Integration between Google applications

by Krishna on July 18, 2007

The recent acquisition of FeedBurner and the subsequent quick integration with Blogger was a superb move by Google. Recently, Google has made many integration efforts between various applications and many of them have been really beneficial to both web authors and end users.

A few examples from Blogger itself:

  1. Integration with Google Custom Search: With no coding, you can now add a custom search widget for your blog. You can see an example to the right of this post. This is much easier to do than trying to set up a Google Custom Search separately and then include it in the Blogger template.
  2. Search Engine Optimization: Google has included a robots.txt file that now excludes the pages of the various blog categories. This avoids the need for bloggers to do more house-keeping by using sitemaps in tools like Google Webmaster Central. I expect that Google will now start to exclude archive pages and thus avoid duplicate content search result issues. Strictly speaking, this integrates with all search engines supporting robots.txt, not just Google.
  3. Integration with Picasa Web Albums: The images in Blogger posts are now stored in Picasa Web Albums. This has the potential of allowing tools like Windows Live Writer to post images to Blogger, and also allow blog authors to understand how much space they have left to upload images.

Other integrations I liked were the email capability in Google Reader, saving of Google Talk chats in Gmail, Orkut message alerts in Google Talk, Google Maps in Google Search results, etc.

Here are some other possible Google product integrations that would add value and reduce duplication:

  1. FeedBurner statistics and Google Analytics: While FeedBurner does have the functionality of serving feeds, its statistical component could be integrated into Google Analytics so that webmasters could see the information in one place.
  2. Blogger and Google Page Creator: Although blogs can exist as web sites in their own right, sometimes there is the need for creating additional content that exist as static or dynamic web pages. WordPress already allows one to create separate web pages.
  3. Gmail and Google Reader: Many email clients (including Outlook and Thunderbird) already allow one to read blogs. Why not Gmail? Combining it with Reader will make it easier for users and result in a killer application. Gmail has a very rudimentary blog reader — it should be replaced by Google Reader.

An aspect of integration that is not quite getting the press that it deserves is the fact that Google is able to make its flagship Search product much better. The concept of PageRank basically boils down to what content is rated high by persons of authority (primarily web authors) on the web. But web authors are only a very small minority and not even representative of Internet users who are consumers of web search. Content should be really be rated by how users behave when they see search results and choose what they believe is relevant.

The data from Google Reader, Google Analytics and FeedBurner provide valuable information in this regard that keeps Google quite ahead of competitors. These products allow Google to understand what content users find valuable. Spammers may try to game the system, but this does not distract from the fundamental benefits obtained through this integration.

A couple of times, I have stated on this blog that Google is way ahead of competitors on search. I didn’t provide any references, but that is what the data shows. My Analytics statistics show that Google currently brings 75% of the traffic to this site — a share that has been growing. Yahoo! is at 1% and Live and Ask are not even in the picture.

Internet users are continuing in increasing numbers to express their confidence in Google results. And all signs indicate that Google Search will be much more relevant than ever before, consolidating Google’s hold on the market. Google is doing this not just through algorithmic competence or infrastructure capability, but also through increasing understanding of real end user behavior. And that is a great winning combination.

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