Why Google has done so well?

In Geeking with Greg: Yahoo blew it, Greg Linden provides a non-technical precis of an interesting but rather technical article in Wired magazine about why Yahoo isn’t doing so well (comparatively speaking). Lots of insights about who tried to buy who when, that kind of thing.

I was struck by the conclusion of the Wired article: "At Yahoo, the marketers rule, and at Google the engineers rule. And for that, Yahoo is finally paying the price."

Metacritic’s book choice

Metacritic is a site first bought to my attention by Dave Lull. As you might guess from its title, it is a resource for "aggregated" reviews of books, films, TV, music and games. It is a great site (see here for the excellent "about" page), and I’m only sorry I don’t remember to visit it more often. The reason is probably because I have ample recommendations of books, films etc from my blogging friends and acquaintances these days — but if I ever retire from this activity, I will be a more frequent reader.

Metacritic works by assigning weighted, normalised scores to the book, film or other "entity"according to the reviews it has received. These reviews are from the US national media, so won’t capture the long tail of bloggers’ and other internet reviews, or what is popular among reviewers in the "rest of the world". (More about the scoring system can be found here.)

Here are Metacritic’s "top 10" books for 2006:

1. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

2. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

3. The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos

4. The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis

5. The People’s Act Of Love by James Meek

6. The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud

7. After This by Alice McDermott

8. Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg

9. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

10. Intuition by Allegra Goodman

An impressive list. I compared it with the UK Bookseller’s top 10 "Christmas books" for 2006 (by sales):

1. The Sound of Laughter by Peter Kay (seems to be a TV comic?)

2. Why Don’t Penguin’s Feet Freeze? (from New Scientist’s "feedback" column)

3. Cook with Jamie (Oliver, a "celebrity chef")

4. Q1: The Book of General Ignorance (no author’s name provided)

5. The Dangerous Book for Boys by C and H Iggulden ("how to build a tree house" type of thing, I think)

6. And Another Thing…..by Jeremy Clarkson (a TV "celebrity" of some sort)

7. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

8. Humble Pie by Gordon Ramsay (another "celebrity chef")

9. Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris

10. Guinness World Records (which I thought was called Guinness "book of.." but no longer seems to be)