A summary of search related news items that occurred this week including confirmation from Google’s Matt Cutts that they did in fact lower PageRank scores for site’s they suspect to be selling text links, as previously promised, Pownce releases public API, Google puts plans into motion to attack Facebook’s open platform, Everex launches its $200 “Google PC” to be sold at Wal-Mart stores, and finally, MySpace joins forces with Google on the OpenSocial platform.
- Matt Cutts Confirms Google FUD Campaign – Loren Baker reports that Matt Cutts of Google has confirmed that Google in fact has lowered a select number of web site’s PageRank scores visible through the Google Toolbar due to the fact that they suspect them of selling paid text links. From Matt himself, “The partial update to visible PageRank that went out a few days ago was primarily regarding PageRank selling and the forward links of sites. So paid links that pass PageRank would affect our opinion of a site. Going forward, I expect that Google will be looking at additional sites that appear to be buying or selling PageRank.”
- Pownce Releases Public API - From Mashable, Pownce has released a public API, which means that developers will now be able to create third party plug-ins and applications for Pownce. Possibly this might generate new interest in the micro-blogging platform which has diminished over the last few months as Twitter has gained much more fanfare. Major reasons for the dis-interest in Pownce has been the lack of SMS gateway (less important), and lack of public API – both of which their biggest competitor, Twitter, has already had.
- Google To Attack Facebook’s Open Platform - Mashable reports that Google along with a group of companies have teamed up to create a set of standards for developers to create applications on their own social networks. Companies include LinkedIn, hi5, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning. The new standard called OpenSocial, will act as a single platform, where applications can be distributed in a compatible manner across all participating networks. The hope is to take some of the shine off Facebook’s platform. Mashable’s Kristen Nicole questions whether this Google’s payback for losing the bid to Microsoft, and steering attention away form Facebook’s upcoming ad network? Furthermore can Facebook get in on the fun?
- $200 Google Loaded PC Coming To Wal-Mart - Mashable and Loren Baker report that Everex is launching its “Google PC” today at Wal-Mart stores for the low price of $200. The Everex “gPC” is a Linux-based PC being sold through Wal-Mart, and comes with easy access to Google applications like Gmail, Google Maps, and Google’s now complete online office suite – Google Docs. Additionally, OpenOffice comes standard with the gPC to provide desktop office functionality. It should be noted that there is no official relationship to speak of between Google and Everex. Mashable goes on to say that the computer has a very usable 1.5-gigahertz processor, 512 megabytes of memory, and 80GB hard drive.
- Google and MySpace Join Forces on OpenSocial - In more OpenSocial news this week, MySpace and Google have joined forces. In fact, they have been working together on this all along. From the jointly issued news release, “MySpace, the world’s largest social network, and Google today announced that they are joining forces to launch OpenSocial— a set of common APIs for building social applications across the web. The partnership spearheads an initiative to standardize and simplify the development of social applications. Today’s announcement underscores MySpace’s commitment to supporting standards that foster innovation in an increasingly social Web.” While MySpace has been widely criticized in recent months for falling behind Facebook and its much-hyped platform, it looks like the sleeping giant has had something up their sleeve all along. More at Mashable.