Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Update: Google and Blogger developments

Interior, Pink Tulip #2
8" x 8", coloured pencils on Saunders Waterford Hot Press paper

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This post provides some useful information for bloggers about recent changes in the way Google searches, how Google now isolates hot trends in search terms and some techie stuff to do with testing and tweaking Blogger.

Last Wednesday, Google made a change to the way its search functions operates. It has introduced 'universal search' which means they've taken the separate silos which were operating for different types of media ( Images, Maps, Books, Video, and News) and combined them into one big silo. I'm keeping an eye on the analysis of what this all means but it looks like it might have significant implications for where people now rank in Google on specific keyword searches.

Google Inc. said on Wednesday it was combining its different Web search services into one Universal Search service that would present Web sites, news, video and other results on one page. Universal Search means that standard Google searches will draw results from separate Google properties that target information about books, local information, images, news, and video.............The combined search includes any site indexed by Google's services, such as YouTube, Google Video and independent video sites like (Reuters 16th May 2007)

Yesterday Google launched a new service called 'Hot Trends'. (Now who guessed that 'who won American Idol? would be in the top five searches today? Here's what you get to see when you click on this search term - UK audience look away now!!! OK - so I looked....drat - too early!). By way of contrast here's the result for 'colored pencils'.
Google says the Hot Trends are not the terms people are looking for most frequently—of course, many of those search terms are boring ("myspace", "ipod," "games", "weather", etc.) or things Google doesn't necessarily want to publish. Instead, Google analyzes search queries and presents searches that are deviating the most in relationship to the past traffic. So, if a search term paddles along with a few hundred queries a day and suddenly jumps to a million queries a day, it's deviated significantly from its past search pattern and might pop up on Google Hot Trends. (Digital Trends 22.05.07.)
Also, you can check 'hot trends' on a specific day in the past and also work out what is 'hot' where - which might be helpful to marketing into your own local area (checking out what people buy and when)
In addition to viewing the top search terms by country and city, you can view the top "subregions" (e.g. states within the U.S.) across more than 70 countries. (The official Google Blog: What's hot today?)
Navigation links to other Google services are also being introduced at the top of each browser page.

On 4 May 'old' Blogger was officially declared dead. The folks at Blogger are now concentrating on new features and guess what they've even finally admitted that they don't have enough people and need to recruit!
But we've got a classic problem that comes with growth - there's too much to do, and too few people to do it all. (Blogger Buzz 16th May 2007)
They're even developing user experience research and want to pay us to test Blogger for them.........

Blogger has recently introduced 'autosave' - potentially really useful. Save your new post when you start and that way hopefully autosave will work. I found out the hard way that it doesn't work when you close Blogger inadvertently in mid-post and you haven't yet hit the 'save' button! (I keep thinking they must have the publish and save buttons round as I know I seem to keep wanting to use the wrong button. How about you?)

Yesterday I found what looks like a really useful blog - full of 'Blogger' tweaks. I sent the URL to fellow 'tweaker' Susan Borgas (Arts and Stuff) in South Australia and asked her to take a look at it and she agrees with me - potentially very useful. What I personally like about it is that of the posts that I read, the text about making changes to the code seems to be written to a consistently good standard and each post shows you screen dumps of what the code looks like before and what it looks like after. It's the closest thing I've seen yet to an 'Idiot's Guide' - a blog as a manual of 'how to'. Susan is tweaking widgets as I write. ;)

The blog we both like is called Tips for New Bloggers and is designed for Blogger users. Today's post tackles the nitty gritty behind the three column blog for one of the Blogger templates.

Note: The image is of my second drawing of the interior of a pink tulip. This makes a pair with the one posted in Art Shops in London. (see left). Both are 8" x 8" and when I finally sort out a printer I'll be selling them as a pair as well as individually.

If you were buying a square flower print what size would you go for?

Now I just have to plan the next few flowers - choosing two and three blooms at a time. I've got some great photos ones of the life cycle of some pink peonies which I took recently and need to sort out.



  1. 8 inch isn't a bad size - I'd also consider 10 and 12 inches - just that bit more impact a little bigger for not necessarily a lot more money.

    I like these :)

  2. Now i know you like your macro flowers to be BIG Vivien. However I think if I were to go bigger with these then I need to start bigger. as prints always look best when you do the same size of smaller. I'm trying to get a sense of what might be a popular size in terms of sales.

    The general idea with these is more to make them a possible 'volume' area of my work. It's something I never ever get bored doing and my flower drawinfs are something I can potentially do at any time of year whereas my plein air work is limited due to my body's capacity for aches and pains not taking to kindly to colder weather.

  3. 6 x 6" works well for me - in the States it really became common with the daily painting movement and so now it's easier to find frames for that size. They also make such things as 12 x 12" frames.

    Remember how much the cost of framing adds - especially if you're trying to sell a small, "affordable" piece of art.

  4. K - I'm with Maggie on the 6 x 6, or even 4 x 4.... I love small, and since you're doing a series, it would be lovely to frame and group them on a wall.

    P.S. Thanks for the breakdown on the google changes.

  5. A good post Katherine with a lot of information packed into it. Google makes my head spin at times and so often wonder what path it will lead us to next.

    These examples of your coloured pencil skills are lovely Katherine. I have no experience with print with my own work but do think Maggie has a valid point with what she says. I have noticed tourist will often buy small prints so that they can afford more of them. I guess it depends on the market that you are aiming for.

    I finely managed to get my 'tweaked' widget up. There was a delay due to our power supply yesterday deciding to take a holiday, as so often it is lately.

    Now I must get some painting done instead of playing with widgets ;).....cheers!

  6. I love your flower drawing-the yellow keeping my eye moving around. Very lovely!
    I like to keep my flower paintings life sized, so I think 8" is plenty big. I found that people here in LA like collecting small, intimate paintings. There is something very intimate about a flower interior, and keeping the painting small invites one to come up close to it for further study......but then there's those great O'Keefe flower interiors that are large and still intimate....

  7. I love the tulip drawing--beautiful composition and colors. For prints I think 6" or 8" square are good sizes and could be framed nicely with a wide white mat. Interesting info about Google too.


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