Google Updates PageRank, Rolls Out Web Elements

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Google used the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco to
launch Google Web Elements, which allows site owners to integrate
YouTube, Google Calendar and other tools into their Web pages. In
addition, Google also seems to have made a PageRank update, with online
reports suggesting that Twitter profile pages have seen their ranking
fall as a result.

Google took the opportunity of its Google I/O developer
conference in San Francisco to
launch Google Web Elements, a tool that allows site owners to integrate
widget-like Google tools into Web pages. The company is touting the
user-friendliness of the new feature, which allows code for the tools to be
integrated into the site via cut-and-paste.  

The widget-style tools, announced May 27, include Presentations,
allowing the site owner to imbed Google Docs presentations into the page;
Calendar, which reminds visitors of important dates; Conversation, which posts
visitors’ comments directly to the site; and Custom Search, a tool that visitors
can use to scour the site.

Also on offer: Maps, News, Spreadsheets and YouTube News.

Online reports and message boards are also suggesting that Google started
a PageRank update May 27, its system for ranking individual Web pages. Over at
The Next Web, Editor-in-Chief Zee Kane noted that Twitter profile pages seem to
be falling in PageRank.

Despite an economic recession slowing down worldwide business, Google has
steadily released new products, including a new version of its Web browser,
, which runs
JavaScript-heavy Web pages some 30 percent faster than previously.

However, Google has also run into some high-profile controversies over
the past few months. In April, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization Consumer
Watchdog publicly questioned the settlement between Google, The Author’s Guild
and the Association of American Publishers
(AAP) over the search-engine giant’s growing
digital library.

In particular, Consumer Watchdog argued that the settlement, which gave
Google the same terms as any theoretical future competitor, deserved to be
placed under government review.

One month later, Google was again challenged by the American
Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries over the
, with both of the
latter organizations arguing that Google was in a position to monopolize digital
books and readers’ privacy rights.  

Google seemed to counter-move May 21 with a
revised agreement with the University of Michigan
, allowing that school to protest any
institutional-subscription pricing it viewed as unfair. Google meanwhile
continues to scan as many volumes as possible, including "orphan" books still
under copyright but whose rights-holders cannot be found, into its rapidly
expanding online database.

The company also launched a massive PR
to convince politicians
and media types that its grip on search and associated markets does not
constitute a monopoly. During a May 7 Google shareholder meeting,
CEO Eric Schmidt suggested the company would
be "more careful" with regard to its business transactions.

Google maintains a comfortable double-digit lead
in U.S. core search market share over Yahoo and Microsoft
, which are rumored to be in discussions over a
potential search and advertising deal. In a May 27 interview at the seventh
annual D: All Things Digital conference in
Calif., Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz suggested that she would
consider selling her company’s search apparatus to Microsoft for "boatloads" of

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