Here’s what recently caught my attention in the search space.
Last week, Google unveiled Google Wallet, which on the one hand, might be the future of payments, but on the other hand, seems like it’s just using your phone instead of your credit card to pay for things. And phones so far are bulkier to carry around than credit cards. But Google says:
… because Google Wallet is a mobile app, it will do more than a regular wallet ever could. You’ll be able to store your credit cards, offers, loyalty cards and gift cards, but without the bulk.
Wallet will be integrated with Google Offers (Google’s answer to Groupon) and one can imagine the possible future integrations. For instance, Google could manage travel from start to finish by integrating elements of its ITA acquisition for booking, Hotpot and Places for reviews and maps, and Wallet for paying on the go.
Google Wallet will be available this summer, initially on the Nexus S.
After the unveiling of Wallet, PayPal sued. They said that Google had been nearing the end of negotiations with PayPal to make it a payment option in the Android marketplace, but instead of signing, Google hired away the PayPal executive they’d been negotiating with and built their own version.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Google has been sued for hiring talent away from a competitor. And since they had the two key ex-PayPal employees introduce Google Wallet publicly, they weren’t exactly keeping things on the down low to avoid this lawsuit.
Google Correlate: Mine search trends using uploaded state-based or time-based data
Google Correlate, new in Google Labs, takes the idea behind Flu Trends and makes it available to anyone, for any data. You can enter data by state or by time and find out what searches are most closely correlated. You can also simply enter a search term and see what other queries are most closely correlated (by state or by time).
This is all U.S. data for now. Google Correlate was launched in Labs, so hopefully when it graduates from there it will be launched worldwide.
Google’s comic book about the product stresses that correlation does not imply causation. This data simply shows similar search patterns. But data patterns can provide insight. Flu Trends, for instance, predicts when and where flu is spreading based on how much people are searching for flu-related information. “We found aggregated flu-related queries which produced a seasonal curve that suggested actual flu activity,” Google notes. They have corroborated these trends historically with government data about flu activity.
Google’s worldwide market share
This column is “Search Notes,” not “Google Notes,” so why so much Google coverage? The fact is Google is the dominant search engine worldwide, more so even outside the U.S.
Along those lines, as I was finalizing slides for a conference session in Germany, I double checked Google’s search share there. I found that Google’s share was relatively unchanged year over year, at more than 90% for Germany, France, the UK, and Spain. This week, comScore noted that Google is at more than 90% share in Latin America as well.
Removing content from Google
Last fall, I wrote two fairly detailed articles about removing content from Google search results:
Now, Google has made it easier for content owners to remove content. Just verify ownership of your site in Webmaster Tools, and then you can specify what pages from your site you want Google to remove from its results.