In mid-February, the NYT reports, alarm bells starting ringing within the Googleplex, as the number of user searches suddenly began to tank. Google put its best brains on the problem, and after analysing the data, they breathed a sigh of relief: It was just Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year, and rolling power outages in China.
This experience was the reverse of the one last summer, when heavy rains and flooding in England and labour strikes in France drove Google searches through the roof.
“Bad weather is good for Google, as long as it is not too bad,” Mr. [Hal] Varian said.
The NYT also details the evolution of AdWords from a system that considered only the price of bids to one that takes into account other factors, such as click rates, landing pages, and, soon, landing page loading times. Some advertisers hate this system, by the way, as it effectively means Google is censoring who can and can’t advertise on the site. (Which, of course, is what all media companies do).
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