Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Seekport launches Spanish search engine just for Spain

Seekport - the German-born search engine, which recently moved out of beta in the UK as reported in this blog, has launched a Spanish site for the Spanish, Catalan, Basque and Galician languages - just for Spain.

Seekport launches Spanish search engine - just for Spain

The company's strategy is to produce spam-free results by using human editors to improve their quality. In the case of Spain, the editorial team will be ensuring that results from Latin and South America are removed from the results - with web sites using the .es domain most prominently displayed.

Seekport says it has appointed a Spanish editorial team and opened offices in Madrid. The search engine is currently located at www.seekport.com.es - but as soon as the 100%-owned Spanish subsidiary has been created - it will move to www.seekport.es.

The company is planning a launch in Italy for the end of June which will mean the company is "Online in the most important European countries," says CEO Joachim Kreibich, "Nevertheless, this year we will also be launching in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe."

Seekport Internet Technologies GmbH Press Story in German

Google opens office in Norway

Norwegian news site Digi.no reports that Google have opened an office in Oslo, Norway. So far the office only employs one, Mr. Jan Grønbech. Grønbech is the former boss of ad giant DoubleCLick (Adlink). However Google employs another 3 people, who are all in Google European headquaters in Dublin Ireland.

Grønbech's new title is "Vertical Head" and apparently he will heading up the Norwegian office, but also will play a role in starting up real representation in Denmark. Google is already represented in Sweden and so far 5 people work in their office in Stockholm.

Grønbech explains that he will be busy a man as his primary job will be working with the big clients on Adwords and that the opportunities are wide open as only 6-7% of online advertising are being spend on search in Norway and 9% in Sweden - while it's a whopping 42% in the UK. Grønbech estimates that it will rise to 30-40% in Norway within a very short time.

Google had a long time dispute over the Google.no domain, which was owned by a Norwegian sunglasses company before Google claimed right on the domain. Google lost the first case, but came out on top eventually and won the right to the domain. On the WayBackMachine you can see the sunglass site as it looked in November 2002.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Italians and the Internet

According to recent EUROSTAT research, the internet in Europe has reached an estimated 89% of enterprises and 50% of the population. Italian industry is in line with the European average, but Italians are not connected as much when compared to other European citizens.

The report shows only 31% of Italian households are connected and regularly using the Internet, similar to Eastern European countries such as Lithuania and Poland.

The difference is most likely due to the higher prices of ADSL connections which on average differ by a factor 3 (in excess) when compared to equivalent Broadband subscriptions sold in France or Germany.

Another negative factor contributing to the “Italian Digital Divide” is the absence of ADSL connectivity outside of major cities: It is common to find important suburbs and entire towns slightly beyond the reach of ADSL nodes.

Souces:

Rai.it
Beppegrillo.it

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Broadband brings cinema to Italian living rooms

Rosso Alice, a TELECOM ITALIA Company, has announced it will be offering online film vision before films reach Italian cinemas and movie theatres, thanks to an agreement with Mikado, starting June 22nd.

TELECOM ITALIA has upgraded all ADSL connections to 1.2 Mbit/s and promised an even further increase to those subscribing to the Rosso Alice profile up to 4 Mbit/s, allowing Video on Demand.

In an attempt to attract the younger and more demanding audience, TELECOM ITALIA has also announced a partnership with Mtv called 'Mtv on demand' a new channel created for the online distribution of music.

Rosso Alice Provides Films in Pay Per View, gaming, and Music and is re-shaping the traditional multimedia industry in Italy. A flat broadband ADSL subscription to the Interent in Italy ranges between € 26,00 and € 40,00 per month.

ANSA

Friday, May 27, 2005

France presents the facts about the French and technology in California

A fascinating article in Silicon.com tells of France trying to change its 'image problem' in the world of technology. Thus is revealed some interesting information about French culture - and France's place in the world:

  • France has a higher percentage of 20 to 29 year olds with qualifications in science or technology than the UK or US.
  • Start-ups qualify for an 8-year income tax holiday!
  • France is the third-largest recipient of foreign aid and the fourth largest exporter.
  • 10 of the world's 100 largest companies are based in France.


France grapples with its image problem - silicon.com

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Yahoo Scandinavia opens the doors again

After closing their local sites 1.5 years ago, Yahoo has once again opened up to local users in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The local sites have a very similar look and feel to the US site, but one major difference is the absence of the directory.

