Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Neologisms & Google

Opportunity is always present in the midst of crisis.
~A Western Misappropriation
I've heard it said many times that the Chinese ideogram for "crisis" is made up of two characters signifying "opportunity" and "danger."

Ah... the wisdom of the East teaching us again in the West.

Bull. It's a fiction, and to a native Chinese speaker it's not true. The word for danger is "wei xian" and opportunity is "ji huay." These are obviously two different words. The word for crisis is "wei ji" and the fact it contains elements of both terms is just a coincidence.

"Wei ji"
literally means precarious moment - so don't believe everything you hear.

But let's be romantics... and not let the facts get in the way of a good story. Let's assume this timeless Chinese wisdom is true... because if it were true... boy, do I have some opportunity for you!

Remember... no matter the difficulty of the circumstances, no matter how dangerous the situation, at the heart of each crisis lies a tremendous opportunity.

Got it?

OK here goes... Google is undertaking the most radical change ever to its search results.

While I was hard at work in the French Countryside chasing down cows and talking Internet Marketing... Google announced a deep-seated update to its search algorithm affecting all future ranking of crawled pages.

Surprised? Not me... We'd have to be naive not to have seen this coming. It's neither good nor bad. It will help some and hurt others. The smart marketers will make it work for them.

What are we talking about?

A new "universal search model" from Google that will change the way pages are indexed. According to their press release it's, "...a universal search model that will offer users a more integrated and comprehensive way to search for and view information online."


"Our focus has always been making our users' search experience as simple and straightforward as possible," said Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience at Google. "The ultimate goal of universal search is to break down the silos of information that exist on the web and provide the very best answer every time a user enters a query. While we still have a long way to go, today's announcements are a big step in that direction."

And what does that mean exactly?

Google's "vision", besides world domination, is for each query to be answered across all its content sources, giving the reader what Google thinks he/she really wants. In other words, search rankings will now incorporate information from a variety of previously separate sources – including videos, images, news, maps, books, and mixed with the web page results.

And how does it affect my business?

Incorporating more databases means that the universe for every search query just expanded. You could know be competing against twice the completion than before for the same high ranking.


Yep... News and video results will be pushing some website rankings down. Good if you work with video... bad if your a small player with little content to start with. You're now possibly losing organic traffic.

Isn't it fun being at the mercy of one omnipresent being?

But since your name collection is diversified... you'll be just fine right?

But that's not all... Google also unveiled a new navigational interface allowing for vertical search results, (I smell opportunity here) which allows the reader to navigate within its search results and between different Google sections.

You may have noticed the vertical search text links before... they were directly above the Google search query box. Now they are moved to the top left-hand side of the page. Google calls this the "Google Navigation Bar," and it is intended to help you easily find various search properties, such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs.

Did I mention world domination yet?

Seriously... check all your pages and your sites and be ready to tweak if you lose ground. All is not lost... there is an opportunity to gain the ground you lost with multiple hours of hard work. Keep at it!


PS - Besides the Chinese neologism above.. the word Google itself is a neologism, a variation on the huge number, a googol.