Categories: "IT business"

Sitemaps priority is confusing

When looking at the sitemaps protocol which is now endorsed by Google, Yahoo and MSN, I can't help but crying about how obscure the documentation is, especially for the <priority> element.

Please note that the priority you assign to a page is not likely to influence the position of your URLs in a search engine's result pages.

Okay, so what's the point?

Granted that setting all priorities to 1.0 will not make the urls rank higher than urls from other sites. But we're talking about position of URLs here, not sites.

Sometimes, the same site appears multiple times in search results, with different pages/urls. In that case, if priority doesn't influence which URL comes first, compared to which other comes second, then what's the use?

For example, on a blog, the same info can be found on a post's permanent url, on the homepage, on the category page, on the archives pages, the RSS feed, etc.

Sometimes the search will return several of these locations. If the priority can't be used to tell that the permanent url would be the best choice to put first, then... I don't get it! |-|

Does it mean that priorities are only used to determine what gets crawled first? If it does, then it means that maybe the 100 top priorities will be indexed and the others won't! So the top 100 may appear in search results and the other may not!

Present vs. not present! That's what they call "not influencing the position'?

Again, if it doesn't do that, then what does it do?

All I can think of at that point is the priority being an alternative to <changefreq> : a site gets a certain number of reindexes a day, and high priorities pages will be refreshed more often that low priority pages.

That would comply with the definition of that <priority> does NOT do...

But then... it doesn't make sense with what it is *supposed* to do:

it only lets the search engines know which pages you deem most important for the crawlers.

Or by "most important", are we supposed to understand "most frequently updated"?

I really wonder who it helps to have that spec being so obscure... :>>

Apollo: the Flash Virtual Machine is getting better

Apollo: the Flash Virtual Machine is getting better

It was bound to happen. Macromedia's (well, Adobe's) Flash player finally evolved into a very complete Virtual Machine. They call it Apollo.

It basically solves the same problem Java has tried to solve for years: write once, run anywhere.

Though it's certainly less mature than Java today, I see several factors that could let Apollo succeed where Java has failed. Among these:

  • It leverages existing developers skills (HTML, Javascript, Flash...) which makes it look much more accessible than Java which only leveraged C++ skills.
  • It's gonna look nice out of the box. Java still looks relatively ugly...
  • With today's computers it's probably going to feel less painful and slow than Java back in 1996...

On the other hand, Sun has recently released Java as Open Source and that's certainly not a coincidence. I'm not sure what Adobe's pricing/distribution plans are with Apollo, but it certainly ain't gonna be as free as open source! :roll:

About botnets

"We used to call the Internet a sort of Wild West. Now it's more like Chicago in the 1920s with Al Capone."
- Keith Laslop, president of Prolexic Technologies

How Apple got green overnight...

At Apple's last special event, after introducing the new iPods, Steve Jobs added this:

"We've got some new packagings for the new nano as well. And it's 52% less volume. This turns out to be an environmentally great thing. Because it dramatically reduces the amount of fossile fuels we have to spend to move these things around the planet."

Isn't that odd?

I mean, I have been religiously watching Uncle Steve's speeches for at least two years now, and I believe this is the first time he's been mentioning the environment in one of his one man shows. More than that, he actually seemed pretty proud about Apple's contribution to the environment.

Well... yeah... I could be almost happy about it... If only Apple was really concerned about the environment! But so far, all I heard is "look we're saving a lot of money on shipping costs and that will help us be cheaper than the Zune".

But there's another reason for Jobs showing his environment friendly side. (Check out their updated environment page on Apple's site).

The real reason is Greenpeace! They came out with a report on how environment friendly consumer electronics manufacturers actually are. And guess what? Apple is close to the last! :(

Full story »

What the google.be case is really about

Google.be 28-sept-06
Google.be 28-sept-06

Everybody’s been saying lots of things about the Google.be case, especially that the Belgian newspapers should have used robots.txt to tell Google what not to index. And that the fact they did not use robots.txt clearly show all they were interested is in getting money from Google…

Well, friends, I’m no lawyer or legal expert of any kind, but I’m French… and that lets me read and “almost” understand the terms of the ruling… I guess…

I think the ruling makes it pretty clear what the Belgian newspapers want, and I think this has been mistunderstood:

  • The papers welcome Google to index and display their news as part of Google News! (or at least they don’t care)
  • The papers’ particular online business model is that news are free, but access to archives require payments. Example here.
  • Once an article falls out of the news category and into the archives category, it should not be freely accessible any more.
  • Google, via its world (in)famous Google Cache, often makes the content available forever, or at least for a very long time after is has gone off the official site’s free area.

I guess that’s it: what the Beligian paper really want is a way to get the content out of Google News once it is no news any more.

Now, I’m no robots.txt or Googlebot expert either, but from what I understand there was no convenient way for the papers to tell Google that it is okay to index some content for, let’s say 2 months, but not keep it in cache after that delay.

Goggle made some general comments on the case on their blog, but:

  • They are not allowed to comment specifically on the ruling, so it’s not that useful;
  • They failed to show up at the trial, which is quite unbelievable… but would make it almost believable they fail to understand the real issue that has been raised… :roll:

Note: again, I’m no legal expert. Just trying to make a little sense of all this noise…

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