On Tropophilia: Collateral Search and the Decline of Intention

I was inspired this morning by Danny Sullivan’s recent piece about Yahoo and Microsoft allegedly gaming search share reports.  Essentially, they take non-search actions — clicking on pictures in a slideshow, for example — and interpret them instead as search intents, serving up results and counting the entire interaction as a query, which boosts their share.  Sullivan is rightly upset with this shady behavior, and calls for reform in how search share is calculated.

This got me thinking, which led to this piece I just posted on Tropophilia.  I talk about the rise of intentless search, or what I decided to call collateral search.  I also point out some of the implications of this trend as we move closer to the Internet of Things.  Hope you’ll give it a read, and let me know your thoughts.

Testing Out Apture

As mentioned in my recent post at Tropophilia, I’m experimenting with a service called Apture that aims to give publishers tools to add rich content to their site without losing their visitors.  It also provides a handy way for readers to easily evaluate a link and decide if it’s worth navigating to (or opening in a new background tab).

Let’s put it to the test on my bio to see some of the available options. (Update: I would never use Apture for all or even many of my links.  I would be much for selective in real use, trying only to implement it when I think readers would appreciate it or find it useful.)

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Leave My Links Alone!

Just posted a long reactive post on Tropophilia, my first in a while.  This time ’round, I take on a suggestion made by Nick Carr in his new book: that bloggers, in order to remove distractions, remove links from their context and instead throw them at the bottom of posts.  In short, I think it’s a bad idea.  Read on at Tropophilia to find out why.

Tip of the Hat: Diaspora

There’s been a lot of concern about Facebook recently.  Beyond changes in aesthetic design – which alone can cause mass protest from its users – Facebook has also implemented significant feature changes that, to many, cause significant privacy concerns.  I will only say that I am also concerned – not to the point of deleting my account (yet), but enough to make me think more carefully about my exposure on that service.

“The cloud” is a big buzz word nowadays.  Like their physical brethren, digital clouds can take a variety of shapes.  The form getting the most attention is the Google and Facebook-type clouds.  You upload your information to computers controlled by Google, and Google provides the browser interface to interact with that information.  You create a Facebook profile, write on the walls of your friends, make comments on photos — all of this information is stored on Facebook’s computers, and they provide you with a web-based interface to manipulate it.

But really, the Internet itself is a cloud.  Whenever you visit any website, you are downloading a copy of a file that is hosted on someone else’s computer.  It may be a computer owned by a corporation, it may be a computer rented by someone in a datacenter, or it may be a computer sitting under a college kid’s desk.  For this website, I pay about $80 a year to buy space from a computer host based somewhere in Utah.  I uploaded the WordPress blogging software to that space, and I access it remotely to create new posts and edit the blog design.  No company owns my space, or my content.  I do.

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