Posts Tagged ‘search’

The Difference Between Search And Social Media Chatter

Well, the year is almost finished. That means it’s time for everyone and their mother to start releasing their “best of the year” lists. One of my favourites of these lists is the Zeitgeist that Google releases, which documents what the world searched for the most over the past year.

This list got released yesterday and had some interesting things in it. But I was most interested in the top 10 searches world-wide, which looked like this:

When I saw this list, it got me thinking about if social media chatter was reflective of what people also searched for. So using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform, I thought it would be interesting to compare the two.

I pulled up social media chatter for the top 5 world-wide searches and found that there was definitely differences. Just to note, when I did my search through social media I tried to keep my searches as close to how Google listed their top 5 searches. For example, when searching for the iPad 3 I only searched for variations of “iPad 3″ and not “new iPad” as it is sometimes referred to, or I searched for variations of “Hurricane Sandy” and not just “Sandy”.

The results that I found were quite different from Google’s. In fact, the only search that kept it’s same place between both lists was Diablo 3 in the fifth position. In my results Gangnam Style was the most talked about in social media out of the five, while it came in second on Google’s list. Here is the order of results as by social media chatter:

I then looked at the mentions of each of these search terms for when they were being mentioned. This also wielded some very interesting results. Whitney Houston was talked about the most on the day of her death in February and then trailed off throughout the year. The iPad 3 was getting a lot of talk leading up to the big announcement about its release and then continued to be talked about for a long time after it was released to the public. Possibly the most interesting in this chart is to see how Gangnam Style was talked about. Gangnam Style started to be noticed around the beginning of August but didn’t peak until September. It then seemed to have remained a popular topic all the way up to today.

Lastly, I broke the comparison down by channels. Again, I saw some interesting, but not so surprising results. Hurricane Sandy was talked about the most through online news articles as the media was all over this devastating story. Diablo 3 saw it’s most talk happening in forums as gamers are notorious for talking and sharing gaming tips and tricks through forums and message boards. Whitney Houston came out on top in blogs, while Gangnam Style was all the buzz on Twitter.

It turns out that each of Google’s most searched terms for the year were also popular topics to discuss in social media, but it appears that the two don’t match up. There were some big differences between the way Google’s top five and mine looked. It’s not easy to say exactly why that is, but my guess would be that people talk about what’s interesting at the time in social media, where as search is used more to find information about anything at any time.

Finally, I thought it would be interesting to take a bit of a closer look at each of these searches individually. Below you will find each of the five searches done individually. I provided the activity summary for each search, which shows how many times each term got mentioned and where, a popularity graph to show when throughout the year each term was being discussed and a word cloud so we can see what was being said about each term.

Whitney Houston

Gangnam Style

Hurricane Sandy

iPad 3

Diablo 3

What do you think about these results? Why do you think that social mentions and Google searches don’t match up? Let us know in the comments.

Learning Boolean with Sysomos

 Do you know how to search using boolean searches? Do you even know why you would want to? Well, the reason you’d want to is because it will help you get much better results when you search. If you don’t know how to do a boolean search though, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In order to help our subscribers (and the general public) understand how we focus your searches to only pull in relevant information, we put together this great new video to help teach you.

Boolean is the use of the words AND, OR and NOT (as well as a few other things) within a search to really help you focus in on what’s actually important to you when you search. Boolean is a key player in how our Sysomos software, both MAP and Heartbeat, helps you to weed out the bad or unintended information you get when searching. OR helps you expand your search to include more information., AND helps to focus your search and NOT tells your search to stay away from certain information.

In order to help you understand these concepts better, we’ve put together this handy tutorial video that explains what a boolean search is and how to use it effectively. We used our Sysomos software for the purpose of this tutorial, but the lesson learned can be applied other places as well.

As an added bonus lesson for today, we wanted to show you how our Sysomos software helps sort all of this relevant information you just brought in using a boolean query. The following video shows how the use of queries and tags in our Heartbeat software bring in and make sense of information. Queries go out into the social world and bring the information back into our system. Using a boolean query (as we just learned how to do) will help to bring in the best quality information. Tags then help you to sort and make sense of all that information by placing it into the “buckets” that make the most sense for your purposes. Watch the video below to get a much better explaination.

A big thank you to the team at Think 33 for helping us to make these great videos.

So, are you feeling smarter yet?

