Re: Google Custom Search & Google Custom Maps -eSnips
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2008, 04:18:43 PM »
eSnips is at http://esnips.com/, and there's an explanatory tour at http://www.esnips.com/tour/. It's a free service for storing photos, videos, documents, images, links, and so on. It's a spinoff from a paid service (can't remember the exact name, and I think it's now defunct, anyway) that was aimed at professional researchers; the researchers could store documents etc., and they could also "snip" portions of web pages (hence the name eSnips) and store that info in the account, too.
An eSnips account-holder can set up private folders that are accessible only to the account-holder; or group folders that are accessible to persons that the account-holder invites; or public folders, which are accessible to everyone, and which are indexable by the search engines. There's an eSnips toolbar for both Internet Explorer and Firefox (although I don't know if the Firefox toolbar has yet been updated for Firefox 3), and I find that I have used that toolbar a lot. Accessible from the toolbar is an easy-to-use screen capture function, which lets the user decide how much of a web page they want to "snip." Also accessible from the toolbar are the account-holder's eSnips folders; the ability to save links or entire web pages; the ability to upload files from your computer; and the ability to record audio or video (I haven't tried that function). On my computer, there's an eSnips icon on the system tray, which gives me immediate access to my eSnips folders.
When I first came across eSnips a couple of years ago, there wasn't really a social aspect to eSnips, or any kind of eSnips community. And anyway, I just wanted to set up some private folders where I could store some documents. Later on I set up a couple of group folders where I stored some family photos and family documents so that members of my extended family could easily access them. About a year ago I started experimenting with setting up some Google custom search engines; by that time, eSnips had built up a social community, for account-holders who were interested in that, and had introduced the capability of tagging items stored in eSnips folders so that members of the eSnips community could easily find them. I decided to try storing links to the Google CSEs in an eSnips public folder, to see if Google would find the links and index them, which Google readily did. Various people from the eSnips community (not a gzillion people, but some) have also come across those public folders, and have clicked on those links and followed them to my web sites.
And then in February or March of this year I came across an easy-to-use WP plug-in for adding Google custom maps to blog posts and pages, so I tried out setting up some Google custom maps on a genealogy blog (which I started, but with which I haven't done much since March, so I need to get back project soon!). As with the Google CSEs, I set up a public eSnips folder, and added the custom map links.
Here are the two folders:
Google Custom Search: http://fb.esnips.com/web/GoogleCustomSearch
Custom Google Maps: http://fb.esnips.com/web/Custom-Google-Maps
It's possible to dress up the eSnips folders, but I haven't really done that - up to this point I've just used these two folders as a place to store links.
As for the Google CSEs and maps, with my limited efforts thus far I do think that they can add a certain element of site "stickiness," and also provide additional avenues for people to come to a site. For example, there are people who have added a some of my CSEs (particularly a Books Online CSE and a Podcast Finder CSE) to their iGoogle start page, and who end up back on my site whenever they do a search with one of those CSEs, because the search results page is on my site. There are also people who end up on my site because they found one of the Google custom maps at Google Maps, or who use one of the CSEs whose links are embedded in the map annotations. I haven't really done analyzed, though, whether those site visits and the Google Adsense revenue from the CSEs is worth the time that it takes to set up those things up.
Sorry that this post went on for so long! Now you know more about eSnips than you probably would ever care to know. :-)