Who is Danny Hill, and What Has He Done with Danny Sullivan???

This week I’ve been doing more testing on Universal Search and the relevancy of its results. Today I decided to Google “Danny Sullivan” to see what results come up in the new Universal Search. Here’s the result I received:

So my question is — who the heck is Danny Hill? And why did his phone book entry in Chittenango, NY come up as the top result? Surely there are at least guys named Danny Sullivan in the phone book in the US…

This just illustrates the point further that Google Universal Search isn’t quite ready for prime time. Sadly, when I Googled Andy, Jordan and me, no interesting phone book entries. In fact, there were no phone book entries for any of us.

First the Cola Wars — Now the Search Engine Wars

Ah the eighties. Remember the good old “cola wars”? Well the marketing war being waged today is far beyond the likes of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Welcome to the search engine wars. The search engine wars, however, have moved past including only the likes of Google, Yahoo! and MSN. The latest saga in the search engine wars involves Google and a non-search engine, Ebay.

Apparently, the ongong feud between Google and Ebay has hit the tipping point, with Ebay announcing today that it has pulled all of its advertising from the Google AdWords program. This action comes after Google threw a party during the Ebay Live conference in Boston earlier this week, possibly in the hopes of luring away customers. The crux of the issue seems to be that Google Checkout directly competes now with Ebay’s Paypal system.

MSN Search by Any Other Name Might Not Be As Sweet

I read an interesting article today by, of all people, a venture partner discussing Microsoft’s evolving brand strategy. The article, by James Joaquin, juxtaposes the renaming of MSN Search to “Microsoft Windows Live Search” versus the simple brand structure of Google Search.

Joaquin points out that as Microsoft has grown, it has faced the problem many growing companies face — growing the brand and creating a brand naming structure that supports the parent brand (Microsoft) while allow new products to have their own sub-brands (Windows). By renaming MSN search to “Microsoft Windows Live Search”, Microsoft has created a brand that is three sub-brands deep (Windows, Live, Search), as illustrated in his Microsoft brand diagram:

Google Acquires Server Software Firm PeakStream

Google’s at the acquisition game again this week. According to reuters.com, Google has acquired computer startup firm PeakStream. According to the reuters.com article:

PeakStream makes systems designed to run on both computer workstations and computer servers, which are used to manage network services.

PeakStream’s website (www.peakstreaminc.com) has already been shut down, so there is limited information about the company available. But according to the reuters.com article, a cached version of the website found through a Google search reports:

PeakStream offers the first commercially available software application platform to help technicians program high performance, multi-core and parallel processing machines.

Google and Salesforce.com: A Win-Win for Businesses of All Sizes

We finally have more details on the exact nature of the new relationship between Google and Salesforce.com. Formally announced on Tuesday, the new strategic alliance makes it easier for businesses to start up, track, and manage the true ROI from Google AdWords campaigns. According to the Salesforce.com press release:

The newest product resulting from this alliance, Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords, is a robust offering that combines the power of Salesforce on-demand CRM applications with the Google AdWordsâ„¢ platform to achieve integrated sales and marketing success. This joint solution provides businesses of all sizes with the same tools used by larger enterprises to successfully attract and retain customers.

Paris Hilton Deserves Justice! (From Google Universal Search…)

Poor old Paris Hilton. She just can’t find justice anywhere — not even in the new Google Universal Search Results. Today I tried a search on the term “Paris Hilton” — a very newsworthy person this week. Here are the results of that search:

Appropriately, news does come up as the first entry for good old Paris. But where are Paris Hilton videos? What about Paris Hilton pictures? Are those not worthy of the first page? Ironically, “paris hilton pics” and the like were not even among the suggested “related” searches. The related results were:

Instead, the related searches presented by Google were (according to the Overture term suggestion tool) less searched than image-related terms. The terms in blue represent the searches for the Google list of “related searches”:

iPhone May Present New Mobile Design Challenges

Only 25 days to go til the iPhone is available! I’m excited about the launch of this new Apple product not because I’m an Apple junkie, but rather I truly believe that the iPhone’s design may help increase mobile web usage in the U.S. However, it may also create a slight challenge for web designers — how do you design for this new hardware?

Until now, most of us have been restrained to the micro screens of the Treo and Blackberry when accessing websites via our mobile phones. While some website owners have begun to prepare for the mobile web and have created specially-designed mobile versions of their website, others have not, making many web searches frustrating as users attempt to view an 800×600 website design on a tiny 168×168 pixel screen (approximately). But the iPhone is poised to change all of that.