The Facebook and Google Rivalry Heats Up

Facebook and Google, the two digital behemoths, just can’t seem to get along.

Don’t be fooled, this is not a David vs. Goliath situation, but more along the lines of two giants battling it out for digital supremacy.

Back in January, I posted a post article about Google potentially opening the door to search engine rivals. Lo and behold, it seems the door has opened much wider than initially anticipated.

Recently, word leaked that Facebook might be creating a strategy to get into the search engine fray. This is an interesting counter-attack to Google entering into social network (albeit to mixed results) last year.

Facebook may never admit they are going for the jugular, but by assembling a team of engineers to work on a search engine does send a powerful message.

The message is not just directed at Google. It is another sign to users and admirers that Facebook is are more than just a social network; it is quickly trying to become the entire Web.

It’s too early to make assumptions or wonder how a Facebook search engine will improve on Google’s, but you should never underestimate Zuckerberg and company.

This isn’t to say Google is on the precipice of being a thing of the past, but how many more digital markets can Facebook corner before someone has to raise some monopoly and ethics questions, or before others just stop trying.

Social media can be a ruthless world. A world where those on top can find themselves on the bottom very fast. Especially, when it feels at every turn that Facebook has a personal vendetta against you.

Maybe it is more of a David vs. Goliath situation than originally thought.

Has Google Opened the Door to New Search Rivals?

As Google scrambles to establish a strong social foothold, it has unveiled a new version of its ubiquitous search engine called Search Plus Your World.

While it may make sense for Google’s social strategy, it’s a controversial move because it arguably biases search results by putting Google+ front and centre. In particular, Danny Sullivan, one of the leading search engine analysts, has been extremely vocal about how Google’s new initiative had made its results less relevant.

Meanwhile, John Battelle has a thought-provoking blog post on how Google+ represents a conundrum for marketers and anyone interested in being found via Google search.

Given Google’s new bias for Google+, he suggests brands and people who care about search results will have no choice but to be on Google+ because their Web sites and blogs will rank below their Google+ profiles.

In many respects, Google has diluted the accuracy and relevance of its search results by placing the interests of Google+ above the interests of people seeking high-quality search results. That said, Google is a business as opposed to a public utility so it will clearly do things that serve its own interests without alienating its users in a significant way.

A Strategic Error?

Based on first impressions and the strong pushback from the Web community, Google has made a key strategic error in thrusting Google+ into the spotlight so aggressively.

As much as many people are die-hard Google search users, Search Plus Your World may given people news reasons to consider alternatives such as Bing, which has made solid market share inroads recently.

Blekko, Anyone?

At the same time, Google may have opened the doors to new rivals. Despite Google’s dominance, there have been a steady string of search startups who believe they have a better mousetrap. This includes well-financed startups such as Cuil, Powerset and Blekko.

The big problem has been while these startups may offer better results, Google users are so entrenched in their behaviour they can’t go through the aggravation of switching, let alone see whether a startup is a better experience.

But the launch of Search Plus Your World may provide search startups with a much-needed window of opportunity because it prompt even entrenched Google search users, including myself, to seriously consider and check out other options.

The reality of the digital world is there’s no such thing as guaranteed market dominance given other services are just a click away. This applies to Google, which has enjoyed a long and easy reign as search’s top dog.

If a new search engine captures the imagination of people, including influencers and mavens, it wouldn’t be farfetched to suggest Google could lose some market share in a heartbeat.

For the past few years, search startups have been looking for a crack in Google’s armour. With the introduction of Search Plus Your World, Google may have given startups what they’ve been seeking.

More: Another interesting read is CNet’s Peter Yared’s post, which includes this strong assertion:

“As I’ve written in the past, Google well knows that its search results suck, and over the past few years, it has started to short-circuit those results by putting more and more direct “answers” at the top search pages. That, of course, makes the search results themselves less and less important.”

Twitter Gets a Makeover

The much-anticipated makeover of Twitter’s home page was unveiled yesterday, offering a streamlined and user-friendly design that puts search front and centre.

In a move that Twitter co-founder Biz Stone described as “repositioning the product to focus more on discovery is an important first step in presenting Twitter to a wider audience of folks around the world”, Twitter has made the home page a lot simpler and accessible. It now offers three options: search, popular topics/trends, and signing up.

So far, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive – not surprising given Twitter’s previous home page was busy trying to be all things to all people.

What do you think about the new design? What did you think of the old design?