At the time of posting, there are signs that the directory will not return to Scandianvia and so far no signs of local Surfers (Yahoo's editors) have been spotted. Running and maintaining a quality directory is of course a heavy manual task and with the relatively small population in these countries in mind, one cannot blame Yahoo for not continuing to keep the directory afloat. The last few years of actively running Yahoo Scandinavia, Yahoo spent quite a lot of money .

Interesting and refreshing of course that the local search is back (and quite good for that matter), but with a mild aftertaste as it was the once the great directory that made Yahoo!

Have at look at Yahoo Denmark, Yahoo Sweden and Yahoo Norway.

Das Keyboard UberGeeks only

Looking for a posh hi-tech keyboard ?? Metadot Corporation from Austin Texas introduces the keyboard defined as "Only For the Best". What makes it so different from the others ?? It bears no inscription on the keys - 100% blank ... could be a useful solution for multilingual search marketers!

Metadot Corporation: Das Keyboard

Italian families invest in Broad Band Internet Connections

A new report called 'e-family-2005' of the Association Federcomin, shows more and more Italian families are investing in broad band connections to the internet. An increase has been registered in digital cameras, DVDs, satellite connections, and broad band internet access. The study shows a significant drop in purchasing of PCs and cell phones. Italians are also showing less interest for video game consoles. Fax and answering machines are "obsolete"

ANSA: Famiglia e Nuove Tecnologie

Google's desktop tool goes multilingual

The Google blog has announced that the desktop search tool is now available in a wider range of languages comprising of French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Japanese and Korean.


Google Blog: Speaking of search

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Multilingual search to recruit 12 new contributors, says blog editor

Multilingual search is to increase its coverage of European and world news by adding additional contributors to its roster, says Editor Andy Atkins-Krüger.

"The news blog was launched almost 3 months ago and has come a long way in a short time.

"Our aim was to bring not-in-English search matters to an English-speaking audience and to act as a catalyst for greater growth - particularly in the European market.

"We're already covering stories that most other blogs pass over and have had a fantastic response from corners of the globe we didn't expect to reach.

"We also recruited great volunteers to add depth to our story finding with Sante Achille from Italy, Laszlo Fazakas from Hungary and Nick Wilsdon from Russia.

"Now we want to recruit another 12 contributors with a passion for mutlingual search who will help to ensure that Multilingual Search is the leading source for search engine information and statistics - when its not in English!"

Volunteers should use the normal contact form.

Multilingual search engines, European internet usage statistics, search marketing, international growth traffic

Greek web users to have 'Greek' domain names from July 4

The Greek alphabet is to make its way into Greek domain names from July 4, the country's telecommunications authorities EETT reported on Tuesday. The step is intended to increase the use of new technologies in Greece.

At the present time, Greek web sites only use the Latin alphabet for domain names - due to both technical problems and a lack of preparation by the registration countries, says the EETT.

Unfortunately for the Greeks, as with other non-Latin alphabets, the step is something of a compromise as the Greek characters have to be slotted in between the protocol (Http://www) and the country top level domain name (.gr).

The EETT says, "The measure should contribute to strengthening the Greek alphabet and give a new momentum to the use of new technologies". Not everyone in Greece knows the Latin alphabet and the recent Eurostat research, reported earlier in this blog, shows that Greece is behind when compared with 30 European nations.

Belgian web connections too expensive, says Belgian study

Belgian web connections are more expensive than those in the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, France, the UK, Germany and Italy, says a study by Belga's Test Achat.

Reported by Expatica

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Worldwide broadband penetration shows Netherlands romping ahead in Europe

The far east still heads the league table of most broadband connected countries with South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan all in the top 6. The far east will overtake North America and Europe in the next few years for 'connected households', reports eMarketer.

Intriguingly Canada and four European countries help to beat the US into only 11th place.

eMarketer report says broadbend penetration rates worldwide put South Korea and Hong Kong top, China and Poland bottom

Taking just Europe out of the figures, the Netherlands leads the way with Germany and Poland bringing up the rear:

1. Netherlands
2. Belgium
3. Denmark
4. Switzerland
5. Sweden
6. France
7. Spain
8. Finland
9. UK
10. Portugal
11. Norway
12. Austria
13. Italy
14. Germany
15. Poland

The Netherlands is the biggest jumper, says eMarketer, having moved ahead of Denmark and Belgium which beat it in 2004.

