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David vs. Googliath

David vs. Googliath

Here Are the Spammy Lyrics Sites Google Is Returning Instead of Rap Genius

Rap Genius

By now, you’ve heard about Google penalizing Rap Genius. The lyrical annotation site — whose bread-and-butter is its simple, reliable lyrics pages — is under fire for trying to juice their Google page rank with Justin Bieber links right before Christmas.

Google banned Rap Genius for the infraction — but a simple lyrics search proves this punishment is affecting Google’s product just as much as it’s hurting Rap Genius.

RG’s attempts at growth hacking came to light when a blogger leaked an email from Rap Genius cofounder Mahbod Moghadam wherein he asked the writer to append a series of links to Justin Bieber lyrics on rock.rapgenius.com, even though the post in question would likely have had nothing to do with the Bieb. Read More

David vs. Googliath

Congrats, Slackers: Google Doesn’t Like to Hire Teachers’ Pets

(Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

If you’re a total loser in the school department, have no fear: Google has found that people who perform well in terms of GPAs, test scores and in-interview brain-teasers aren’t always the best employees.

The New York Times sat down with Laszlo Block, senior V.P. of people operations at Google, and he spilled the deets on the data behind Google’s hiring process. It turns out, there’s no foolproof way to measure hiring success and brainteasers are kind of a sadistic crock. Read More

David vs. Googliath

Google Knows What Movie You’re Going to See a Month Before You Do

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Google can now predict a movie’s box office success a month before its release with 94-percent accuracy – although 48 percent of moviegoers don’t decide what they’ll be watching until the day they make the trip to the cinema.

Google analyzes search patterns to forecast opening weekend box office revenue, according to a blog post by Andrea Chen, Principal Industry Analyst for Google. Subsequent weekend performance can be predicted with 90 percent accuracy. So if a movie’s not garnering much web buzz, it just might bomb like Battleship. Read More

David vs. Googliath

Google Launches a Leaderboard for Check-Ins, But Foursquare Has Been Here Before

via Engadget

Google snuck in a bit of a bomb for Foursquare with the latest update to its Google Maps app for Android. Without so much as a blog post or promotional tweet, users started noticing that—Surprise!—version 6.3 would now offer an incentive to check-in to Latitude, GOOG’s “all but forgotten” attempt to hit the sweet spot of mobile/local/social. In fact, the incentives will be familiar to any of Foursquare’s 15 million users: You can now get points for checking-in.

Betabeat reached out to Foursquare cofounders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai to see if they were maybe experiencing a little deja-vu. After all, Facebook tried a similar lemme-just-muscle-my-way-in-here strategy with the now-defunct Facebook Places, which also let users check-in, back in 2010. Not to mention the fact that Google Latitude was the company’s succession plan after GOOG acquired Dodgeball from Mr. Crowley, only to let it atrophy. Read More

David vs. Googliath

Scroogle May Have Been a Victim of Hackers, Not Google

scroogle


The plot thickens! Yesterday we wrote about Scroogle, a nonprofit search engine that delivers Google results to a user without also collecting information for Google as the same time. Scroogle has been down for two days now, and an error page points a finger at the GOOG. “Google treats Scroogle like a bot because they see the traffic from our IP addresses as higher than normal,” the message says. “Searching Google with a bot is against Google’s terms of service, but Scroogle users are not bots. Is it ‘Terms of Service’ for Google, or is it ‘Terms of Monopoly’?”

Google says it did not target Scroogle specifically, but acknowledge Scroogle could have tripped a censor. “We do have automated systems to deter scraping or excessive queries to Google, and spikes in query traffic can cause issues for some sites,” a spokesman said in an email.

But now a tipster writes in with an image of a private forum post that appears to be written by Daniel Brandt, the militant privacy advocate who created the Scroogle engine as well as the sites Google Watch and Wikipedia Watch. There is no way to confirm the authenticity of the post, and Mr. Brandt has not responded to an email request for comment. Take what follows with a giant grain of salt. Read More

David vs. Googliath

Did Google Just Disable Privacy-Friendly Scroogle? [UPDATED]

(scroogle.org)

UPDATE: Google says it did not target Scroogle specifically. “We do have automated systems to deter scraping or excessive queries to Google, and spikes in query traffic can cause issues for some sites,” a spokesman said in an email.

Not long ago, Google changed its privacy policy to give itself more liberties with user data. Every time a major Internet company gets media attention for privacy issues, search volume goes way up on Scroogle, a little independent, nonprofit search engine. Scroogle scrapes its search results from Google, but it shields a user’s real IP address and prevents Google from setting a cookie, making it impossible for Google to tell which searches are from the same person; it also does not show ads. But today, the 11-year-old service stopped working. Read More

David vs. Googliath

Googleplex East Plays Chicken With Tennant Donny Deutsch Over Plans to Expand Within Its Block-Sized Building

No more Deutschland?

The last time Betabeat was at Googleplex East, we rode the elevator up with a Russian-speaking developer sporting a Google “5th floor” t-shirt. But if the search giant has its way, those floor-pride shirts might soon read “14th” and “15th.”

For now, however, Donnie Deutsch, the ad exec and former CNBC host that New York magazine called “the last of the Madison Avenue wild men,” is standing in the way. His advertising agency has a lease for 140,000 square feet on the 14th and 15th floors that doesn’t end until 2013, reports the New York Post.

Google has been trying to buy out tenants in plans to expand within its 2.9 million square foot building, “which looms over the neighborhood and provides great light and air to its tenants.” Read More

David vs. Googliath

Square Beware, PayPal Goes Offline

square

eBay must have really dug Jack Dorsey’s vision for a frictionless point-of-sale system because CEO John Donahoe just announced that its PayPal unit is trying to do the same thing. Back in May, Mr. Dorsey, announced that Square, his mobile payments company, would be releasing Card Case, an app that attempted to reinvent the point-of-sale experience the same way Square reinvented mobile payments.

Card Cases stores your credit card info so that after swiping once with participating merchants, you can start a “tab” and pay with just a tap of your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. On the merchant side, businesses can use Square Register to spit out digital receipts, check daily transactions, and basically automate the checkout experience. On its quarterly earnings call, Mr. Donahoe said PayPal plans on targeting those same offline point-of-sale transactions. Read More

David vs. Googliath

Can the New and Improved HopStop Really Stand-Up To Google Maps?

hopstop.png

Last month, Betabeat talked to HopStop CEO Joe Meyer about “holding [its] own against the giant”–that being Google–especially in New York, where HopStop started. Now that the revamped site, with integrations from Yelp, Groupon, and Hertz, has been out for a week, we’re curious if it’s enough for Google Transit loyalists to switch back to the original. We haven’t been able to test it out for the accuracy yet (Mr. Meyer says HopStop has more realtime inputs than Google) as–miracle of miracles–all our most-frequently used subway lines appear to be running on schedule.

But while we appreciate the mix-and-match options of picking certain subway lines or choosing more walking over transfers, those features were always there. Finding nearby restaurants and bars still looks cleaner and takes less clicks on a Google map. And if we were going to rent a vehicle, it would be via ZipCar, not Hertz. Read More