Google+ Spam #Fembots #FTW

For the last 5 days, I've been getting notifications in my Gmail inbox somebody I don't know has shared something with me on Google+. I thought it might be somebody I have circled back (Is that the right way of saying I have put the person in my circles after they had added me to theirs?). Nope, I didn't even have this person in my circles! Could it be... Has the Google+ Spam begun..?

Google+ Spam messages hitting my inbox

Google+ Spam messages hitting my inbox

FemBots Spammers #FTW

You would assume a smart spammer would pull out the Fembots, a reference to the Female Robots in the Austin Powers movie who tried to kill austin powers with the machine guns hidden in their boobs, also called breast canons. If you have never been exposed to a Fembot Spammer, shall we coin the term Sp(f)embot?, this is how a Twitter account of a Fembot Spemmer might look like:

Fembot Spammer on Twitter

Fembot Spammer on Twitter

Google+ Spam

I can't wait to see Google+ overrun by the Fembots, where Google has claimed in the past Google Plus would only be for real people and function as an "identity service". When I read the following paragraph on SEOBook, which came from an interview with Amit Singhal on SearchEngineland, I actually was thinking about the Fembots trying to create real looking profiles for Google Plus spam.

"We don’t think of this as a promotional unit now. This is a place that you would find people with real identities who would be interesting for your queries."

For a longer time I've been thinking about how Google has the perfect data infrastructure in place to prevent spam from Fembots. With the recent privacy policy changes, the underlaying data structures from all the "free" tools Google provides will give the Big G the ability to weed out fake profiles real easily.

Just think about it, would a spammer:

  • Correspond with real people over email, using their Gmail account
  • Do searches while logged in for everyday average search queries
  • Buy stuff online using a Google checkout
  • Use Google maps to print out directions
  • Claim their home address for easy navigation, or printing directions
  • Use an Android mobile phone with all the data collection right there, which is linked to a cell phone provider

I strongly believe the privacy policy changes were not only driven out of the need to protect the privacy of the average Google user. These changes were more driven out of the need to start using the data Google is collecting to make Skynet smarter. Weed out the spam, build a "better" search algorithm, build better ad targeting based on your preferences, etc.  We slowly get more buried into our own little bubbles...

What I don't understand right now, is why I'm being flooded with irrelevant email notifications of some random dude who has decided I'm a core target to sell Sh*t to. Google, fix it, please..! Or at least... bring out the Fembots!

Microsoft Excel Web Apps vs Google Docs

Everybody grab the popcorn, Microsoft & Google will be engaged in one more fight other than search; Office web apps! In a direct comparison, between Google Docs & Microsoft Excel Web Apps, which one would you choose? Is Office Web Apps a better choice for sharing documents?

Microsoft Office Web Apps vs Google Docs Round 1

Today I received the email below from the Microsoft Office Web Apps, in which Microsoft is clear they are looking for a fight with Google. The subject line reads:

See how Office Web Apps Compare to Google Docs

See how Microsoft tries to trash Google Docs in the email, calling Google out no less than 6 times! .

Microsoft Excel Web Apps DM

Microsoft Excel Web Apps DM

I love excel, it's probably my number 1 tool in my toolbox for my work. I always feel lost if I need to work in a Google Doc online just to be able to share the information with others. Usually I rather work in excel, and send the document through email. So curious to see if Microsoft is able to bring the rich excel experience to the web, and to become a good competitor for Google Docs, I click on both the links, for Excel Web App and the Google Doc, to open in a new browser. Result: Big Fat FAIL for Microsoft!

Microsoft Excel Web App Fail

Microsoft Excel Web App Fail

I wonder what went wrong here, who didn't test the email, and clicked on all the links to make sure these work! QA Fail!

Ok, moving on, I click on OK, and get to the directory of public files shared as demo's. As there is one selected, I click on the link for the file, and a beautiful excel spreadsheet unfolds before my eyes. Full Excel functionality galore online, nice... .

Excel Web App Olympics demo

Excel Web App Olympics demo

Compared to the Google Doc, the Microsoft Excel Web App is a much richer experience!

Google Doc Olympics example

Google Doc Olympics example

According to the Microsoft email, Excel Web Apps will let you share functionality, which would go missing in Google Docs:

  • Images
  • Charts
  • Sparklines
  • SmartArt
  • Filters
  • Footers
  • Headers
  • Conditional Formatting
  • Watermarks

In their words:

You didn't want that chart there, did you? Because, if you share it with someone using Google Docs, it could disappear. If you don't want that to happen (and really, why would you?), use Office Web Apps* for free instead. It's the best way to help protect the integrity of your uploaded Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote documents.

I wonder if more people will start using Microsoft Excel Web Apps given these extra functionality, or if habits and network effects make people reluctant to switch. What do you think?

 

Smart Gmail Pop-up

Today I got an interesting surprise while using the Google App email client, with Google Chrome. In my email I referenced an attachment I was supposed to include with the email. When I clicked on the send button too soon, a smart pop-up made me aware I had not attach any document yet! See below here:

Smart Chrome pop-up for Gmail attachments

Thanks Chrome for reminding me, and not making a fool out of myself!

