it shiows up right below Yahoo
Mail) as a candidate for ‘therapy products’

Rarely can you find such ironic screenshots.

Assessment of Competition in Search Results

Google on a computer screen

Would you like to make search engine tracking more efficient? If so, read on.

AMOMG some nice Web-based tools for SEO, there exists a Google PageRank comparison tool. There are more such tools on the same site. They tend to automate probings that are intended for egocentric evaluations of site positions.

It is definitely worth a try if you are a Webmaster who seeks more attention (referrals) from search engines.

MSN Strategic Deceit Conceals Truth

The magnitude of mind games has reached detrimental level. Microsoft have become overly obsessed with Google and they come up with deceiving public statements. Here’s one:

Ballmer said Thursday he doesn’t think the company is lagging its competitors, noting that Microsoft has strong technical expertise and a loyal online user base with products like its MSN Messenger.

Here’s another one (from Gates):

Bill Gates has promised to keep Google “honest” by pushing the internet rival to “to better” despite coming late to the internet services market with an unfinished offering.

And yet, most recent figures show:

MSN’s search market share dropped from 14 percent to 11 percent

Google and Yahoo increased their market share in the online search arena as Microsoft’s MSN slipped, according to Web research firm Nielsen//NetRatings.

Moreover, on a separate and important Web services front:

But Microsoft is shying away from the 10-year-old name and hoping to freshen up its image as services such as Google’s Gmail creep up on its market share.

In short, Google mail’s annual growth stands at 114%; Hotmail, despite expansion of the Net, only grew by 16% in the same period.

Google Need to Promote Linux

Google Cookie

A proposal for Google: This is probably a very long shot, but since Microsoft have invested so much money in the fight for Web services space (Google is a notable sufferer as a recent example shows) and even incorporated egocentric search bars in Windows Vista applications, would it not be sensible for Google to promote GNU/Linux in their SERP‘s, much as they already do with Mozilla Firefox? Google even financially reward for Firefox downloads, among other things, so why not Linux?

While Windows users can download and use Firefox, this will not eradicate search bars altogether. The only way to weaken Microsoft is to cut them off at the main plug, making Windows (and Office at al.) obsolete. The missing step is that of porting all of Google’s applications to GNU/Linux. This appears to be work in progress. They released a Windows distribution in the past, but they still have Goobuntu ‘in house’.

If this ever becomes a reality, it will be a great contribution from a company that has exploited Linux for a long while and owes much of its success to its power, scalability, portability, and affordability. At present, Google are essentially bribed to deliver the adverse message by putting microsoft.com as a sponsored link at the top of the search results for ‘linux’ (more details here).

History and Bookmark Search

Firefox in the dock

HAVE you ever thought of an (electronic) article that you once saw or read? Could you find it easily after a few weeks, months, or years? How about if you bookmarked it? Would it always allow the article to be found again? And if so, how quickly can it be found?

Mozilla Firefox offers some good facilities for previously-browsed pages to be found. Both History and Bookmarks in Firefox have a ‘find as you type’ widget. However, this only contains and uses page titles.

What would make a better feature that is able to perform a more fuzzy and full-body search? The first option is to permit a search engine to spy on you and retain a record of pages that you follow. In turn, it will index these in isolation and allow your pages of choice to be searched cohesively. It is as though the knowledge conveyed in the index partly corresponds to what you already know. So, it is somewhat of a brain search, which makes the assumption that you carefully read every Web page you visited.

The option which exposes the user to a lesser privacy invasions is this: allow the Web browser to index a page whenever one is visited or only once at the end of the day. The index is of course cumulative and it permits the user to search just a ‘subnet’ — that which he/she has already explored.

Portable, Free, and Open Source Search Engine

Browser searchZettair is a light and compact search engine. It is supposedly suitable for indexing one’s personal files and then searching them. This tends to remind me of Google Desktop and some weaker equivalents that are bolted onto the operating system. On the contrary, Zettair is both free and Open Source. Is it also available for a large variety of platforms, namely:

  1. Linux
  2. FreeBSD
  3. Mac OS X
  4. Solaris
  5. Windows
  6. Cygwin

I have not had the chance to try it, but it sounds fascinating as a free tool that can be modified and extended. Once I complete my Ph.D., there is a good chance that I will resume work on Iuron, which is an Open Source knowledge engine. I wrote a couple of proposals for it last year. Time limitation don’t permit further progress, at least for the time being.

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Original styles created by Ian Main (all acknowledgements) • PHP scripts and styles later modified by Roy Schestowitz • Help yourself to a GPL'd copy
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