Google is developing Flipper, a new reader for Google News that visually displays results.
From the beta screen-grabs assembled at Techcrunch, it's an obvious step up from the plain-text results on Google News. Search can be conducted by words, phrases, most-popular and recommended, so there is greater flexibility.
The implications could be significant for the news business, in that Flipper is bound to make more attractive the results of search. The search flexibility yields some interesting pages, so in the hands of news consumers, Flipper might be very handy.
A new report from RBC Capital Markets suggests Facebook will overake Google in garnering unique visitors in 2011.
The sites currently drive traffic to one another, but RBC analyst Ross Sandler notes that the harmonious relationship could easily change as Facebook strives for a business model. Google's compound growth rate is 20 per cent, while Facebook's is 85 per cent.
Sandler sees Facebook as a larger starting point for people online, that it is directing more people to other sites than Google, and as a result could become a more formidable entity.
It is evident in new research from the United States that small businesses are backing away from traditional advertising platforms --- newspapers and Yellow Pages, for example.
What is also evident is that they're not cottoning on to new media platforms. Many don't have Web sites, many of them admit their sites don't adequately reach customers, many more don't use the newer medium to hawk their wares.
"The research finds an accelerating trend toward online media for local search. However, the report says the study uncovers a significant disconnect between the way small business owners act as consumers vs. the way they market their businesses online," says MediaPost in its summary of research from Webvisible and Nielsen.
The Monday Note prescribes a recommendation engine for news sites in its latest post.
It's an ambition, for certain, to produce an engine that provides what Monday Note calls a vector into an encoded interest in a subject.
It recommends a Passive Filtering engine that understands previous browsing and serves up content. While there are clear technical hurdles, that's not an excuse, author Frederic Filioux says, adding it's time to put editorial and technical functions on the same level.
John Battelle's Searchblog is a great destination for some ideas on the development of search technology. His latest is a real highlight, in that he's asserting we're soon going to enter an era of real-time search.
The fountains of ambient data from Twitter, from cell phones, from purchasing and a variety of functions create a real-time pool of information that we can soon tap --- and, he points out, monetize.
Search has long been a form of personal journalism. In our case nearly half of our page views come from search engines like Google and Yahoo.
Now the Pew Internet & American Life Project has taken a look at the rise of search as an activity in the U.S. It finds that nearly 50 per cent use search every day, only 10 points less than those who use e-mail. About 39 per cent use the Internet for news and 30 per cent use it to find weather information.
But the search growth is what's most impressive: 69 per cent between 2002 and 2008, compared to a 15-per-cent growth rate for e-mail in that period.
Education and income levels of searchers are high. Younger men are the principal cohort. Pew concludes that the rise of broadband connections and information-rich engines has a lot to do with the increase in the activity.