What Do Pamela Anderson, New Pornographers, & Women Rapping Have In Common? Google Blacklist Knows

Pamela Anderson is a well-known actress. The New Pornographers are an indie rock band. Women rapping are ... well, presumably just females making music. All three are also part of a growing list of known "naughty" phrases that trip up Google Instant. Danny Sullivan has already written about this topic here on Search Engine Land (see The Five Words You Can Never Suggest On Google Instant), but the folks at 2600 -- a hacker community magazine -- are compiling a Google Blacklist of words that Google Instant filters. The list, which is not safe for work and perhaps not safe for other rea [...]


The Five Words You Can Never Suggest On Google Instant

Like it or not, lots of people search for nude celebrities on Google. But with Google’s new Google Instant Search, those inclined to seek celebs in the buff have to figure out their queries without any help from Google. The same is true for those interested in nude beaches, famous nude artwork or "innocent" topics such as the Naked Brothers Band and nude lipstick. Below, a closer look at pros and cons to Google Instant's filtering, including a nod's to George Carlin's famous "Seven Words You Can Never Say In Television" bit. A Good Reason To Filter Adult Terms As we've covered, Goo [...]


Yahoo Offers Handwritten Searching In Taiwan, Hong Kong

If you thought instant search suggestions and results was fun, get a load of this: At Yahoo Taiwan and Yahoo Hong Kong, searchers can handwrite their search queries and Yahoo will try to match the handwriting to letters, and then show suggested searches. It's all described in this Yahoo blog post, complete with screenshots showing how users can begin their search by using a "handwriting panel" next to the search button. Yahoo says that's the Chinese language character for the first letter of Lady Gaga's name. To the left of what the user has drawn, Yahoo shows six possible character [...]


Test: Google Updating Search Results As You Type

Rob Ousbey documented on video how Google is testing a feature where the search results on the page are updating as you type your search query. This is a form of search query refinement and Google Suggest that dynamically modifies the search results on the page as you type. Here is his video: The internet was buzzing about this feature over the weekend. I personally find this to be just a bit overboard. It makes the page jump around, I feel it can lead to confusion and other issues. Google sent TechCrunch a confirmation, calling this one of their many "search experiments." [...]


Google Power User Tips: Query Operators

I love showing off my Google power searching skills when presenting or meeting or talking with a prospective client. I just know it boosts my credibility in the eyes of my audience. Invest a bit of time in learning some of the lesser-used Google query refinements -- i.e. the operators, parameters, and so forth -- and you too can amaze your friends, family, boss, co-workers and clients! For Part 1 of this series, I'm going to focus on the various commands:  the search operators, also known as query operators -- for the search box to restrict your results or to otherwise pull the needle from [...]


Google, Content Farms & Why This May Be Blekko’s Moment

At the beginning of Google's "Searchology" event in early 2007 original Google employee Craig Silverstein opined, "If Google had started a year or two earlier, it wouldn't have worked." That's because prior to that time (1998) the internet wasn't yet large enough to require Google or enable people to see the value of its approach. As sites and pages multiplied exponentially Google became an increasingly necessary tool. We're all familiar with the story. Now Google controls a majority of search traffic in most countries around the world. It has become a seemingly unstoppable force. The in [...]


Yolink Goes After Publishers With Search Preview Tool

There have been many search "preview" tools, plug-ins and add-ons that try and give users a peek at what's behind a link on a SERP. Their objective is to circumvent the click and enable people to more quickly get to desired information. Almost all of these tools have failed to deliver on the promise of that idea. Generally, also, consumers don't use them. One of the most obnoxious in recent memory is the blog plug-in tool "snap shots." Many blogs installed it because it looked "cool" but did very little in the way of adding value. Bing does a version of this currently, which is relativel [...]


Bing Has A New Look, Now Hosts Deep Content In Search Results

While Bing is throwing a star-studded party to announce changes to its entertainment-based search results, there are several other changes that deserve a close look, not the least of which is the amount of deep content -- including full articles with thousands of words -- that Bing is now hosting in its search results. More on that in a bit. Look & Feel Let's start with the overall new look and feel that Bing has announced. The biggest change is that search options -- or, Quick Tabs in Bing-speak -- have been moved from the left-side column to immediately under the search box at the top [...]


Search Engines Get World Cup Fever (Some More Than Others)

The biggest sporting event in the world is underway and, if you're unable to follow along on TV, there's plenty of coverage of it online -- including all of the major search engines and Twitter. Here's a look at what you'll find on the web if you're looking for a football/soccer fix. Google Google seems to have been the last to rollout its World Cup information. Earlier today, I wasn't seeing anything special for searches like world cup schedule, but Google is now showing a list of upcoming matches. Still, Google is offering far less than Yahoo and Bing (see below) when it comes t [...]


Spelling Corrections Now In Google Suggest

Google announced this weekend that spelling corrections are now available in Google Suggest. Google is now showing "Did you mean?" suggestions/corrections for certain misspelling situations. Google said if "you're typing a query for which there are no search completions to offer, and yet some of your search terms do seem to be misspelled, Google Suggest will now offer a "Did you mean" suggestion for your query." So this will only come up with no search completions are there and if there is a misspelling in your query. It will not currently offer a spelling correction if there are search [...]


