Wolfram|Alpha Goes Pro With Powerful Data Analysis & Presentation Tools

WolframAlphaProFeatures1.jpg Wolfram|Alpha (W|A) is launching a new fee-based service named Wolfram|Alpha Pro. In today's highly competitive environment, you may wonder why W|A would ask people to pay for what many think should be free. Read on: you may decide to willingly open your wallet when you see what's available. Since Wolfram|Alpha launched in 2009, I’ve often wondered if the company would allow users to use their extremely powerful computing infrastructure to analyze their own data along with data sets available on the open web. Well, they have and that's what Wolfram|Alpha Pro is all about. As I wrote a [...]

Live Blogging Bing’s Future Of Search Event

Bing and Big Think are hosting"Farsight 2011: Beyond the Search Box," a four hour event today in San Francisco looking at the future of search. We've got various luminaries lined-up. Google will be on a panel. There's that whole Google says Bing is copying them thing that just happened. Plus, Blekko's here -- and it just rolled out a new spam filter seemingly aimed at search enemy number one these days, content farms. Should be a fun day. See our previous post for the schedule. Live webcast will happen off the Big Think home page. Buckle up, and my live blogging begins at 10am Pacific. [...]

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 [...]

Climategate: Just How Popular Is It, According To Google?

Is Google part of a conspiracy to keep the general public from learning about the "Climategate" scandal? Believers continue to point at the odd comings-and-goings of Climategate as a search suggestion on Google as a sign that the search engine is trying to foist its own political views about global warming on searchers. Not so fast, conspiracy buffs. Google Suggest & Climategate Let's start with supposedly the most damning evidence first. A system called Google Suggest automatically displays search topics that it believes you may be after, when you start typing any word. So con [...]

Google Now Searching For Synonyms

Blink, and you might have missed it. Google's now doing synonym searching. It's something they quietly noted in a past Google blog post and one that comes up again today in a post that covers how Google uses experiments to improve the search interface. Back to synonym searching in a moment. The main focus of today's post is how small changes can have a big impact on how users interact with search results. Some before and after screenshots of various search results are shown. Most compelling to me was how by making the + symbol thicker in a "Plus Box" that allows for stock quotes [...]

Google Now Notifies Of “Search Customization” & Gives Searchers Control

Google is now showing "search customization" messages to inform searchers when their search results have been modified from "normal" due to a searcher's geographic location, previous query or web surfing and search history. It's a nice move to help searchers know what exactly is going on "under the hood" at Google and override it if the wrong choices are being made. I'd like to see more of it. What's Normal? There was a time when everyone saw exactly the same search results at the major search engines. Over time, this has changed. In particular, geographic targe [...]

How Search Engines Redirect Users To Country-Specific Sites

Yahoo just started redirecting people in the UK who are trying to reach Yahoo.com instead to its Yahoo UK web site, something that Google has done for a long time. With the change, this seemed a good time to revisit how all the major search engines may intercept people trying to reach their ".com" versions from countries outside the United States. Below, the examples are drawn from someone in the UK trying to reach .com versions of each of the major search engines. Those in other countries often will find similar interception in place. Yahoo If you are based in the UK, Yahoo will [...]

Flight Tracking, Airport Conditions, Real-Time Traffic, & Other Thanksgiving Search Tips

With the US about to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, how are the major search engines gearing up to support an onslaught of Thanksgiving queries? Let's take a look at how you can use them, ranging from flight tracking tools to special "shortcut" or "smart answer" boxes leading to related information. Many people travel by air on Thanksgiving. Want to know if friends or family are going to make it on time? Several of the major search engines prominently list flight tracking information, as well as airport conditions and related information. Do the right se [...]

Microsoft Launches Windows Live Translator

The LiveSide blog points to a blog post which shows Microsoft has launched Windows Live Translator Beta. You can translate from English to German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. It supports up to 500 characters and uses Systran, but can override the Systran source with their own in-house translations. Google Operating System goes deeper into this translation service. Aside from Microsoft, there's the classic Babel Fish translation service, which Yahoo acquired. Also, Google offers translate services, which were recently upgraded, as d [...]

Mossberg, Ask.com “Goes Much Further” Than Google

Ask.com Takes Lead In Designing Display Of Search Results by Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal reviews Ask.com's new 3D look. Mossberg gave Ask.com great reviews, comparing Ask.com's three-pane approach to Google's Universal Search approach. Mossberg said Ask.com "took greater strides" than Google with their user interface. The new Ask.com user interface makes for a "better advance in unifying" the different levels of vertical search options available to the searcher, said Mossberg. He explained that this makes "search results easy to navigate and use" than Ask.com's competitors. [...]

