Google Search

I saw a flowchart on how Google search actually works. It was quite involved. Let me share some of the highlights. To start with, there are Google bots out there crawling web content. They follow links on the pages they find. Google then indexes the page titles and content that the bots crawl.

When you type in some search terms, Google uses synonyms as well to find matches. The results set is capped at 1000 hits. The ones shown have the highest page rank and authority. There is a also a lot of ad processing that goes on in tandem with the organic search results.

Filters are also applied to the results. Popular terms from today's news get a boost. Local issues of interest also get some priority. I tell you. This is all very interesting stuff to me. Thanks to the PPCBLOG for sharing the info.

WebM Legalities

Previously I had written about how Google's WebM and VP8 may provide a free alternative to video formats. Well this legal issue has received a lot of buzz recently. I read some legal discussions and want to talk more about this.

First let's look at the components of WebM. You got the spec. Then you have both an encoder and decoder. These last two are just reference implementations. The idea is that somebody will improve and replace them. They are only what we call building blocks to the technology.

Let's look closely at another legal video case. Microsoft licenses VC1 free of charge. However VC1 comes from MPEG4. Therefore Microsoft actually does pay royalties to MPEG-LA. They just eat the cost for Windows users. On2, the creator of VP8 which got bought by Google, has done their patent due diligence for VP8. They knew about the existing patents. Then they worked around those patents to produce something new and original.

Catch the Wave

Google released Google Wave to the public this week. It is supposed to enable real time communications. Google wants you to use it to collaborate with others. Wave is a web app. Google says that it may look like, merge with, or possibly integrate with Gmail in the future.

Google Wave was released to developers last year. Then Google made it available to a select few, who then had the ability to invite people to use it with them. Some of those people sold invites via eBay. LOL. Now everybody can access to the tool.

The app is written in the Java programming language. It is supposed to allow you to have conversations and work on a document at the same time. Waves are actually XML documents. You modify the document like you would a Wiki. Google plans to open source the code some day.


There is a lot of buzz about the latest version of the Android operating system. This would be version 2.2, also known as Froyo. Unlike the iPhone, it supports Flash. It also allows tethering. That means you can use your phone as a WiFi hotspot.

Android is the name of the mobile operating system by Google. They obtained in years ago when they bought startup Android Inc. Since then they have been releasing updates to the operating system. Different versions have been named Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, and now Froyo. In case you do not know, froyo means frozen yogurt.

Android makes used of the Linux kernal to get things done. You can write apps using the Java programming language in Android. Version 2.2 has not actually shipped yet. It might be a couple months before you can buy a phone with Froyo on it.

Froyo and Android represent a challenge to the dominant Apple iPhone. Apple Corporation has the lead in the mobile device market. But all is not well in the land of the iPhone. Some people are complaining about dropped calls using the iPhone. We shall see how pleased users are with Froyo. Flash in general might be a good thing, but its use may eat up your phone battery. It might also cause the phone to overheat.

VP8 Patent Attack

Previously I wrote about Google's new WebM and VP8. They are an open source alternative for video formats. This is in sharp contrast to the H.264 standard which requires a license. Big companies like Apple and Microsoft use H.264. Google also currently pays the license for YouTube videos in H.264 format. However that all might be changing due to VP8.

Larry Horn, CEO of MPEG LA, has said that they are looking into creating a patent pool license for VP8. Google says they did their due diligence with VP8 and On2, the company they bought that developed VP8. Industry seems to be backing VP8. Google is already using VP8 to encode YouTube videos. There is a battle forming here for the future of video.

MPEG-LA is a firm that negotiates claims for patent holders. Some call them patent trolls. A good reason for that might be their assertion that nobody can create a new video codec without infringing upon their patents. Nice. We will see how this plays out. There is big money in video patent licensing. So you know there will be a big battle over VP8.

Google VP8

Google has come out with their VP8 video file format. The specification has a lot of C code in it. Some have complained that the spec is not precise enough. Google says the spec is in a final state.

A competing standard is H.264. VP8 borrows some pieces from H.264. And VP8 might be a bit slower and not as good.

The exciting news is that VP8 is being released under an open source license with no royalties required. Google got the technology when they acquired On2. This is the company that produced VP6, which was used in flash. Other formats like H.264 used in IE9 require a paid license to use.

Browsers like Firefox, Opera, and of course Chrome will support VP8. Also expect YouTube videos to be converted to VP8 format.

Google Docs

Google acquired word processing and spreadsheet technology from other companies. They then integrated these apps into a suite. Recently the suite has been rewritten to focus on collaboration functionality. The collaboration works in real time. Two people can work on the same document at the same time. The changes are merged instantaneously.