Yahoo Covers The World Cup With New Shortcuts

The biggest sporting event on Earth is a month away, and Yahoo is out of the gates first to announce special shortcuts focused on the 2010 World Cup. Already in place is a general World Cup shortcut, and once the matches begin, Yahoo will have specific shortcuts for countries, groups, and individual matches, like these examples from Yahoo's announcement: These shortcuts will be available on 27 Yahoo sites around the world. Yahoo is also adding World Cup flavor to its toolbar. In addition to tournament coverage, toolbar users can customize the Yahoo toolbar in the colors of their favo [...]


Google Disables Some Nationality-Based Search Suggestions

Google has crippled its search suggestions tool for some search terms that refer to particular races and/or nationalities of people. The company says it's a deliberate move based on Google's policy against violence and hate speech, and not a technical bug like the one that led the phrase "islam is" to be disabled earlier this year. More on that in a moment; first, here's what's happening. Searches for some queries that combine a race/nationality and the word "are" are no longer showing any Google search suggestions. You can see below that typing "muslims are" into Google's search box shows [...]


Google Expands Rich Snippet Support Internationally

Nearly a year ago, Google announced that they had begun extracting metadata from microformat and RDFa markup on pages to display "rich snippets" in search results. They recently expanded this support to include HTML5 microdata. They now use this markup to enhance results for people profiles, reviews, videos, events, and recipes. Rich snippets provide additional information to searchers beyond the typical title and description (such as star ratings, address information, and social network connection details). Google has now expanded this support internationally. (While the documentation is [...]


Yahoo Goes Hollywood With New TV, Celebrity Shortcuts

Citing the popularity of entertainment-related searches, Yahoo's search results have gone Hollywood with the announcement of new search shortcuts for TV shows and celebrities. The TV shortcut shows the title and a short synopsis of the next episode, along with video clips and links to see photos, the show's schedule, and an episodes list. All of this content comes from Yahoo TV. Although my LOST example above doesn't show it, Yahoo will occasionally show links in the left column for related actors, shows, or movies. I'm guessing the query [lost] was a little too generic to prompt th [...]


Math Engines: For Multiplying Mixed Fractions, It’s Wolfram Alpha Over Google & Bing

Ah, math. It's why I became an English major. But now math is spinning back around and haunting me in the form of my fifth grader. Last night, I found myself dealing with how to multiply fractions as part of helping with his homework assignment. Um, yeah, I think I remember how. But to be certain, could search engines help as a double-check? Enter the awesomeness of Wolfram Alpha. Doing math through a search engine isn't new. One of Google's earliest parlor tricks was allowing people to enter math problems into its search box and get answers. Indeed, I use it for this more than my pocket ca [...]


Bing Adds Search History To Auto-Suggest

Bing has announced that it's using your search history in its auto-suggest feature. In a post on its Search Blog, Bing says that "44% of non-navigational search sessions last longer than 1 week," meaning the inclusion of previous searches in auto-suggest adds to the convenience factor of searching similar topics/queries over time. Queries from your search history will appear in purple, while other queries will show in blue. The auto-suggest box offers options like "Manage History" and "History Off" for searchers who don't this feature enabled. [...]


Google Maps’ Search Suggestions Get Personal

Google has announced that it's now personalizing search suggestions that appear on Google Maps. It's an odd announcement to me, because I'm almost sure my maps search suggestions have been personalized for some time now. One thing that I haven't seen before, though, is the explicit notice beneath the suggestions that things have been personalized. You have to be signed in to your Google account and have Web History enabled for this to work. Mike Blumenthal raises the good point that having actual personalization in Google Maps would be a bigger improvement. [...]


Google Adds More Answers & Info To Search Results

Google has announced a pair of changes to its search results pages that make its search results pages more informational and give searchers information they're looking for without having to click away from Google.com. Events In Rich Snippets Adding to last year's announcement of rich snippets for reviews and people, Google has created one for events, too. Using the hCalendar microformat, Google will show information and links to specific events as part of the snippet below a search result. If you offer event listings, check Google's documentation for more on how to use this. Note [...]


Bing Updates Autosuggest With News & Trending Queries

Bing's autosuggest feature now provides more current suggestions as you type a query. Bing says that it's added "breaking news and hot trending queries" into autosuggest, with updates being pushed out every 15 minutes. So, for example, start typing "orange county" into Bing and the autosuggest feature will show a couple terms related to today's extreme weather. Bing hopes to improve some of the 45% of queries that it says "result in either a user conducting an immediate re-query, or abandoning the page altogether." But this is somewhat of a catch-up move, at least where Google is [...]


Google Changes How It Handles Synonyms

In a post on the Official Google Blog, Google opens up the curtains a bit on how it handles synonyms in search queries and results. It's a fairly detailed peek inside one aspect of Google's search algorithms -- an aspect that Google says affects a lot of searches: "...our measurements show that synonyms affect 70 percent of user searches across the more than 100 languages Google supports. We took a set of these queries and analyzed how precise the synonyms were, and were happy with the results: For every 50 queries where synonyms significantly improved the search results, we had only one trul [...]


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