vTap Will Revitalise Mobile Video Search

vTap Veveo™, a Massachusetts based company funded by VC (originally to work on their concept of Video on IP for personalised television), will launch a new video search application on September 10 – designed specifically for mobile the creators hope that vTap will revitalise users enthusiasm for media on the small screen.

Rafe Needleman, over at Webware, was also lucky enough to get a personal demo of the new app from founder and CEO, Murali Aravamudan – who outlined the concept behind the solution.

[The] service does not dive into the actual audio or video content of files to create its search index. Rather, it uses the metadata (tags, and text on the page where the file is hosted) to create its video index.

New Look PayPal In Beta

Like many PayPal merchants, I noticed an email landing in my Inbox titled “PayPal is getting a new look” – expressing some haste in familiarising users with the forthcoming changes.

By updating your images soon after the day of launch, you will let your customers know you are a current PayPal merchant and it will help them feel safer making online purchases.

On preview of a mirrored beta version of the site (link at the top of current hompepage) I couldn’t see what the fuss was about – yes it’s a little fresher, but overall it’s still the same old branding.

PayPal Beta

The intial splash screen (before the beta version) carries the statement “Now it’s easier to find what you want”, including:

  • Improved tabbed navigation

Yahoo! Search Weather Report

The official Yahoo! Search Blog reports a “relatively significant” update in progress – rolling out a new crawler, fresh index and ranking system changes – but unfortunately the post only discusses crawling improvements.

Yahoo! has accepted webmaster feedback that Yahoo! Slurp (their User Agent nickname), has been crawling too heavily – particularly during recent testing. Yahoo! comments that they’ve now improved their crawl process to reduce the impact on your server and will hit your site with fewer machine IP addresses.

The new crawler continues to improve comprehensiveness and freshness of coverage while also enhancing crawl efficiency, which reduces spurious load on websites.

On a more important note… if Pilgrim readers notice any impact on the index itself, please comment and share your observations. Thanks in advance.

AdWords Admits Top Spot Formula Was Flawed

The Inside AdWords crew have confirmed that an improved ‘top spot’ ad placement formula is now live, stressing that the change will offer advertisers “more control”. I think “a chance to compete” would have been a better phrase to use.

The revised formula will now consider an ad’s maximum CPC as opposed to the actual CPC. The announcement reveals that earlier top spot advertisers may have unwittingly by-passed recent enhancements to the Quality Score factors – quenching any conspiracy theories, it simply admits a flaw in the formula.

Since actual CPC is determined, in part, by the bidding behavior of the advertisers below you, your ad’s chance of being promoted to a top spot could have been constrained by a factor you couldn’t influence.

Google Still Chipping Away At Microsoft

If rumors weren’t abundant enough, they sure will be in the coming weeks. According to the latest published figures by online competitive intelligence service, Hitwise, Microsoft have lost 3 percent year on year [directly to Google] in US Search Market Share.

Percentage of US Searches Among Leading Search Engine Providers
Domain Jul-07 Jun-07 Jul-06
www.google.com 64.35% 63.92% 60.23%
search.yahoo.com 22.13% 21.31% 22.54%
search.msn.com / live.com 8.79% 9.85% 11.77%
www.ask.com 3.21% 3.42% 3.29%

Surely the only way that Microsoft can hope to compete with Google is through major acquisition – making Yahoo! (who have held steady) an even tastier proposition. But let’s speculate for a moment on these giants combining search efforts; their joint market share would still be half that of Google’s – unless of course, they were to undertake a considerable rethink in the process.

Would You Like the Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

Unype Beta Unype is a mashup of Google Earth with VoIP service provider Skype – and available as a Facebook plugin application to give your social network that virtual interactive experience.

RANT WARNING: Am I the only one that thinks we’re hurtling toward the Wachowski brothers‘ Matrix. Not only can I chat with virtual friends – but hey, now I can pretend to be one as well. Gee! I can stop going down to the real pub to meet real mates – just plug the computer into the back of my head. Get me a glass of water and chuck us the red pill.

Meeting in Paris

On the other hand; if you take the blue pill you can beg for your life back enjoy seeing other Facebook users roaming the Google Earth and interact with them using your Skype account.

Apple Seal 10 Percent Rev Share With European Mobile Operators

Apple iPhone

T-Mobile of Germany, Orange of France and O2 in the UK will each give up 10 percent of their revenue from calls and data transfers to secure exclusive rights to sell the Apple iPhone in their respective countries. The operators are set to officially announce the partnerships at the IFA trade fair in Berlin commencing August 31st.

Apple’s success in securing such a deal is unprecedented – industry experts expect other handset manufacturers to begin pushing the same boundaries – a bargaining platform strongly resisted by operators in the past.

But all is not one-way traffic – mobile business chiefs are said to have petitioned for talks with Steve Jobs to discuss the contracts