February 07, 2008

A New Blog: Latte Tech

As you know, the main focus of Latte is politics.  I work in the software industry, and there are often technology topics I want to write about that aren't appropriate to cover here.  For that reason I'm starting a second blog called Latte Tech. Please check it out, and add the feed to your RSS reader if you're interested in keeping up with itor just stop by any time.

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May 18, 2007

Google Releases Universal Search

Looks like my November 15, 2006 post about Google using Latte as a test for a "Universal Search" was correct; they finally announced the service two days ago. My days of profiting from mistaken searches are coming to a close.

But speaking of predictions, it looks like Alberto "organ failure" Gonzales is finally going to have to resign; maybe he and Wolfowitz can track down Rummy and reminisce about old times...

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November 15, 2006

Google Planning "Universal Search;" Using Latte as Test

If you perform a Google search for a news event, you're not likely to get the answers you expect.  For example, this blog's April Fools Day post is still in the top three responses for the search "Rumsfeld resigns," despite extensive news coverage of the real story.  While I would prefer that the 6,000+ recent Latte visits were intentional, I know that I'm just the beneficiary of bad search results. Google doesn't update its index of the Web often enough to keep up with breaking storiesthe Web is too big and changes too fast.  And the way Google ranks results for regular searches isn't always appropriate for news stories.

Google does have a news search that is better suited to this kind of query. For example a Google News search for "Rumsfeld resigns" returns 432 links to relevant articles, many of them from November 8th, the day the Secretary's resignation was announced. But many people don't bother to use Google News, and thus they end up on sites that aren't necessarily relevant.

The engineers at Google are clearly aware of this issue, and they are working on improvements.  Indeed, they seem to be using the "Rumsfeld resigns" query for tests of their new system.  At least that's what one can infer from certain incoming links to Latte from www.corp.google.com, notably "http://www.corp.google.com/~username/universalsearch/ modes_v1/usability/rumsfeld.htm." (My blog software, Typepad, shows me a daily log of the traffic to Latte.)

Though it may look like gibberish, the URL above is actually quite revealing. It suggests that Google is performing internal usability tests on an upgrade called "Universal Search."  And it's enough information that I'm willing to speculate that one day soon, Google News results will be integrated into the main Google results. And on the sad day when this capability is released to the public, traffic to Latte will drop back down to normal.


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March 31, 2005

The Numbers

It’s time to update the stereotype; we’re not just “latte-sipping, Mini-driving, sushi-eating” liberals: we are now “Firefox-browsin’” liberals.

At the end of January, I embedded Site Meter in this blog. It shows, among other things, that the percentage of people who use Internet Explorer to read this site has been deteriorating fast — it’s now down to 56% of the total. 29% are using Firefox, and the rest are using other browsers like Safari and Netscape.

Indeed, an article published yesterday says that blogs in general have a higher rate of Firefox usage than the 5-10% measured on the Web as a whole. That’s not too surprising because blog readers tend to be relatively technically savvy.

However, Firefox seems to be significantly more popular among readers of liberal blogs than conservative ones. For example, liberal DailyKos has 39% Firefox, whereas conservative blogs PowerLine and Hugh Hewitt have Firefox usage of half that rate. The share on AndrewSullivan.com has actually declined to 5.4% from 6.3% a couple weeks ago, according to Site Meter.

I guess it’s natural; conservatives resist change by definition. Admittedly though, my analysis is less than scientific — it would be interesting to hear from other bloggers if you are seeing the same trends.

By the way, according to Typepad, as of today Latte has been viewed more than 10,000 times since the first post on November 21. Thanks to all of you for reading Latte, and especially my good friends in New Jersey who made it their homepage, thus substantially boosting the numbers :).

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