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March 31, 2006

Friday Roundup

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It’s Friday, March 31, 2006. Here’s what’s the engines are up to.

Google has officially launched its Local Business Ads, combining the strength of its already successful Adwords and Google Local platforms. We blogged last week that Google had been testing this feature, but the Google guys say the beta was officially launched last night. If you read our entry you’ve seen the coffee cups. The idea behind GeoAds is that when a user enters a query in Google Local, up to three local business ads will appear. Ads consist of a highlighted listing in the results column and a map marker giving additional details, including the company address, phone number, URL, etc. The map marker shows users exactly where you are compared to their current location. Pretty cool, right?

Rumors are circulating around the blogosphere that Google Health and Google TV are both in the works for the beta-friendly engine. An anonymous source gave Phil Lenssen the impression that Google Health will be ‘a self-diagnostic aid’. Do we hear Google MD? Is this what Adam Bosworth is working on?

Also abound in the rumor mill is the notion of Google TV – which according to Phil’s source is ‘some kind of integration with set-top boxes or digital video records’. Maybe this why Google Careers has an opening for an Interactive TV Product Manager? Careful kids, Google is trying to jump out of your computer and into your TV. Sounds dangerous. Maybe Google MD has something to combat that.

And be on the lookout, the search engines favorite holiday is quickly approaching – the day you can longer trust your search engine results, April Fool’s Day! MSN seems to have started the festivities early, revisiting its spoof searches for some of our favorite people. Like controversial blogger, Robert Scoble. And this guy.

No news what Google and Yahoo! will come up with, but you can be sure it will be something outlandishly clever. Remember two years ago when Google announced they were launching an email service called ‘Gmail’ with a gigabyte of free storage. Ah, those kidders.

Those who find themselves with way too much time on their hands can try out MSN and Google’s parody searches

Oh – and Ask is looking for attention, enticing users with an ‘amazing new feature’ that they’re afraid to release on April Fool’s Day. The Ask blog is trying to solicit user advice: release this amazing feature tomorrow so searchers can start benefiting immediately, or hold out and generate more buzz. Are we supposed to beg for new features? I’m bored.

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