Need A Google Reader Alternative? Meet Newsblur

newsblur With the shutdown of Google Reader having just been announced, the Web is full of discussion about where those of us who utilize RSS should turn next. I'm happy to report there's a solution I already use and love: Newsblur. I have been a user of the completely Web-based Newsblur since 2011 and have been nothing but impressed. It's easy to use, dependable, fast, and gets the job done. Plus, it has a ton of features for those who want them. I use several. Newsblur is the work of a sole developer based in Brooklyn named Sam Clay and has been online since 2010 with a growing but still s [...]

How To Search Anywhere From The Firefox Search Bar

Last week Mozilla released version 8.0 of Firefox and a nifty new feature allows you to search Twitter directly from the Firefox search box. Although I’m a Firefox user, last week's update was not a big deal for me. Why? I’ve had access to Twitter’s search engine and Twitter’s "who to follow" database from my Firefox search box for a long time. In fact, I have had access to many search engines, library catalogs, database lookups, and other searchable databases I use a lot, want to demo, or use often. Plus, I decide what search tools to add, remove, and how to order the reso [...]

Redesigned Bing Bar Toolbar More Like A “Dashboard”

Bing is introducing a totally redesigned version of its toolbar, called the "Bing Bar." Apparently it has been "rebuilt from the ground up," says Microsoft's Stefan Weitz. Indeed, it operates more like a kind of "dashboard" than a conventional toolbar with links to various sites. And yes, the Bing Rewards loyalty program is still in force. The new toolbar, which is graphically more pleasing to look at than a conventional toolbar, enables users to get lots of different types of information via drop-down windows: news, weather, maps, multiple email accounts, movies, games and so on -- in addi [...]

Bing Terminates Relationship With Publisher Doing Tricky Home Page Switch

Is Facebook's third largest advertiser really a site that tries to trick people into switching to Bing? Apparently not. Still, Bing's not happy with the tactics and is ending its relationship with the publisher. The site,, now appears to have gone down. But earlier today, it was suggesting that people needed a plug-in to use it -- one that would install a toolbar and change their search provider and home page to Bing. The site had allowed people to create baby characters. Not Facebook's 3rd Biggest Advertiser An Ad Age article suggests that Make-My-Baby is Facebook's [...]

Microsoft Releases New MSN Toolbar, Now Powered By Bing

The Bing team tweeted last night that a new MSN Toolbar is now available at The new toolbar is supposedly now powered by Bing, Microsoft's new search engine. I am not exactly sure what all the new features are but as you can see, the MSN butterfly is now being placed inline with the Bing logo: [...]

The Toolbar Factor: Engagement’s Role in Social Voting

Since their infancy, social news sites have been trying to stay one step ahead of social media users trying to artificially promote content to their front page. has been the center focus for spamming and gaming in social media because a front-page promoted story equates to thousands of visitors and hundreds, or even thousands of links. In order to combat the gamers and filter out spam, Digg has created an algorithm that is very complex in nature. Never do they cease to fine tune it, in an effort to try to stay ahead of people trying to artificially promote content to their front page. [...]

Internet Explorer 6 Forces Bing As Default Search Provider

It appears that Bing is overriding the default search provider set by users of Internet Explorer 6. Several IE6 users have complained that since Bing launched, the search provided went from Google (which they set manually) to Bing. To makes things even worse, when the user tries to set the search provider back from Bing to Google, it doesn't allow them. To be fair to Microsoft, IE6 is very old and Microsoft is already up to version 8. I emailed Microsoft about the issue and they confirmed the bug. A Microsoft representative sent me the following statement: We're aware of the issue wi [...]

The DiggBar Compromise: Show Framebar Only To Logged In Digg Users

Digg is promising a significant change to how its DiggBar framebar operates, one that should solve SEO concerns about how link credit is passed on but won't entirely remove misgivings about the framing of content. With the new implementation scheduled for next week, only those who are logged into Digg will see the DiggBar. So if you click on a DiggBar URL from Twitter, you won't see the DiggBar unless you've already been to Digg and have a logged in status. Just having a Digg cookie won't be enough, Digg cofounder Kevin Rose told me when we talked about the new implementation yesterd [...]

The Growth Of Framebars & Kevin Rose On The DiggBar

The DiggBar has been out for about a week now. Since then, there continues to be concerns over twin issues of whether it robs sites of link love and frames their contents in a way that's unfair to publishers. I had a good conversation with Digg cofounder Kevin Rose today about these issues and how Digg is actively looking at ways to solve worries over the tool. For those unfamiliar with the DiggBar, it allows people to create a short URL that's useful in services like Twitter. Anyone clicking on a shortened URL made through Digg gets to a page with a DiggBar at the top. For example, [...]

Inquisitor Debuts On iPhone

The Yahoo Search Blog announced that my favorite search browser plugin, Inquisitor has made its way to the iPhone. You can get it right now on your iPhone in the iTunes Store for free by clicking here. The features include: Yahoo Search Assist search suggestions View search results in one click, within the application Site summaries load before the web site itself loads Yahoo News results (if applicable) Personalized search results based on your search history Search history shows you your search logs Clear results by shaking your phone So I had time to play with this iPhone app [...]

