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links for 2010-04-10

  • Google has kept a promise it made last year: Site speed is now a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, and is already in place for U.S. searchers. But Google also cautions web site owners not to sacrifice relevance in the name of faster web pages, and even says this new ranking factor will impact very few queries. More on that below, but first the background on today’s announcement from Google Fellow Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team.

    Why Page Speed Matters

    The first warning that site speed was on Google’s radar came last November, when Cutts said there was “strong lobbying” inside Google to account for site speed as a new ranking factor. Speaking at SMX West last month, Google’s Maile Ohye showed a slide indicating that delays of under a half-second impact business metrics.

  • The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will soon implement a pilot that moves 400 agency employees into a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) — where employees can work when and where they want, as long as they're meeting their predetermined goals and results.

    ROWE is a management strategy in which employees are evaluated on performance, not presence, according to CultureRx workplace consultancy, whose founding members have expertise in ROWE. "In a ROWE, people focus on results and only results — increasing the organization's performance while creating the right climate for people to manage all the demands in their lives … including work," according to CultureRx's Web site.

  • Recycling is about more than separating your waste into a few different bins and waiting for somebody to take it away. Although this is helpful to be sure, it is not where recycling begins and ends. Businesses are renowned for being among the biggest culprits in producing unnecessary waste, commonly disposing of items that are not only recyclable in the conventional sense, but also easily reusable.

    By finding creative ways to recycle and reuse in the office, you can save waste, and in most cases save money while you're at it. Here are nine things your office may have forgotten to recycle, along with some guidelines for how to make these recycling programs easy to implement and follow.

  • The evolution of food and yoga in modern culture have faced similar trials and hardships. When scientists learned to analyze vitamins contained in food, people decided we could ditch the natural food source as a whole, and insert vitamins and other bonus materials into "food-like substances" – a description given by my hero Michael Pollan.

    According to the FDA, these nutritious food-parts inserted into anything that could be mass produced and ingested would make us healthier, stronger, smarter, and better people. It obviously didn't work. We've paid the price as a culture the hard way: early death due to heart disease and diabetes, quality of life lessened by obesity and depression, and possibly the most difficult to stomach, the rise of childhood obesity. … the cost of unhealthy food choices, both in medical bills and all-around feeling bad, is too high to keep making the same mistakes. We have to support, encourage, and help each other take our health back.

    (tags: yoga health)
  • You may have heard that here at Google we're obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we're including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.

    Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we've seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don't just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that's why we've decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.

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