Friday, February 25, 2011

Morning Brief: The Aurora Sentinel finds new owner; Google makes "big algorithmic" changes to search results

The former vice president/CMO of the New York Times Regional Media Group, James Gold, will take over the publisher position at The Aurora Sentinel after it was sold to a new group of owners, Aurora Media Group LLC. The editor, David Perry, will remain with the property.
“Professionally and personally, we are thrilled to be part of a community as culturally rich, innovative and thriving as Aurora,” Gold said in a post on The Sentinel's website. “The Sentinel and Buckley Guardian will continue their historical commitment to serving the community with exceptional journalism that instills a sense of place and perspective. In the months ahead we will extend our print and digital media, to engage the city’s political, business, educational, cultural and artistic communities in new and compelling ways.”

Neither the new or previous owners, the Aurora Publishing Co., disclosed the final sales price.

"Our goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible." So starts a blog post from Google that may have a major effect on the search results users get through the leading search engine. It could also effect the content farms currently gaming the system.

"Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful," the Official Google Blog post continues.

The changes will only effect search results in the U.S. to start, with the changes rolled-out worldwide "over time".

The current meme in the media is that we are in an economic recover, even if it is a jobless recovery. But the underlying fear of just about everyone is that we will fall back into recession because of the lack of jobs, stimulus, and consumer buying power -- especially if oil prices continue to rise.

Today the Office for National Statistics (UK) reported that the British economy shrank 0.6 percent in the last quarter of 2010, hardly good news for those expecting growth. The government office maintains that the contraction in the economy was mainly due tot he harsh winter weather experienced by the British Isles and mainland Europe. But even taking the Office for National Statistics's December numbers into account, the economy as a whole still shrank somewhat during the quarter.

"The government's hope of an upwards revision of growth has been dashed. It's time to wake up and smell an economy in big trouble. We need a plan B that doesn't send it over the edge with deep rapid spending cuts," The Guardian quotes Brendan Barber, General Secretary of Trades Union Congress as stating.