As with many statistics, the figures mask some local factors - such as the availability of ISDN which still sees significant levels of usage in countries such as Germany.

China will soon rank as the most broadbanded connected country in the world by number, even though the percentage penetration puts it still right at the bottom of the table.



The Global Broadband Market

Monday, May 23, 2005

Big Clique African-American search engine launches in 17 languages

Mr. Olu, the Will Smith of search engines, has created a new search engine for the world - Big Clique - in fact covering 17 languages from day one an amazingly ambitious undertaking!

17 language black American search engine launch

Big Clique claims to offer 'Just search...' and nothing else. The choice of languages is intriguing comprising English, Italian, German, Spanish, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Russian, Belarusian, Malay, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai, Japanese and Chinese. That looks like a list of some of the most commercially interesting languages - with one or two omissions (Norwegian and Danish, for instance) and one or two additions.

Pay per click advertising is by gRock Media Group Company.

Belgian 'social' search engine launches in French only

BelSoc.org has launched a social search engine in the French language in Belgium focusing principally on professionals in the 'social-medical' sector.

Moteur Social claims to only feature pages from Belgium, in the social fields and principally in French language. More of a directory than algorithmic search engine, the intriguing thing about the project is its claim to have 'fewer' pages than other engines - implying that a smaller targeted index will produce a more accurate result.


Moteur social (Be)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Excite Italia Acquired by Ask Jeeves

Excite Italia is now officially part of Ask Jeeves Inc. Tiscali, a major European Internet Company, had acquired 70% of Excite Italia in March 2001, and purchased the residual 30% in April 2002.

Ask moves in on Italian search engine

The value of the acquisition is estimated to be € 10 million. The disposal of Excite Italia is yet another step of Tiscali in their consolidation and focus on core business.

Ask Jeeves acquires Excite Italia and by doing so expands into Europe, adding an estimated 3 million users per month. Ask Jeeves owns the Excite trade mark worldwide, but so far was not present in Europe.

Wall Street Italia

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

China has 98.8 million Internet users - ready for the invasion of the US majors.

China is a large country. So even a small percentage of web users produces a big number - 98.8 million users according to an official in the Ministry of Information. Not surprising then that the leading US web-based businesses are falling over themselves to get into the Chinese market.

Just yesterday, Amazon announced its plans to expand in China having bought Joyo.com back in September. At the end of last week MSN announced a joint venture with the Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd, Ebay declared its interest and this followed Google's approval to open an office in Shanghai.

We should all be looking to China it seems....

People's Daily Online -- China has 98.8 million Internet users

Seekport continues its European roll-out with launch in the UK

The German search engine Seekport has moved its UK search engine out of Beta. Seekport launched in the UK in December and claims to offer more UK-oriented results - partly thanks to a team of editors who quality check the engine's results.

Testing of the algorithm suggests that it operates quite differently to other the American search engines currently producing results which seem odd. As far as Web Certain tracking of UK web sites is concerned, Seekport hasn't yet made it onto the radar and it will need some heavy promotion if it wishes to increase its share of the UK market.

New

Reported by....Netimperative - Seekport UK moves out of test phase

Search marketing seminar - Imitiki - to take place in Lyon sponsored by Google

ImiTiki - the search marketing conference brand which normally runs conferences in Paris, is to run a seminar for the first time in Lyon sponsored by Google. The seminar will be on the 16th of June with the morning focusing on organic search techniques and the afternoon on Google's adwords.

search marketing seminar takes place in Lyon

Reported by Abondance

Monday, May 16, 2005

New Saudi Arabian search engine in English launches in Beta

The Saudi-based Dar Al Riyadh Holding Group has launched a new beta version English-speaking search engine built by Tajseed Solutions.

New english-speaking Arabic search engine launched in beta

Deepy has a look of Microsoft (that search button...?) and the now standard Google format. However, it has a very neat spelling feature which corrects you as you type.

This may seem innocuous enough - but if English is not your mother tongue and the world's information is largely recorded in English and only findable by searching in that language - you'd appreciate some help with your spelling wouldn't you?

A report carried out in 2004 by Web Certain suggested that Arabic speakers, amongst other non-English mother-tongue speakers, found searching in English less than easy. Deepy may just have come up with a solution which may well be copied by others. Now that would be a good idea if search engines added accent correction to their none-English sites!