Internet Explorer 8 Search Now Showing Instant Answers From Live Search

The Live Search blog announced that Internet Explorer 8 is now showing instant answers from Live Search in the search box. This feature is on by default and will show instant answers for searches related to financial information, weather conditions, movie show times, calculations, equations, conversions, and definitions. Here is a screen capture: [...]

Yahoo’s Inquisitor Now Available For Firefox & Internet Explorer

My favorite search browser plugin, Inquisitor, is now available for Firefox and Internet Explorer. Inquisitor was Apple Safari's only solid third-party search browser plugin back in the day. Yahoo acquired them back in May and then provided an upgrade in mid-August. Now, Yahoo has announced they have made this plugin available for Firefox and IE. If you are running Firefox 2 or 3, you can download the addon over here. If you are running IE 7 or 8, you can download the plugin over here. I highly recommend you give it a try and check out some of the customizations I deployed on Inqui [...]

ChunkIt, A New Information Extraction Add-On, Now Available

ChunkIt is a toolbar that digs deep into the links found on web pages, extracting "chunks" of information from those pages, allowing you to quickly find relevant content without having to click through on the links yourself. Think of the process you already use when scanning search results, or long web pages that are rich with links. ChunkIt saves you the time of clicking through and scanning multiple web pages for the exact bits of information you're looking for. You can use ChunkIt in conjunction with search result pages, with deep content sites like Wikipedia, project Gutenberg or news s [...]

Search & Internet Explorer 8

After finally getting the new Internet Explorer 8 beta installed (demands to upgrade Windows, verify Windows, sigh), I spent some time playing with the new search functionality and checking to see if Microsoft was going to try to stack the deck in its favor with the new browser. So far, it remains pretty even handed. Indeed, so far, Microsoft seems kind of lame given that there are some cool search features you're hard pressed to locate. Let's take a tour. After installing the software, I'm asked if I want to use "Express Settings" or to make active choices: Notice that Live Sear [...]

Yahoo Gives Inquisitor, Mac Browser Plugin, First Upgrade

The Yahoo Search Blog announced that they have released a new version of my favorite search browser plugin named Inquisitor. The upgrade makes the Apple Safari search plugin faster, cleaner, and multi-lingual. By faster, Yahoo has integrated Inquisitor with BOSS, enabling a faster return on your Yahoo queries. Yahoo has cleaned up both the Inquisitor home page and the client to be simpler and more streamlined. Finally, Yahoo has expanded the language support to Japanese, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and German. Here is a screen shot of the new client [...] Extension For Internet Explorer Adds Firefox Features

The Delicious Blog announced the release of a new beta version of the bookmarks extension for Internet Explorer. The new version helps the IE version catch up with the Firefox version, which was released on April 30th. The new features include: Extremely high performance implementation allows for near instantaneous searching with very large accounts (over 10K bookmarks)Full sidebar and toolbar implementation with bookmark sync and typedown searchToolbar indicators for new network activity and links for youWorks on IE6, IE7, and IE8 beta on both XP and Vista For help [...]

Yahoo Buys My Favorite Search Browser Plugin, Inquisitor For Apple Safari

Yahoo has acquired my favorite search browser plugin for Apple Safari, Inquisitor. Inquisitor is an extremely useful search refinement and search aid tool for the Apple browser market. Inquisitor offers autocomplete, refinements, suggestions, and also allows you to add any search engine you like, plus create your own personalized and advanced query operators, much like OpenSearch. I spoke with Ariel Seidman, the director of product management for this product, and he answered a number of questions I had about the acquisition. David Watanabe is the developer behind Inquisitor, and he is al [...]

Mahalo Follow: Toolbar Gives You Human-Powered Alternatives To Searching, Surfing

Mahalo Follow is a new toolbar that allows you to view Mahalo's human-powered search results next to the results from the major search engine of your choice or have them appear in response to pages you view on the web. Mahalo Launches With Human-Crafted Search Results from me in May explains more about the Mahalo service -- Jason Calacanis's challenge to Google and the other major search engines that human editors can craft better results than algorithms. But nearly two months after its launch, fair to say that the major search engines aren't shaking in their boots, as Mahalo has yet to gain a [...]

Yahoo Adds Search Suggestions To Toolbar

The Yahoo Search Blog announced that downloads of the Yahoo Toolbar for Internet Explorer will now have "as you type" search suggestions functionality. Yahoo has been on a search suggestion frenzy lately, last month launching search suggestions on and beta testing Yahoo Search Assist. [...]

CA & Yahoo Team Up To Offer Co-Branded Yahoo Toolbar

CA and Yahoo have teamed up to offer a co-branded version of the Yahoo Toolbar. This Yahoo Toolbar will be bundled in all CA Home/Home Office products. CA Anti-Spyware will continue to power Yahoo's anti-spyware feature in the toolbar. From the press release: "Online security remains a prevalent issue because of online threats, yet many Internet users are still unsure what products they need to protect themselves from spyware and malware," said Joff Redfern, senior director of Product Management, Yahoo! Search Distribution. "It's important to provide our users with the best, most accessi [...]

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