Search Engines

Google OS & Librarians

Google is set to debut an operating system based on Chrome. (via New York Times). Ishush has a brief analysis that suggests this is good for the 'biodiversity' of the web climate, citing Jaron Lanier's criticism that "software makes us stupid..." but maybe an OS built by a company whose name has been made on "organizing the world's information" will be a natural fit for libraries?

Orthodox Jews Launch "Kosher" Search Engine

Story in the NYT:

Religiously devout Jews barred by rabbis from surfing the Internet may now "Koogle" it on a new "kosher" search engine, the site manager said on Sunday.

Yossi Altman said Koogle, a play on the names of a Jewish noodle pudding and the ubiquitous Google, appears to meet the standards of Orthodox rabbis, who restrict use of the Web to ensure followers avoid viewing sexually explicit material.

The site, at www.koogle.co.il, omits religiously objectionable material, such as most photographs of women which Orthodox rabbis view as immodest, Altman said.

Its links to Israeli news and shopping sites also filter out items most ultra-Orthodox Israelis are forbidden by rabbis to have in their homes, such as television sets.

"This is a kosher alternative for ultra-Orthodox Jews so that they may surf the Internet," Altman said by telephone.

Story continued here.

Boolean Search as It Applies to Twitter

From Poynter Online:

When reporting on the unfolding story of the election in Iran (and it's possible irregularities), Twitter can be a useful tool for getting real-time context about what's happening and what people are thinking and saying.

As journalist Amy Gahran has written before, hashtags (short alphanumeric "labels" prefaced by "#") are a key tool for following any topic, breaking or otherwise, on Twitter.

The leading hashtag to follow appears to be #IranElection. But far more people are talking about this issue than reliably using the hashtag, so it's also useful to search Twitter for these keywords: Ahmadinejad, Mousavi, (or Moussavi), Iran, and Tehran. (Hashtags and keywords are not case-sensitive.)

That's one hashtag plus at least four keywords (more if you consider alternate spellings). Quite a bit to keep your eye on. Plus if you use a column-based Twitter tool such as Tweetdeck, Seesmic Desktop or Monitter, you only have a limited number of columns to work with. (Each column displays the results of only one search query.)

Bing without image

Bing has an image that shows on the main page. Each day it changes. If you think it is more professional to run a search engine that does not have an image displayed here is a link to Bing that does not include the image.

If you had not seen Bing before and want to see what it looks like with the image you can see that here.

New Microsoft Search Engine is available

You can now try Bing.

Summary of WolframAlpha & Legal Research

Legal Informatics Blog has a Summary of WolframAlpha & Legal Research

For the summary click the link above.

Be prepared to read the phrase "seems unable to" several times.

Microsoft unveils, then shutters Kumo.

What makes a great search engine? The first rule apparently, is that it must have fewer letters than "Google."

Last year brought Cuil, and now Microsoft presentes Kumo. Or is it pronounced Kumo? (See? You don't know either.)

Kumo is named for the little boy in the Japanese anime, "My Clumsy Evil Fighting Sister from the Future is a Cat Robot."

But on the first rule, Microsoft is a success. Kumo definitely has fewer letters than Google. But it's still two syllables, so it's not any easier to say.

Will anyone say, "Just Kumo it"? I don't think so. "Come on, Kumo!" No, not unless they're directing a porno.

What will it take for Microsoft to compete with Google? Is Kumo a better search engine? Who cares?

Kumo has already been used as the name of a Web tool: I wonder if anyone at Microsoft knows that?

Wolfram | Alpha Search Buries the Ref Desk

Stephen Wolfram (New Kind of Science, Mathematica, etc.) is releasing a new semantic search engine that "can pop out an answer to pretty much any kind of factual question that you might pose to a scientist, economist, banker, or other kind of expert...". Link to story in h+ Magazine by Rudy Rucker.

Why I Quit Google

Google's top designer Doug Bowman quit the company to join Twitter. Mostly, Doug didn't like how much Google depends on data to make design decisions.

His basic complaint: "When a company is filled with engineers, it turns to engineering to solve problems. Reduce each decision to a simple logic problem. Remove all subjectivity and just look at the data. Data in your favor? Ok, launch it. Data shows negative effects? Back to the drawing board. And that data eventually becomes a crutch for every decision, paralyzing the company and preventing it from making any daring design decisions." This is a portion of his blog post, find it at stop design.

The Online Search Party: A Way to Share the Load

OPPORTUNITIES for social networking abound on the Internet, but not when it comes to one standard job: using a browser and search engine to comb the Web for information. That task is still typically done solo, because browser displays and search procedures have traditionally been designed for a single user.

Now tools are being developed by Microsoft and other companies that let people at different computers search as a team, dividing responsibilities and pooling results and recommendations in a shared Web space on the browser display as they plan a family vacation, for instance, or research a medical problem.

Full story here.

Also in article: SearchTogether, by contrast, actively supports a group search, said Michael Twidale, an associate professor at the graduate school of library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who studies people’s strategies for conducting research jointly.

“SearchTogether addresses a real need,” he said. “People searching for information often want to interact with other people. But most of our information retrieval systems fail to recognize this.”

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