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Blog about the web and startups, from Finland. By Timo Paloheimo

Embed Facebook Searches Anywhere


Open Facebook Search – my newest project – is developing rapidly. Since the launch a few days ago, it has received some nice coverage on blogs, the biggest being Inside Facebook and ReadWriteWeb. Today I’m very proud to announce that now on Open Facebook Search you can now embed any search results to any web page.

Go to Open Facebook Search.

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Open Facebook Search – Search Facebook public timeline outside Facebook

Open Facebook Search

UPDATE  17 MAY 2011: The service is no more called Open Facebook Search. It is now called Open Status Search, thanks to Facebook’s ace legal team. Read more.

Facebook launched their new open Graph API last week, and most of the attention has been towards how Facebook will be gathering massive amounts of new data through Social Plugins and how they are going to utilize it.

A very interesting thing also was launched at the same time, namely the Open Graph API. What developers and users have not quite realized yet is, that now there is a way to search the public timeline of Facebook, without logging in to Facebook.

This opens up whole new possibilities for developers to create totally new services on top of Facebook’s data. The first service to utilize this was, and while i was using it, I realized that they had managed to create a way to search these public records.

I though this idea could be taken further, so for the past day I’ve been working really hard (It’s not that hard really, but I’m not a fast coder) to create the first search engine for Facebook’s public timeline – Open Facebook Search.

The service is still quite much in beta, but I wanted to launch it to the world as quickly as possible. So, take a look at the brand new service: Open Facebook Search.

UPDATE: The site has gotten some nice coverage on Inside Facebook & ReadWriteWeb

UPDATE: Now you can embed all searches to any website. Read more.

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Google’s Margin On AdSense Clicks: 21%

Google announced their third quarter results yesterday. (more on the subject on Techmeme) From the information in the press release everyone can count the margin they are making from AdSense, their advertising platform for external sites (such as this one).

Adsense revenue for Q3 was $1.45 billion. From this amount, Google paid to AdSense partners $1.33Billion. Thus their (average) margin for AdSense is 20.83%, which is slightly higher than the Q2 margin 20.48%.

The increase in the margin comes from either: 1) they charge more from advertisers or 2) pay less to the AdSense partners. Which is it? As my Adsense revenue is marginal, I cannot tell fro myself. Do you have any further information on this? Please comment below.

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100000 Visits To Google Minus Google

Six weeks ago I read an article in the NYT about Google becoming a media company. I wanted to contribute to the discussion about Google emphasizing their own sites in search results. So I created Google minus Google, a search engine that uses Google to get the search results, but filters out all links to Google-owned sites.

The site has found quite an audience and yesterday Google minus Google reached 100000 visits, which is a whole lot more than I thought of when creating the service.

The visits come from around 80 thousand or so unique users and in total there has been more than 128 thousand searches. After all of the huge PR the service got (NYT, Lifehacker, CNET, the Register, and more than 300 blogs), the daily number of visitors has declined, but the usage per user has been increasing all the way.

It’s not a surprise that many people who enter the site for the first time have tried it if the service really works, therefore most of the top searches relate to Google. In total there have been 55 000 different queries. It’s interesting that a huge portion of those are names, which could mean that people are really interested only in themselves.

20 most popular queries on Google minus Google

google 3652
youtube 3182
test 1140
knol 615
lol 325
gmail 231
porn 211
you tube 164
orkut 163
riemurasia 155
video 126
sex 124
diet coke and mentos 120
blogger 119
novophone 106 91
nu 87
“armeense genocide” 86
maps 83
asd 80

Please try Google minus Google, if you haven’t tried it before.

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Google minus Google v2 launched

Google minus Google, a search engine that lets you Search with Google without getting results from Google sites such as Knol, Blogger and YouTube has become an unexpected hit. After the launch on Monday thousands of people from all over the world have used the tool and it has been a topic in numerous blog posts and discussions on Friendfeed.

