Friday, May 10, 2013
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Search Australia new features including searching using your choice of Google, Bing or Yahoo, quick access to a JustLocal postcode page and check if you're using the preferred Australian English spelling.
Search Australia was added to JustLocal to give those who wish to search a search engine which focuses on Australian sites and removes many of the directories which have now taken over the internet. I’m pretty happy that if I search for ‘fish and chips’ in a local suburb, if the business has a web presence I can now see their page. Of course many small businesses don’t have a web presence which doesn’t help them or their customers. I’ve shown a number of local businesses how a site I’ve put on the internet for them can generate hundreds of leads a month but in the end they don’t seem to care.
The worst example of not providing up-to-date information is when I went into a fish and chip shop in Doncaster Road. After placing the order via telephone the order was some 15% dearer. Every customer was complaining because like me they were ordering from an out-of-date menu and the business decided to increase their prices without letting them know. Had the business put their menu on the internet I would have known before I ordered and so potentially could everyone else. I’ve never used the business again so an out-of-date menu can and does lose businesses customers. A single page site assists hundreds of customers a year and is easily paid for by a single repeat customer. Small business can’t see if they don’t provide the tools people need they’ll go elsewhere and the bigger companies ARE providing online menus.
But I digress. The real purpose of this post is to let users of JustLocal know of three new features I’ve added to Search Australia, the search engine available on every JustLocal page and also available as an Add-in to Internet Explorer. If you add a single letter at the start of the search phrase you can select your preferred search engine, go to a JustLocal postcode page, or find out if you’re using the preferred Australian English spelling for a word.
1. Type in g, b, or y and go directly to Google, Bing or Yahoo. If you add a space and then your search query (such as ‘g fish and chips templestowe’) you’ll get search results for local fish and chips shops without all the directories. That is hopefully if they have a site you’ll get the actual business’ site.
2. Type in j and you’ll go to JustLocal. Type in j followed by a space and a postcode (such as ‘j 3106’) and you’ll go to the JustLocal postcode page. That’s a pretty convenient method to go direct to your local JustLocal postcode page. Keep in mind if your area isn’t covered you’ll get a place holder page with generic ads. As soon as a business or person in your area takes up the mantle to promote JustLocal in your area the generic page will be replaced with local information.
3. Type in w followed by a word and you’ll go direct to the Word Check page to check if you are using the preferred Australian English spelling for a word. You do need a password to see the answer. All clients of mine are provided with the password. In fact if you use Search Australia from JustLocal and type in ‘dictionary’, you’ll have access to Word Check for a while. A thank you for trying out Search Australia.
On top of removing dozens of directories now cluttering search results when using Google (not Bing or Yahoo) and the ability to enter a single word or couple of words to go to the top searched for sites by millions of users, these new features should make Search Australian even more useful. Clients are welcome to request the list of top site search terms. I don’t currently publish the terms on the internet because of the work involved collating the list so please feel free to ask for a copy to assist you in your searches.
Don’t forget, the most convenient way to use Search Australia is to use the link to add Search Australia as your default search engine in Internet Explorer. Then you can perform a search direct from the address bar in Internet Explorer. If everyone in Australia used Search Australia (heaven forbid as my server wouldn’t hold up to it) if could potentially save many hundreds of millions of searches when people are looking for major Australian companies, a TV guide and even the weather. Search engines want you to end up on their page to make money from advertising. I want you to get quickly to the site you want to get to.
For me the real test of whether or not something I’ve developed is worthwhile is whether I use it myself or not. Search Australia is my preferred search tool. It doesn’t stop me from using Google, and in fact if I want to use Google I simply enter the letter ‘g’ and I go direct to Google. I can quickly decide which search engine I’d prefer and not be stuck with just one. With one or two words I access most of the popular sites such as ANZ, eBay, Gumtree, Freeview (TV guide) etc., so it makes sense to use Search Australia rather than end up hunting through Google results that have become so cluttered. I hope you find Search Australia useful too.
Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Disturbingly I’m now seeing up to 50 per cent of people reaching my sites who may be logged on to a Google service and so could be tracked at the individual level.
I use Google’s blogger, Analytics and sometimes Google advertising on my sites. If you are logged on to a Google service your activities can be linked to you as an individual. What you are doing on the internet can thus potentially be tracked to you as an individual.
What people don’t know is when you visit a site which has advertising on it, that advertising is often provided by Google. Many sites use Google’s Analytics software to record statistics for their sites. As you move from site to site your activities can potentially be recorded as an individual.
As you read the major daily news sites, as you search for information, when you go to many sites on the internet your activities can be tracked to you as an individual. In addition it is also possible your location is being tracked without your knowledge because often the internet address you use to access the internet is known to be in a certain area.
It is up to each person to decide whether this matters to them or not. If it does matter to you then consider logging out of all Google services (and potentially other services). When you are logged on to services you can be tracked individually and a profile of you and your activities can be created. Some of this information can potentially end up in the wrong hands. The most obvious outcome is you’ll be directly marketed to and could end up paying more for products and services.
We can’t stop the government and companies collecting information, but most people aren’t aware that their activities on the internet can be tracked to them individually. Because more than 90% of Australians use Google for searching, if they are logged on to Google services (my logs are indicating up to 50% of people may be logged onto a Google service when they reach my sites) then your activities across the internet may be being recorded.
Log off online services as soon as you are finished with them. Don’t keep services such as Gmail and YouTube logged on and running in the background. This doesn’t just apply to Google. Any service that you are logged in and has software they’ve created installed on another site could be doing the same. The type of services that come to mind are social networking services. Where a site you visit displays a button from a social networking service you don’t know what that code does and neither do I. The code could be tracking you. By logging off you reduce some of your online activities being tracked.
Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.