Reported by Abondance

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Big businesses use the internet to buy, and they're all connected - Eurostat

The official statistics body of the European Union - known as Eurostat - announced its 30 nation report on internet usage throughout Europe on Friday. Report author Morag Ottens, concludes "In most countries internet penetration has reached saturation point in large enterprises" - he also found that 48% of large European enterprises had purchased via the internet in 2004.

Key conclusions of the report are:-

  • Half of larger business buy via the internet
  • Virtually all European business are connected - even in the weaker economies
  • Small business are only marginally behind in their use of the internet
  • Men are greater users than women but this is narrowing in the younger age gaps
  • Broadband is rapidly becoming the method of choice for accessing the internet
  • Higher educational levels use the internet more
  • Younger age groups show internet usage more than double that of their grandparents
51% of men and 43% of women used the internet, as the chart below shows. Intriguingly, this gap is consistent across all countries with high and low penetrations of the internet with the notable exceptions of just Finland and Estonia where women are ahead across all age groups.

Large enterprises were 99% internet-connected - hence the 'virtual saturation' conclusion. Smaller businesses are marginally behind - except in the most active countries such as those in Scandinavia where they are almost alongside their larger colleagues. For large enterprises, only Estonia, Italy, Hungary, Norway, Bulgaria and Romania were below 99% - but even then the lowest figure was in Romania which still achieved 90%.

Eurostat report on European internet usage by individuals and enterprises 2004
Chart shows use of the internet by individuals and enterprises - click to view.

There is a 16% gap between large enterprises buying on the web (48%) and smaller businesses (32%) - Morag Ottens comments that this is despite the fact that "Gains are expected to be made in terms of efficiency, competitiveness and achieving a wider customer base".

Eurostat internet usage statistics show large enterprises use the internet to buy
Chart shows large enterprise purchasing via internet - click to view.

The picture across the 30 nations varies only by degree with Scandinavian nations clearly in the lead for use by businesses whilst Germany, Austria, Estonia and the UK overtake Norway when consumers are considered to join the leading group of Finland, Denmark and Sweden .

Slovakia has an unexpectedly high figure of business use and Estonia is above average in terms of individuals. The tailing group in this study comprises of Italy, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary and Portugal who are all below average on both business and consumer use.

European internet usage varies, says Eurostat, but not much!
Chart shows internet usage by individuals and enterprises by country in 2004

Conclusions

The report is already out of date, of course, as we have seen rapid increases already in 2005. It also covers all use of the internet - as opposed to the web - but what it does do is give a very clear picture that Europe offers a very rich market to be targeted via the web. One group which should take particular notice is business-to-business marketers - who now have great export opportunities open to them whether they are large or small.

The report covers an interesting basket of 30 nations ranging from heavy web users - Scandinavia - to future members of the European Union - including Turkey. Non-members of the European Union such as Norway and Switzerland are also covered.

The full report is available from Eurostat or you can contact Web Certain who will be pleased to forward you a copy.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

German search engine Web.de to be bought by United Internet

Web.de signed up to an acquistion by United Internet on Friday for 200 million Euros and a 5.8% shareholding in United Internet. The deal can't go ahead until it's been approved by the German monopolies office - it also still requires the approval of the Web.de annual general meeting. Report by Austrian TV's Futurezone site.

German search engines

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The search marketing association EU goes for lift off

For some months a group of search marketers around Europe have been drafting a constitution and plans for an association to represent search marketers.

Following the success of the SMA-UK, Mikkel deMib Svendsen and Andy Atkins-Krüger have been working with Sante Achille from Italy, Ben van den Bergh from the Netherlands, Olivier Guillo of France, Thomas Bindl from Germany and Laszlo Fazakas of Hungary to put the new association together.

Now the association has started the process to run elections for a committee and to recruit paying members!

See the press release on the SMA-EU site.

Spend per internet user in Belgium - lower than the UK and France

An IAB Nederland study reported by Digimedia confirms earlier reports in this blog on Belgian statistics, that the market is somewhat lagging behind. According to the study, spend per person online during 2004 in France was 54 Euros, in the UK 42 Euros and Belgium just 8 Euros. The number of advertisers has gone from just 262 in 2003 to 529 in 2004.

A note of caution over the figures which appear not to fully cover the search market. Whilst the spend per internet user may not be wholly accurate, it seems clear from the comparisons that Belgium is not racing ahead at the same pace as its neighbours.