After the launch, several people have suggested that I should have used Google Custom Search (cse) to do the job. After some hard detective work I have swithed to CSE. Detective work – you ask? Yes, the reason for my initial solution to just use the basic Google search engine and remove the google sites in the query (using “ etc”) was not technical. I needed to gather all the domains Google owns before I could use cse.** The list of Google domains in the exclude list of Google minus Google contains more than 2500 domain names. And it needed some work to compile. I’m sure I have missed something, though.

Enjoy the new and more useful version two of Google minus Google.

** For you techies out there: cse doesn’t allow wildcard usage in the top level domain (like google.*), but it can be used in the normal query.

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Google Minus Google: Google Search Results Without Content From Google

Inspired by an article in NYT about Google becoming a media company, I decided that something had to be done. So I created a way to Search with Google without getting results from Google sites such as Knol, Blogger and YouTube.

The result is Google minus Google.

UPDATE: Google minus Google has gotten a huge start: 3000 visitors in the first day! The visitors came mainly through a few Finnish IT news sites: Digitoday, that interviewed me this morning, IT-Viikko and Tietoviikko. I’ve also updated the filters to include some Google domains: Jaiku, Gmail and Blogspot

UPDATE 2: Version 2 of the launched. Now built with Google Custom Search Engine.

UPDATE 3: Miguel Helft continued the original story in the New York Times blog with an article about Google minus Google. He had received a statement from Google: “For years, users have been able to customize their experience via the advanced search feature within web search, and we welcome all efforts that help deliver useful information and expand user choice.” So I guess I’m of the hook for now.

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Smart Aggregation, Not Search or RSS, Is Key In Getting Valuable Traffic

Fred Wilson has shared where the traffic to his blog, A VC, comes from. He made an important notion on how the majority of users have come to his site through search engines, but their dominance has declined in the past year. He notes that an almost good a source has been from sites he calls smart aggregators. By these he means sites that aggregate either algorithmically (Techmeme) or through user behavior (Digg,, StumbleUpon) the most important new articles. The importance of these aggregators will surely continue to grow especially in topics like technology.

As Fred mentions himself, the traffic from RSS-readers has not increased for him, because they just are too hard for the average user to use. I have to admit that I personally fall into the same category. It’s not that I don’t see the value of RSS-readers, it’s just better (easier, faster) for me to get a pre-prioritized list of the most important news and post through Techmeme or even Friendfeed.

For most publishers and bloggers getting traffic from these smart aggregators is more valuable than getting traffic from search engines using some random keywords. Fred Wilson correctly divides search engine results between “search bookmarks”, which should be counted as direct traffic, and real search. The importance of Search Engine Optimization is not diminishing: see my earlier post about the declining importance of URL’s in navigation as opposed to search.

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List of Google Killers: Search Engines of the Future

I’ve compiled a list of search engines that will change the way search engines work. I’ve only listed general-purpose sites, not niche or vertical search engines focusing in a specific type of information. I’m not really claiming these services will replace Google as the number one search engine any time soon, but they will at least have an effect on the way Google and the other large search engines will develop their core function.

List of the search engines of the future:
Read more…

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Search Engine Usage Differences Begin to Unfold

In my earlier post I was wondering about the differences of user behavior and efficiency between the biggest search engines (Google, Yahoo, Live Search). I just stumbled upon this earlier piece of from Mashable that tells us that there are clear demographic differences between the sites. Gmail users are younger and make more money than the users of the two other services.


Compete Blog Tells How People Behave Online

The Compete blog is my new favorite blog. I’ve learned quite a lot on user behavior online after I discovered it a few days ago. Which big search engine is most efficient and why people fill in complete URLs into the search boxes instead of the address bar have made me think about the user differences between search engines. (The answers to both questions can be found in the enlightening comments.)

Also worth reading are what were the biggest sites in 2001 and how are they doing now and an anatomy of a web meme.

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