Looking At Ask.com’s New Home Page Features

The Ask.com blog posts today about Ask's new home page, which they are particularly proud of, and I think rightly so. They talk about their icons, suggest feature and skins, all of which are worth a quick peek. The nice neat new icons are consistent across the interface and across country versions. There is the "suggest as you type" feature, although there's nothing particularly new about that, since Google has had Google Suggest for some time now. Interestingly though, Google Suggest kicks in immediately you start typing, while with Ask, it takes two characters. However, from a very brief [...]

This July: Try Google-Free Fridays!

Back in 2002, I called Google the "Marcia Brady" of search. Fans of the Brady Bunch know that Marcia was one of six children, and middle daughter Jan felt Marcia got all the attention. "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia," she'd often complain, just as today, it often seems to be "Google, Google, Google" that's all you hear about in search. There's more to search than Google, of course. To encourage people to understand this, I'm resurrecting an idea from 2003: Google-Free Friday. In July, each Friday, we're encouraging everyone to try a search engine other than Google. Under [...]

Google Launches ‘Cross-Language Information Retrieval (CLIR)’

As promised at its "Searchology" event last week, Google has launched cross-language information retrieval (CLIR). It's now been added as a new feature to Google Translate and went live yesterday. As Chris Sherman previously wrote, Google is playing a bit of catch-up with this initiative; Yahoo has been doing this on a more limited basis since 2005. Regardless, it appears to be a useful service, chiefly for non-English speakers seeking information from English-language sites. As Google Engineering VP Udi Manber said, when he introduced the service last week, the goal is to open up the Web " [...]

The Case Of The Missing White House Cached Page On Google

In my story about Google's new content removal tools, I highlighted the fact that anyone can potentially wipe out the cached copy of a page, even if they aren't the page's author. To illustrate this, I was going to use as an example how the official George W. Bush page's cached copy could get nixed. To my amazement, I found the cached copy was gone already. Had the White House decided to wipe out the cache, perhaps as damage control after the page started ranking for "failure" again recently? And why were Yahoo, Live.com and Ask still showing cached versions of that page? Was the W [...]

Ask City’s Shape Search Tool For Local Search Results

The Ask.com Blog announced a neat new feature that enables you to literally shape your own local search results. You can go to Ask City, locate a location, draw a circle or square in a certain location and then search specifically within that location. Below is a screen cast I put up to explain it a bit better. [...]

Google Video Plus Box Results

Philipp Lenssen spotted plus box results at Google for Google Video results. He noticed it for a search on nightwish videos, but I do not see it myself. For a screen capture check out Philipp's Google Blogoscoped. We have covered two other plus box results in the past. Google "Plus Box" Puts Maps In Search ResultsGoogle Finance Plus Signs In Google Search Results I personally like many of these implementations. [...]

Wikipedia Enters Top Ten Most Visited Sites

Impressive. Scanning the latest top web sites rankings from comScore for January 2007 , Wikipedia sites are highlighted for just entering the top ten most visited. OK, technically -- they're in the top ten for having the most unique visitors. In December 2006, Wikipedia sites were ranked 13th of all US web properties, with 39 million unique visitors. In January, comScore says Wikipedia rose to ninth ranked, with 43 million visitors. The top ten, to provide perspective, rounded to the nearest million: Yahoo Sites, 129 million Time Warner Network, 117 million Microsoft Sites, 115 million Goo [...]

Google Releases New Link Reporting Tools

For years, Google's link: command (and see here) has deliberately failed to show all the links to a website. This came out of Google's fear that site owners simply wanted the data to try and manipulate rankings -- which was pretty true. Instead, they only provided a sampling of backlinks. Today, that changes. Google Webmaster Central is rolling out new support allowing you to view and even download thousands of links to your site (official news here and here). You still won't get absolutely all the links Google knows about. In particular, links to any of your pages c [...]

Study Says Get In Top 5 Not Top 10 & Search Engines May Need To Highlight Official Sites

On Friday, we reported briefly on a new eye tracking study from Microsoft on how users interact with search results. I spent some time doing a deep dive into the survey, which is full of interesting information. Among the findings is that search marketers may need to be more concerned about getting into the top five rather than the top ten, if they want to be seen. In addition, search engines might want to seriously experiment more with adding "official site" links at the top of their pages and possibly enlarge the size of listing descriptions or "snippets" to help searche [...]

Ask.com Tests New Search Interface With Ask X

The Read Write Web blog first spotted Ask.com testing a new interface they named Ask X. The new interface sports a steel background for the home page with more goodies inside. A search on Ask X for barry schwartz shows a three column pane interface. On the left hand side is the search box, where you can type and as you type you see search suggestions appear below the search box [Note From Danny: Pity this doesn't happen on the home page as well]. In the middle column is a smart answer, followed by two paid listings and then the organic results, with Ask.com's binoculars. You can also sa [...]

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