Google Re-Inclusion request

Here is why you should cover all of your bases cleaning up anything you might have been doing which violated the Google Webmaster Guidelines, before you do that re-inclusion request.

image

To B.B., the SEO/domainer on Westfield Avenue in Elizabeth, New Jersey: do you really want to be on my radar that much? Maybe not. :)

You don’t want to get a manual review from Matt Cutts himself! If you have anything to hide, stay under the radar!

Source: Twitter

Was this a Bug? Adjusted Crawl Numbers

Not sure what to make of this. Yesterday I saw a doubling of the Google crawl rates on one of my site, as mentioned in the post Google-Bot going crazy. Today, I see an adjusted crawl rate, and updated with the newest data for this site. However, what happened with the earlier reported numbers of crawls? Pay extra attention to the scales below!

Yesterday:

Today:

crawlrates-today

So what happened to the high number of crawls from the day before? Given the amount of flux going on in the G index, this smells fishy! BTW, this is consistent across different sites, different Google webmaster accounts, and different regions.

Google is….Down???

If Google would not work for you, where would you go to find out more information on that… Not Google is it?

image No, you would rather search this on Yahoo;

image Or Bing;

image

Is the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife related to a Watch?

Doing some research at some popular products from when I was a teenager is always fun. You can dream back to those times, and at the same time see which products are still in demand or which brands are just lasting forever. And who didn’t want to have a real Victorinox Swiss Army Knife when you were younger?

So I was very surprised to see all Victorinox watches as related products being displayed next to the Wonder wheel when you search for Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. See screenshot below.

image

Makes you wonder why these watches are shown here or what triggered these to be displayed. Non of the related searches of Victorinox Swiss Army Knife in the wonder Wheel are actually watches…

image

If you search for the query Victorinox Swiss Army Knife on Google products, you will see that there are plenty of knifes for sale available.

image

I guess the highest bidder is able to show somewhat unrelated products next to the Wonder  Wheel related searches. As long as you just show the same brand, but a different product, the quality score won’t be too much effected.

Giving Google Street Views the Finger

What if you would not be featured in Google Street View and be annoyed about the camera car passing you? Right, give them the finger…

image

image

Always better than being spotted on Google street view while walking in the Red light district while delivering a package or staring at somebody's ass.

What If You Were Snapped On Street View Walking The Red Light District

After Amsterdam, Groningen and The Hague were launched on Google Street View, yesterday Mister G launched a great number of other cities in The Netherlands. This meant a lot of folks were searching for the funny shots they could find. One great tourist attraction of The Netherlands is the Red Light District of Amsterdam. And although this is the best known outside of Amsterdam, there are many more red zones throughout The Netherlands.

Prostitution in The Netherlands is legal. I’m not always particular proud of the fact that almost all people outside of The Netherlands start asking me about the way prostitution is legalized. First thing in a conversation when you say you are from Holland, is probably marihuana, porn or prostitution. Nevertheless, here are some screenshots from the red light districts around The Netherlands found on Google Street View.

Red Light District Eindhoven

In Eindhoven, you could find a DHL delivery man taking a break at the red zone. I highlighted the address in the different screenshots.

red-light-district-eindhoven-1

Between the trees, you can clearly see the red and yellow uniform. Red and Yellow are the DHL colors.

red-light-district-eindhoven-2

He is walking towards the entree/exit of the red light zone in Eindhoven…

red-light-district-eindhoven-3

Where his large DHL red/yellow truck is parked at the entrance. Do you think he was delivering something…?

red-light-district-eindhoven-4

Red Light District Deventer

In Deventer, a whole street has been photographed in the red light district.

red-light-district-deventer-9

It must have been on a warm day, as a number of the ladies have their door wide open. Maybe they do this to make it more inviting to enter, as it seems to be pretty slow this day.

red-light-district-deventer-2

Or did the men know that Google Street View car was passing by today? I bet these guys didn’t…!

red-light-district-deventer-4

red-light-district-deventer-3

red-light-district-deventer-5

red-light-district-deventer-6

red-light-district-deventer-1

The ladies are bored. They are either calling on their cell phones, or taking a nap in the chair behind the window.

red-light-district-deventer-7

In the window you can even see a reflection of the grey Google car making all the photo’s.

red-light-district-deventer-8

Red Light District The Hague

Only one picture of the Red Light zone in The Hague, but somebody would probably whished he stayed at work that particular day. The picture is probably clear enough for anybody who knows the man calling on the left side to recognize.

red-light-district-the-hague

On a blow up version, you can see more, although I decided to make his face unrecognizable.

red-light-district-the-hague-2

Eight Result SERP

If it wasn’t enough difficult to rank on the first page of Google, with all the competition, universal search includes. Now, Google is even showing less results on some search result pages. Normally, the first 10 results on any search query are already competitive. Most SEO’s will know how the click distribution on average is allocated to the different positions, with the majority going to the top 10. With less results on the first page, it will become even more difficult to get any traffic on relevant pages if you are not the brand owner, Wikipedia or Google.

Below you see a SERP for Zhu Zhu Pets on Google.nl, where the first page only has 8 real results. The page with 8 results looks so short… There is something missing!

Google-eight-result-SERP Zhu Zhu Pets