Archive for December, 2010

New Years Wish: That Google Would Publish Usability Research

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Google sits upon a simply huge amount of usability data, and I think it could benefit a lot of webmasters if they were to publish it. My New Years Wish is that they might begin to periodically release some of the tantalizing tidbits they may have.

Google frequently will recommend best practices to webmasters, based upon their internal research, particularly in cases where that information might be mutually helpful to websites and endusers. For instance, Google’s Browser Size is a very handy tool which shows you graphically what percentages of online users are likely to be able to see areas on your webpage when they initially land upon it, without scrolling.

Computer Mouse, Mousepad & Hand

Here’s a small handful of usability-related stats I’d like to see them publish:

  • Does Google Suggest help improve spelling of searchers?
  • Did introduction of Google Suggest increase or decrease the numbers of searches?
  • Does addition of the date to the listing snippet improve CTR evenly, or do entries with older dates get clicked upon less? (more…)

Did TechCrunch’s Leaked Image Expose Their Google Informant?

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

I was lured into reading a TechCrunch story tonight which purports to expose a new social media utility called Google +1, and I happened to see that they had blurred out the Google username in the upper right corner, likely intending to obscure the identity of their informant who leaked the screengrab image to them.

When glancing at the leaked image fully expanded, it appeared to me that the blurring of the name was somewhat insufficient, and the letters appeared tantalizingly near to being recognizable. I couldn’t help but wonder: could the blurring be reversed?

With extremely minor image manipulation, I found that the blurred name indeed could be reversed, perhaps just sufficiently to make identification possible. Of course, the image could have been taken by a different employee, so I have redacted the altered picture.

[Image redacted upon consideration, because I do not wish to accidentally impugn a possibly-noninvolved person.]

Curious, I thought to cross-reference with LinkedIn, and indeed, I found a Software Engineer at Google whose name resembled the de-blurred pic.