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Is Google Entering Web 2.0?

Posted on June 30, 2006

By Kim Roach

Of the four new product announcements made recently at Google Press Day, Google Co-op looks to have the greatest potential impact. This service allows users to subscribe to the "bookmarks" of experts in hopes that the relevance of search results will be improved.

The product manager for Google Co-op, Shashi Seth, described Google Co-op as follows: "Anyone can contribute. We expect it to work in a three-part process. At the first stage, the contributor will ask users to subscribe with specific pieces, relying on user trust and desire to utilize their content. At the initial stage contributors will ‘sell' the Co-op product on their own sites and bring their own audience. Then we will tally how often they are used and the level of interaction and whether to build a signal. As confidence increases, the contributor has a better chance of getting into the Google Co-op directory. Once they are in the directory, it will make it easier for others to subscribe. And finally, with more quality proven, the information may affect Google Search itself."

Basically, Google Co-op allows web masters to improve search results in the topics they know best. Google Co-op creates a meta search engine, combining other specialized search engines that are created by its' users.

What Does this Mean for Us?

These developments have very exciting implications for web masters. The chance to influence Google rankings is always an exciting thought.

Google is entering into the world of communities by letting users contribute their knowledge and expertise to improve search results for everyone. This was confirmed by Shashi Seth, the lead product manager for Google Co-op who recently stated that Google Co-op is the search engine’s push into community-based searches.

This service certainly seems similar to the many social bookmarking sites that have exploded on the internet in the past couple of years. Furl, Digg, del.icio.us, Scuttle, Yahoo! MyWeb 2.0, and others all offer ways for users to share information. Google entering into this giant arena may very well spark some additional growth of Web 2.0.

For the web developer and search engine optimizer, these developments are very enticing. Here's how you can take part.

How to Get Started

To build a topic, you must first decide on a set of labels and their presentation in the user interface. After that, you must annotate web pages to improve the search experience for yourself and for your subscribers. Depending on your topic you may want to label hundreds or even thousands of web sites or web pages.

To begin, simply go to Google.com/coop . Sign in and create a profile and a label. If you want to create a page about dog training, you might label it “dog training.” Then, you could put all sorts of information in that page. Others can contribute to that page or subscribe. The more subscribers you get, the more relevant your page becomes.

For a complete tutorial on creating a topic, go to http://www.google.com/c oop/docs/guide_topics.html

Once you get started, you will be given a profile page. This is where users can learn about you and get more information about your contributions. Users can then decide whether or not they want to subscribe to your topic. Your profile page also includes:

  • Your recent contributions
  • what kind of labels you’ve added
  • Your subscribers and…
  • Links to your own web sites or blogs

You can allow people to subscribe to your topics by sending them to your public profile, enabling them to add your work to their search results.

However, the power of Google Co-op goes even further. To get the most benefit out of these new developments, you'll want to check out subscribed links.




Subscribed Links

Subscribed Links allow you to gain free promotion for your website by enabling you to add your services directly into Google search. This makes your links much more prominent for people who are subscribed to your content.

Google provides a number of special features, including currency conversion, movie showtimes, and stock quotes. You can create your very own services as well by building subscribed links.

Other web sites have already begun offering these customized services.

OpenTable created a subscribe link that delivers real-time information about restaurant availability whenever they perform a restaurant search on Google. These specialized links lead to a web page that allows you to make reservations on OpenTable's website.

People Magazine built a subscribe link that gives users relevant celebrity info based on the queries they type into Google. When users subscribe to their content, they receive priority links at the top of Google search results that lead to more detailed celebrity info on the People Magazine site.

You can create similar applications and allow your users to add your subscriptions to their default Google search page. These results appear in the Google one box , a special text area with a light green background. So, if someone subscribes to your links, they will instantly see your website at the top of the results whenever they search for topics related to your expertise.

For a complete guide on creating subscribed links, go to http://www.go ogle.com/coop/docs/guide_subscribed_links.html

For webmasters, this is a very exciting development. Expect to see some "Subscribe to our Links!" buttons appearing on web sites very soon.

Ready to Get Started

Google Co-op is now in it’s infancy stage, the perfect opportunity for you to gain some ground early in the game. The Google Co-op directory is currently very small, with only a handful of topics being covered. By getting started now, you can gain an advantage on those who enter in later, much like those who have established their rankings early on within the Google search engine.


About the Author

Kim Roach is a staff writer and editor for the SiteProNews and SEO-News newsletters.

 

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