Belgian statistics take two steps forward

Dutch online advertising grows by 34% in first quarter of 2005

The Dutch Interactive Advertising Bureau reports that the online advertising market grew by 34% in the first quarter of 2005 to 21.5 million Euros.

Emerce, which brings us the report, explains that the bureau brings together 18 organisations including TradeDoubler, MSN, Ilse, Lycos and Wanadoo but doesn't yet include Google or Yahoo, something which IAB Director, Igor Beuker, regrets. This means that the total turnover figure for the industry will be significantly understated.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Ask Jeeves to conquer Western Europe!

CEO of Ask Jeeves has revealed to Reuters plans to roll out the butler throughout western Europe.

Following the IAC acquisition, Ask certainly has more capital at its disposal so it is not surprising to read speculation of a buy-out of Excite Italia from Tiscali, and Spanish expansion. Where next? The biggest single language web corpus which Ask could capture outside of English is German covering Austria, Switzerland and Germany as well as parts of Belgium and eastern Europe. If I were a betting man, that's where I'd put my money!

Press release service opens Hungary outlet

GroupWeb.com has opened a new Hungary newswire service at www.hungarynewswire.com. The Budapest-based GroupWeb.com runs GroupWeb Emailwire.com.

58% of Israelis have an internet connection - only 10% via dial-up

The Jerusalem Post brings us the news that Israelis are well connected to the internet with 73% of homes having a computer and 58% an internet connection.

The survey was carried out by the Tel Aviv University's Netvision Institute for Internet Research. Heavy users were found to be generally aged under 29. 43% of internet users access the web at least once a day.

Belgian internet statistics show women overtaking men!

Women are now in the majority of web users in Belgium who access the internet at least once per month - up to the age of 34 that is! Overtall men still represent 55% of regular users and women 45%. The difference is in the age group between 15 - 34 where 1,120,000 women surf and 1,008,000 men - say reports from the Federale Overheidsdienst Economie.

The total number is 4.2 million - as previously reported. Men search more for adult, cars, computers, IT and Sport and women search for personal care, family and cooking. Men are more involved in PC banking and women send more e-cards, reports the Antwerp newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen.

Earlier Belgian statistics report...


Home grown pay per click service arrives at Russian search engine

Russia's leading home grown search engine, Yandex , has launched a new pay per click service for Russia along the lines of the existing Google service.

Thanks to Nick Wilsdon of e3internet which brought us this story - Yandex so far having issued no public comment - as soon as they do we will bring you more...

According to Nick, Yandex operates in way more similar to Google than Yahoo.

Kuwait to launch arabic search engine

The Kuwait News Agency - reported in the China-based online newspaper People's Daily Online - is to launch an arabic language search engine to archive arabic sites on the web.

The news was revealed by the Kuwaiti Director General of the country's Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the world information forum in Cairo.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Internet statistics from Belgium take two steps forwards

Two organisations from Belgium - Insites and ISPA - which publish statistical information on the country's web use, are to join forces to deliver better information for web marketers.

Insites publishes the report known as the Belgium Internet Mapping twice a year. The latest figures - known as 'BIM 12' - were published in December and gave a figure of 4.2 million internet users with 49% of the Belgian population using the internet on a regular basis - in other words at least once per month. It also concluded that a limiting factor on the growth of Belgian web use, was computer penetration. It forecast a potential growth of web use to 57% of the population - but called for incentives to increase the availability of PCs.

BIM 12 also placed Google at the head of the search engine preferences of the Belgians.

The good news is that 85% of Belgians who access the web at home - do so through a fast broadband or cable connection.

ISPA's last internet study was published in February relating to the last quarter of 2004 and, whilst giving different numbers, largely reflected the Insite picture with broadband use reaching 80% of internet connections. The rise in web access, however, was largely static with a growth of just 2% overall (business 2.9%, home 1.8%). Just connections to broadband are increasing at a reasonable pace of 6.5%. In total, ISPA believes the total number of active connections to be just over 2 million.

Overall the picture in Belgium is currently one of relative stagnation - although comparative figures from elsewhere would suggest that increased broadband use means that more time is actually spent online - but neither ISPA nor Insite comment on this.

It is to hoped that the combined efforts of both organisations will enrich the data available to marketers targeting Belgium. We'll keep you posted.

