Google and Intergalatic Law

What happens when you open Google in a non-standard browser like Opera Mini? You get the following snippet.

Sorry, but this browser does not support web word-processing.

Please see our system requirements page for a list of supported browsers.

If you are working to fix problems with a specific browser and would like to bypass this check, just add ?browserok=true to the end of the Google Docs url.

Please note that it is a violation of intergalactic law to use this parameter under false pretenses, so don’t let us catch you at it.

And, it won’t work very well — really.

Opera’s Next Movement

operaOpera has a cryptic splash page on its site announcing something wonderful in the near future for mobile browsers. What will it be?  Intomobile says that hints can be found in the source (I couldn’t find anything). What will it be?

If you want to read more substantive thoughts on the future of mobile browsing, check out Russell’s latest posts (one) and (two).

UPDATE: It’s here in Beta now! Here are all the deets…

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Nielsen/NetRatings Total Minutes metric. Sounds nice, how does it work?

magnifying-glass.jpgMaybe I’m missing something. In all the breathless, “the pageview is dead” stories that came out last week surrounding Nielsen/NetRatings’ press release that they will include “Total Minutes” as part of their ranking methodology, I couldn’t find any information on how the measurement would work.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of trying to nail down a metric to succeed the Page View which (rewards poor site design and discourages linking away) but I want to make sure that we don’t replace it with something worse. I often have multiple browser tabs open at any time and if I’m working on something like email, the whole browser goes into the background. Surely any urls that are “out of focus” are not being counted towards any kind of total time spent right?

The Nielsen/NetRatings site is almost useless with only two page marketing .pdf about the NetView product which will carry the new metric. I could ask our metrics gurus at Yahoo but I want to call this omission out publically so others can benefit from the answer.

I left a couple of comments out there pleading with someone with more time to call up Nielsen to find out more but nothing yet.

ReadWriteWeb : Tyranny of the Page View Nearly Over?

AllThingsD : Fun with Numbers

I’ve also emailed Nielsen PR and will post what I find out.

Here’s a list of FAQs forwarded to me by Netratings PR:

Is time spent a new metric for NetView?

No. We have reported Time per Person for several years. The only change is that we now report Total Minutes in addition to Time per Person.

How do you measure time spent?

Time spent tracking for a URL or application begins at the same instant where Unique Audience is credited. For a site, it is when the user-requested page call (text/html) loads. For an application, it is whenever an application is in focus on the browser.

Time is credited to the URL or application as long as either the browser/browser tab including this site or the web application itself remains ‘in focus’ and there is no more than a 30 minute break in activity. If there is a 30 minute break in activity, we end the internet session and dial back the time spent for the last page or application to 1 minute.

What does ‘in focus’ mean?

‘In focus’ refers to an application’s status on a user’s desktop. By application, this could include anything from a web browser to a Microsoft Office product to a web application like Instant Messenger.

An ‘in focus’ application is in the foreground of the desktop. While other browsers and applications may be visible to the user, the ‘in focus’ application is the application that the computer knows to direct any keyboard or mouse activity. Therefore, only one application can be in focus at a time.

What if a panelist has multiple browser tabs open?

Only one browser tab can be in focus at a time for the same reason that one application can be in focus at a time. So it does not matter how many tabs are open, we only credit the tab that is in focus.

If another application besides the browser is in focus (IM, Microsoft Word, etc.), none of the URL in the browser tabs are being credited for time.

How do you measure this ‘in focus’ status?

Our patented desktop meter resides on the panelist’s desktop so it is able to detect what application is in focus and appropriately credit time. Other metering methods – like a web proxy or site tagging – are generally only able to detect web calls and need to make assumptions on visibility/in focus status based on these calls

What if someone leaves their computer?

If a panelist is inactive for less than 30 minutes, the last site or web application in focus would receive credit for the accrued time. If more than 30 minutes elapse, the time would be dialed back to 1 minute.

Video Advertising – two approaches

Apple announced today that it will run graphical ads in the lower-left hand corner of the iTunes product as users listen to podcasts on their PC. Advertising Age goes on to write that this will help offset the costs of producing and hosting podcasts. Everyone will be looking at this closely.

In other news, I’ve been pointed to another version of advertising, one that comes from and is amplified by the community. Here’s the Firefox Flicks community on “other browsers” in Wheee!

Microsoft, Longhorn, and RSS

Lots of buzz around Microsoft’s announcement that they are going to bake RSS into the next generation of Windows, Longhorn. If you’ve got the time, I highly recommend you sit through the MSDN Channel 9 video interview with the Longhorn/RSS team taken the day before their announcement at Gnomedex. You can feel the energy and excitement coming out of Redmond.

The video includes a demo of IE 7 and a hacked version of RSS Bandit on Longhorn that shows:

  • autodiscovery (no need to hunt for the little orange chicklet)
  • adding a feed populates a common list of feeds that can be shared by all Longhorn apps
  • Calendar support for RSS feeds of events (click to subscribe to events in Outlook)
  • <treat as> and <sort by> collaboration with Amazon to handle lists
  • adding feed of photoblogs to make a screensaver

More details and pointers on MSDN. RSS Everywhere!

Internet Explorer Update this Summer

Microsoft announced that it will be updating their Internet Explorer browser which hasn’t had a major upgrade since they announced 6.x back in 2002. The news was greated warmly by most users commenting on the MSDN IE blog with many asking for advanced CSS, PNG, and XHTML support while others ask for features such as Tabs or integrated Popup Blockers, Microsoft is touting this release as focused on fixing security & phishing exploits.

One thing left off the request list, and pointed out by some, is integrated Search which I personally make extensive use of in my instance of Firefox. I regularly use the Google, Amazon, and Dictionary plugins and have also installed the Wikipedia and Creative Commons plugins which come in handy. Are they leaving this out just to keep Google and Yahoo guessing?

The release will be made available to XP Service Pack 2 subscribers and later rolled out with their Longhorn OS upgrade. Another nail in the coffin for any Windows 2000 users out there.

Guessing what you’re after

I just downloaded Firefox 1.0 this morning and with my Noia theme there’s a big blue lollipop thing right next to the address bar. Hover text says, "Type a location in the address field, then click Go"

It looks like it’s using the Google "I’m feeling Lucky" result which I stayed away from because of the labeling ("feeling lucky? nah, I’m here doing research!"). Once I tried it though, I was amazed at how many times it found exactly what I was looking for.

The uncertain future of Internet Explorer?

It’s been three years since a significant update to IE. Has Microsoft abandoned IE?

Microsoft’s last major browser release was in August 2001. The company in the summer of 2003 discontinued its browser for the Macintosh and said it would issue no more standalone versions of IE. Last month, the company released new IE security features in its Service Pack 2 (SP2) for the Windows XP operating system, but said only XP users would get those improvements.

Rumors are now that the next version of IE will only be for those that upgrade to the next version of Windows (who says the two are not a bundled together?) but no one knows for certain. In the software business, a foggy roadmap for your developer community is as good as a kiss of death.

Firefox moves into 1.0

The popular alternative to Microsoft Explorer, Mozillla’s Firefox, released it’s 1.0 preview on Tuesday. There’s been a steady increase in the number of Firefox installs as folks start to move away from IE in the wake of all its security problems.

On my personal site, I’ve seen Mozilla and Safari traffic grow to where it now represents over 25% of all the hits coming to the site.

Upon initial use, I see no significant changes except a for finding text on a page now brings up a cool little finder bar at the bottom and the words are highlighted on screen. Also, when you are on a secure site, the address bar changes color which is visually more noticeable than the little padlock icon which is the common convention.