Thursday, May 22, 2008

The URL Is Dead, Long Live Search

This article makes a good argument for making websites search engine friendly and the importance of being findable on the net.

Of the 10 fastest rising search terms on Google last year, 7 were for searches where adding a ".com" would have brought the user to the correct site. These are called "navigational" searches -- searches done when the user already knows exactly where he or she wants to end up -- and they make up a surprising large number of total seaches.

According to Compete last fall, navigational searches make up about 17% of all searches on average, more on Yahoo! and Live than on Google. For well-known web sites, Compete found that about 9 out of the top 10 search terms for that site tend to be some sort of variation on the domain. Surprisingly, people actually often search for entire domain names rather than type them into their browser's address bar.

Either way, search over URL seems to be a trend we're likely to see more of. Advertising search boxes rather than .com names is already all the rage in Japan. Mac developer Cabel Sasser pointed out in March that search boxes with suggested terms are pretty much all you see on ads in Japan, but he wondered if search marketers and spammers might ruin that strategy in the US.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Researchers teach 'Second Life' avatar to think

"Edd Hifeng barely merits a second glance in 'Second Life.' A steel-gray robot with lanky limbs and linebacker shoulders, he looks like a typical avatar in the popular virtual world. But Edd is different.

His actions are animated not by a person at a keyboard but by a computer. Edd is a creation of artificial intelligence, or AI, by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who endowed him with a limited ability to converse and reason. It turns out 'Second Life' is more than a place where pixelated avatars chat, interact and fly about. It's also a frontier in AI research because it's a controllable environment where testing intelligent creations is easier."
Researchers teach 'Second Life' avatar to think - Yahoo! News