Friday, July 9

SELand Interview with Johanna Wright from Google on Directions in Search

SELand has an interview with Johanna Wright, Google’s Product Management Director for Web Search. While I think some of the questions were marginally interesting, one part of the interview caught my attention:
...users are finding things like event dates and locations right in their search results—information that someone could “use” to go to an event. With more recent innovations like our updated answers feature, we’ve moving beyond ranking webpages to actually extract and understand structured information from across the web. Do a search today for [barack obama birthday] and you don’t just get a website, you get the answer, sourced from across the web.
It is interesting to see the emphasis on exploiting structured and semantic data in search. However, overall there is really nothing new in the interviw. It's mostly a rehash of the company line on previous product rollouts related to Universal Search, real-time search, etc...

Monday, July 5

Google gets into Travel: ITA Acquisition

I use ITA software quite regularly when planning trips. However, it caught me by surprise when Google announced late last week that it was buying them. The acquisition was announced on the Google blog.

Google is trying to make travel easier. From the post:
... finding the right flight at the best price is a frustrating experience; pricing and availability change constantly, and even a simple two city itinerary involves literally thousands of different options. We’d like to make that search much easier... Once we’ve completed our acquisition of ITA, we’ll work on creating new flight search tools that will make it easier for you to search for flights, compare flight options and prices and get you quickly to a site where you can buy your ticket.