#search engines #social networks #silos #indieweb

I hear a lot of people wanting the social network silos (mainly Facebook and Twitter) to go away.  I too want them to go. Eventually.  But before they do, I want to examine some things in this little essay.

Some Good Things that the Silos Did

Search: Facebook and Twitter punched a hole in the Google search monopoly.  Before these social networks, Google and Google alone dictated what you would find on the Web. And you did the finding through Google.  With, first Twitter and later Facebook, suddenly you didn’t need Google to find stuff on the Web.  Suddenly a little obscure website could become famous without or in spite of Google.  If you really sit down and think about it, that is no small thing.

Moreover, that hole in Google (plus Google’s bad record on privacy) gave smaller search engines just enough breathing room to try and become established (ie. Duckduckgo, Qwant, Mojeek.)

Web Advertising:  Again, before Facebook and Twitter, Google had a lock on both search advertising and display advertising.  Facebook in particular opened that up. Suddenly, sellers had an alternative place for ad campaigns besides something owned by Google.  If you are not selling stuff this means nothing to you, but if you are in business, large or small, it means a lot.

Traffic:  Posting on Facebook and Twitter can drive a lot of traffic to your website or blog.  Syndication (crossposting) is just another way of posting.  I’m convinced that a whole new generation has grown up that really does not remember the times before Facebook, Twitter and the other social network silos.  I can see it by their actions and inactions.  They don’t know how to get traffic besides syndicating to Facebook and Twitter.  What happens if those two cut off syndication?  What  happens if everybody leaves FB and Twitter so nobody reads your posts?

See, right now as a blogger, I don’t really need Google traffic.  I have Indieweb webmentions, Twitter and other social networks for traffic.  But if Twitter goes down or walls itself off, it is going to be lean pickings for visitors.

My biggest fear, is that if Facebook and Twitter suddenly crumble, we will go right back to having Google control everything.  By that I mean Google will control both traffic and discovery on the Web.

Yes it won’t be quite as all pervasive as it was before, at least as long as Bing sticks around and does not jump the shark.  Indieweb stuff is good but still a tiny niche (heck blogs are a small niche).  Smart things are being worked on, experimented with, new kinds of automated directories, new innovative webrings, – all discovery tools but they are not ready yet, that and nobody among the public know how to use them.  Things like RSS, which is a good source of repeat traffic, are experiencing a revival, but again this is just a small segment.  Given time I think RSS will be big but it ain’t there yet.

Google is a silo too. And I can tell you Google is part of what sucked all the fun out of Web 1.0.  Facebook and Twitter were not even around.  It was Google. And living under Google dominance is no fun.  Right now the Facebooks and the Twitters are still around so word can spread without Google.  It’s a rare opportunity but you better hurry.

Seriously, if FB and Twitter unravel quickly, how do we counter the Google silo?  Ideas?

 

Source: Official Blogger Blog: It’s spring cleaning time for Blogger

I’ve been reading a lot of “places to host your blog” type articles. Most have added a note of caution about Google abandoning services.  It looks like a mixed bag. Improvements are being made to Blogger but at the same time some features are being discontinued.

I have a Nokia 6.1 (US 2018) phone running AndroidOne. No complaints except the camera locks up every once in awhile, but I’m not a big camera user.

So I’m in my car, pulling out of my neighborhood onto a highway.  My phone is in my shirt pocket.  Suddenly the phone starts playing a sorta doo wop tune over the speaker, a tune I’d never heard before. Then it went to voice over, it was a commercial!  I know it said something about Google and maybe it said something about Wifi.  I, of course, was busy, fumbling, trying to get the phone out of my pocket. But I’m fricking driving on a highway. I manage to thumb the lock screen on and see some notification saying something like “Dave’s open wifi network” or words to that effect.  But I’m fricken driving so I can’t PIN unlock the phone.  Then the commercial is over, the speaker goes dead and the notification disappears from the lock screen.

WTF just happened?

That’s the first time something like that has ever happened to me.  The Nokia does have a FM radio receiver built in but I’ve never used it.  I got no repeat of the incident, in that area, on the way home.

I did a full antivirus scan and a full malware scan that evening, two different programs, neither found anything.

I’m just putting it down to the freakishness of radio waves – wifi is really just radio waves.  But it was strange.

You’ve heard it a million times. You’ve probably blogged about it enough until you’re sick to your stomach. PageRank is based on citation statistics. Every document gets a “…

Bookmarked: Math Union Study Devalues Citation Statistics (and PageRank) – SEO Theory

Quality: the thing that a human editor, particularly an expert human editor, can measure that Google cannot.

Despite my dislike and distrust of Google, I use an AndroidOne phone.  The EU’s ruling that Google Android violates EU antitrust laws is both welcome and disappointing since it is weaker than I would like.

But it still has the potential to open up Android on so many fronts:

Android Forks – example given Amazon’s FireOS

Search engine choice – this could be huge. Especially for regional/national/language specific search engines.  For instance, before Google the UK used to have dozens even hundreds of UK-specific and UK local search engines and directories. Most all died.  And, today it’s hard to gain any kind of traction for development of any type of search engine with Google locking down the market.  Ditto other markets like EU search, Germany, France or even smaller countries.

Maps – another huge area.

Email – along with other web services like Calendar, Photos, etc.

Browsers – again this could be a big boost if an OEM can make Firefox, Opera or others the default browser.

Still, we need more than just two mobile OS’s.  So I’m glad I’m getting a true Linux phone early in 2019.

Google’s latest European Union woes could mean opportunity knocks for app developers stymied by contracts that pre-install the U.S. giant’s own services on Android phones and tablets, according to analysts and companies.

Source: EU’s Attack on Android Boosts Rivals in the Battle of the Apps – Bloomberg

This could be huge not just for other search engines but also browser developers, email providers, maps, etc.  Google monopoly has in effect smothered all competition on these fronts. Nobody can gain any traction.  It’s time.