Google Readying Launch of Picasa Web Album?

I take a lot of photos while on vacation and I’ve yet to find my dream application – a mixture of Picasa’s image viewer and Flickr’s web albums.

Google Blogoscoped reports sightings of what could be a Flickr-like service coming from Picasa. I’ve been griping about the poor non-search offerings from Google recently, but if they can create something like Flickr for Picasa, that could be very cool.

Google Admits Compromising Principles

AP reports Google co-founder Sergey Brin has acknowledged the company compromised its principles by complying with Chinese censors. Hardly a revelation – we all could see they had – but more of a confession.

“We felt that perhaps we could compromise our principles but provide ultimately more information for the Chinese and be a more effective service and perhaps make more of a difference,” Brin said.

It would be quick to judge Google and make a mockery of their “do no evil” mantra, but business is hard. Companies don’t always make the best decisions – the lure of the almighty dollar is very strong indeed – but at least Google has its moral compass set due north. Let’s hope this is more of a blip in their navigation than a new change in direction.

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PPC Zombies Ramp-up Click Fraud

Back in February, guest poster Mike O’Krongli predicted Google could suffer at the hands of click fraud zombies.

Picture thousands of PC’s infected with some malicious virus that does nothing but click on PPC ads. The ads these zombies are clicking are found on the virus’s authors site. For each 1000 clicks, the author receives $2.00 (2004-2005) at the lowest rate. If the virus’s author had 10,000 infected PC’s clicking on 1 ad every 5 minutes for 8 random hours a day, they would steal $3200.00 per day from AdWords customers. That rate of traffic would be undetectable to Google and make it almost impossible for the AdWord customer to charge back.

Well, Mike was right on the money, as reports surface on a new zombie network at work.

Microsoft’s Scoble Ready to Rumble with Google

Microsoft’s Robert Scoble is excited to see Google Spreadsheet launch today. Excited? Yup, Scoble firmly believes that Google’s new found rivalry with Microsoft is just what the Redmond company needed to ensure it doesn’t become complacent.

It’s a good thing because of my philosophy. I want better software. Competition brings better software. It gets product managers to worry about customers. It causes discussions of features that were long-ago decided on.

Scoble also suggests that despite recent improvements, bandwidth is not sufficient enough for most people to switch to online applications.

Bloglines Founder Leaving

The founder of RSS reader Bloglines, Mark Fletcher, has announced that he is leaving the company to explore new opportunities. Mark sold Bloglines to back in February 2005.

So what’s next? At some point I’ll start another company; that’s a difficult habit to break. But I’m also going to focus more of my time helping other startups and newbie entrepreneurs, something I’m finding increasingly rewarding.

Good luck Mark!

Via SEW.

Yahoo Updates MyWeb

Over at the Yahoo Search blog, you’ll find details of new upgrades to MyWeb.

Focus on Top 4 Percent of Site Searches

ClickZ takes a look at a new WebSideStory study that concludes the top 4% of site search keywords account for more than half of all site search queries.

By making changes to their site to improve results for those top few hundred search terms, marketers will be closing the loop on more leads driven to the site with other marketing efforts, Kusmer said. At the other end of the spectrum, nearly 12 percent of all site searches return zero results, which also represents a missed opportunity for marketers, he said.

Great advice. How does your site search stack-up? The study shows that visitors who utilize a site search feature are 2.7 times more likely to convert than other visitors. That is, if you have a decent site search engine.