The entire application suite is called Google Apps. The key apps for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation is called Google Docs. The new versions ensure that Microsoft Word documents keep their formatting when opened in Google’s app. The Google spreadsheet functionality does not have all the features of Microsoft Excel. Power users are expected to stick with Excel. This might be the pattern of the future. Power users keep Microsoft Office.

One drawback with the new versions from Google is that you must be connected to the net for them to run. There are reportedly 25 million Google app accounts out there. The costs are $50 per year for each user. Microsoft will need to provide an online option in Office 2010 to stay relevant.

Big Payout

Yesterday I posted a new entry on my Micro ISV blog about iPhone development. It had been a long time since I had any posts there. Then a wonderful thing happened. There were a lot of clicks on that blog.

I have AdSense enabled on the blog. Here is the weird thing. Today I only got 3 page impressions from my Micro ISV blog. Since I display 3 ads per page of the blog, 3 impressions means there was only 1 view of the actual blog. However that generated a monster 8 clicks.

Most of the time I get image ads displayed on my Micro ISV blog. The image takes up the whole ad. So that makes it next to impossible to generate 8 clicks from 3 ads. Normally when you click on an ad, it takes your browser to the page that sponsored the ad. Somebody must have purposefully visited my blog, and clicked each of the links to open in a new window. This is very strange.

I am not complaining too much. The 8 clicks netted me an $8.64 profit for the day. Now if only I can keep that up. Perhaps the clicks came because my blog post entry was original. Or maybe I wrote the latest entry in a manner that made people want to click the ads. The most likely reason is that this was a fluke. Let's see how I do tomorrow.

Becoming a Writer

I just read an article on how to become a better writer. In my world, that means how do you become a better bloggers. Let's check out the advice of the legendary authors.

Choose short words over long. Use the active voice over passive. Break the rules when necessary. Shorter is better.

Write out what you have to say. Know it can take forever to learn to write well. Your characters should want something. And bad things should happen to then.

Give a lot of info. But cut out as much as possible, especially with descriptions. There should be no prologue. Dialog should just use "said". Avoid exclamation points.

If the reader is going to skip something you write, leave it out. Rewrite only for editorial purposes. Get to the point. Read a lot. Then write a lot. Got it?

Success in Blogging

It is tough to have a successful blog. You need to do a number of things to even have a chance. You should be unique. You also have to get the time to regularly post. Get your own domain name. Then do not change it.

Be original and professional. You blog should have a short bio on yourself. It should also provide a way to contact you. I am not too good in these two areas.

You need to get out in the online community for people to notice you. Do that by becoming active in other blogs. Be active in forums as well. Don’t go for volume. Be active and respected in a few places online.

In addition to having an online presence, you need to meet in person as well. You should attend some live events such as tech events. Then go meet and talk to people. Be direct. Let them know who you are and what you want. It is ok to sell to people. Bring your business cards.

The Google Effect

Google has a lot of great free products. I make use of a number of them. However I just read an article about a dude who uses Google tools all day long. Let’s look at some of these tools.

Gmail is the big winner at Google. You get a whole lot of space. It is free. The ads are not too noticeable. Then we have Google Reader. That let’s me track a number of blogs efficiently.

As you can see and probably know, I use Google AdSense to place ads on my blog. There is also AdWords if you want to pay to advertise. I personally do not buy ads on the Google network. Another tool I don’t use is Google News.

Google Maps is another one of the popular tools from Google. I don’t use it. I also don’t use or know much about Google Talk. I am slowly trying out new Google tools. I love the price. And everything is accessible on the web which is convenient.

Wordpress Basics

Blogging is a mainstream activity. There are many choices of blogging platforms. These include Blogger, Typepad, and WordPress. Today I discuss WordPress. My information comes from a book on being a great WordPress designer. I skimmed the table of contents and read the first chapter. So this will be an overview.

WordPress is highly customizable. Many content management systems (CMS) advertise customization. However almost everything in WordPress can be customized. This makes for an ultra flexible CMS.

WordPress is an open source product. It is written in the PHP programming language. The sight is a hosted version of WordPress. Therefore you cannot do heavy customization of the product on that sight. is the home for the open source software. Note that WordPress needs MySQL to run. MySQL is an open source database management system. An important plugin for WordPress is Akismet, which is a spam filter.

Themes are customizations consisting of PHP and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) files. Linkbacks are other sites linking to your page. Linkbacks are also known as pingbacks or trackbacks. The WordPress documentation is called the WordPress Codex. It is available online.

The default WordPress installation comes with same posts. Delete them before your site goes live. I exclusively use Blogger. But I like checking out the competition occasionally.