Insites ISPA

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Ask Jeeves to buy Italian search engine - Excite Italia

Ask Jeeves is reported to be on the verge of buying Excite Italia from Tiscali for 10 million Euros. Ask was recently purchased by IAC and may well have deep enough pockets now to expand its linguistic offering. It only recently entered the Spanish market with its own Ask brand and this would be a very logical move into another southern European language area.

Finanza e mercati

Zoeken.nl creates 'special days' logos ala Google

Dutch Cowboys tell us that Zoeken.nl has followed Google's lead in changing their logos to suit special days. Google changes its logo to reflect national days - but this means that their logo changes throughout the world. Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineWatch, has suggested that Google should create local identities for nationally important days. Zoeken.nl has spotted an opportunity to respect its own national presence in the Netherlands by doing just that.

The Dutch celebrate their liberation at the end of the second world war with two national days the 4th and 5th of May. The first of these of day of solemn commemoration, the latter a day of joy and celebration.

Thrifty.com goes into French, German and Spanish

American car hire organisation, Thrifty.com, has translated its site into French, German and Spanish - a sign that more of the larger American travel organisations are recognising the need to speak the language of their customers.

Unfortunately, 75% of the page titles remain in English, as do the keywords and page descriptions so they've left something of a challenge for search engines to recognise the languages on the site.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

37% of Austrians use the internet almost daily

The Austrian Internet Monitor (AIM) has published its 2005 first quarter figures for use of the internet in Austria with further figures confirming the continuing growth in use of the web. This latest report particuarly reinforces the point that, as the internet becomes more accessible, the degree of daily use also increases with 37% of Austrian's over 14 now using the internet almost daily.

The first quarter of 2005 has increased by 2% in terms of access to the internet (66%), active use has increased by 1% overall (59%) - but intensive use has increased by 2% (46%). This seems to suggest that there is a move towards more active use by those who have access.

The total Austrian web audience is now 4,451,000, 3.3 million of which are accessing on a very regular basis. In the 14-19 age group, 93% have access to the internet.

Austrian Internet Monitor

Monday, May 02, 2005

The very first .eu domain name goes live

The very first .eu domain has gone live on the web today - but don't get your cheque books out yet - this is the registration organisation itself - EURid at www.eurid.eu - which is responsible for managing the new European top level domain name.

Nevertheless, a significant milestone has been passed with the first .eu ever to function thanks to ICANN placing .eu in the web root directory!

Registrations of .eu domain names will be possible before the end of 2005 - with the registration agreement for registrars being published in all the languages of the EU before the end of May. However, there is a four month sunrise period to enable governments and priority organisations to organise their .eu domain names - so in reality .eu will only be open to all in 2006.

Should you buy a .eu domain name? Our advice is, if you operate in several EU countries - do! It may keep your domain name costs under control, protect your trademarks and mean that you are geographically located in the EU - and that means you should feature in the 'pages from...' results. Although that, of course, remains to be seen.


EURid

New French search engine Ketady launches

A new search engine Ketady has been launched in France aiming to provide intelligent search results for users. The idea behind Ketady is that humans respond to humans - rather than machines giving approximated answers via algorithms.

A registration is required - and searchers questions are referred to 'experts' who carry out the necessary search and respond within a guaranteed 10 minutes - rather than 10 milli-seconds! That's excluding night-time, of course.

Using humans is not a totally new concept - but a 10 minute delay seems rather long. It will be interesting to see if the results make the wait worthwhile!

Ketady's news release

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Google turns up the heat in French library battle

Representatives of Google started a tour of the press in March to put forward the 'Google Print' plan - the project to digitally capture the world's libraries online, reports the French newspaper 'Le Figaro' in its online edition.

The Google print project aims to digitise over 15 million books and 4.5 billion pages of text from American and British libraries - and then to move on to the rest of the world.

On wednesday morning last, the tour reached France with the Director General of Google France meeting with 130 representatives of the French press. He put forward a 'contract' for the library project which it is aimed to have in place by September. It won't be possible, for instance, for a user to download the entire contents of a book and, in fact, the intention is for just 20% of each book to be online comprising table of contents, summaries, notes on the author, etc. Google will only digitise the whole work if the author has given permission.

It was also revealed at the press conference that although users will be able to access the information for free, book authors will receive a share of the revenue generated by advertising as a result.

One issue, reports Le Figaro, is that the contract proposed will be American and does not protect intellectual property rights in the same way as a French contract. Another French fear is that the library system itself in France will be threatened by the project.