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Wednesday, April 30, 2003

PC Magazine has done a small article reviewing some of the major search engines. It's not particularly startling, but might be worth a look if you've got 5 minutes. To save you the trouble, the editors choice was Google, closely followed by Alltheweb, with MSN and Yahoo next, with AOL bringing up the rear. No surprises there then!

Friday, April 25, 2003

Nice simple and easy aggregation of a small number of Library and Info. Science feeds. I took a quick look - could be useful, especially if it was bigger!

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Unlike many people, I've chosen not to talk about the Iraqi conflict. However, I've finally read something which I find particularly profound, by Tim Robbins, and if you've got a couple of minutes to spare, you could do worse than read it.
Google says phrase your question in the form of an answer
Permit me a smug smile, but I've been saying exactly this for years now. Don't think about what you're looking for - think about how it's going to be presented on the webpage that gives you the perfect answer. Don't think 'What is the capital of England?' do a phrase search for "The capital of England is" - the rest is easy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

You can now view the last ten queries sent to Alltheweb, and do a refresh to see what people are searching for. It's filtered for adult content, but I'm told it's not always great at that, so beware. They have also instituted a new shortcuts program, so that you can virtually eliminate the use of the mouse.

Monday, April 14, 2003

The Search Engine Index is a page jam pack full of statistics of various sorts relating to search engines. Absolutely fascinating stuff, and if you run training courses or briefings, it's a great place to obtain some useful and otherwise hard to find facts.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Very interesting article on just how useful the Google safe search function is. The overall conclusion seems to be 'not very'.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

The Google Viewer provides you with a way of browsing through the web pages returned in your list of results without having to do anything - a sort of slideshow. Quite what its use and value is I'm not entirely sure!

Monday, April 07, 2003

OK, if you want to try out Yahoo search, now is the time! Did a quick search for Phil bradley and got 248,000 results, which is better than AltaVista (no surprise) and not as good as Google (no surprise there either).

Usual things that you'd expect - a cached version, a 'more pages from this site' option, the search gets pulled across into the image, news, directory functions.

Advanced search functions are again pretty much what you'd expect to find -
Find all words, any, phrase, none of the words in any part of the page, title or URL
Updated is disappointing - 3 months, 6 months, last year. The same as Google, and not as good as Alltheweb.
Site/domain options are any (obviously), .com, .edu, .gov, .org (very US biased), with a limit to a specific domain. Not as good as it could be.
Adult content filter - On/Off so that's ok, but not as flexible as it could be.
Country search - 24 countries, no regions. Not as good as Alltheweb, and the limit is by country code, which again isn't impressive.
Language search looks fine - lots of choice there.
Display # of results on a page is fine - up to 100.
Search by URL - pages similar to, or that link to. Now.. where have I seen that option before?
Finally a beta feature - search for products.

I'll play around with it a little more, but that's a quick overview.
It's been reported that Overture has signed a deal with Gator to provide pop-unders at competitor (read Google) websites. This has generally been viewed with horror by the webmasters that I talk to; many of them have either cancelled their advertising subscriptions with Overture or are not going to be renewing them. They simply don't want to have any sort of association with Gator at all, and quite frankly, I don't blame them. Obviously Overture want to go after Google, but this really doesn't seem to be a sensible way to do it.
The BBC is doing another of their lists shows, this time of the nations favourite books, entitled The Big Read. If you've not nominated your favourite book, you might want to trot along and nominate it now! If you're wondering, mine is 'The Wasp Factory' by Iain Banks.
Today is apparently the day during which Yahoo will roll out their new search engine to attempt to take on Google. This is quite frankly a pointless exercise, for a number of reasons. Firstly, they're not going to be able to compete with Google, given the time that Google has had to impliment a whole bunch of other things (such as Scout, Toolbar and so on), and secondly, Yahoo isn't recognised as a free text search engine, no more than Google is recognised as an index/directory engine.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Over half a billion people world wide now have access to research from Nielson Netratings.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Very interesting and basic article on how to make an RSS feed. And some general information on RSS
Lots of people are reporting the story about Microsoft taking on Google, so I suppose I'd better take a nod in that direction as well. Lets just hope it doesn't happen shall we? Search engines are bad enough as it stands, without Microsoft coming along to make them worse!
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey London 1674 to 1834 is a fully searchable online edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. This isn't the usual type of thing that you'll find me talking about, but I think it's really interesting and worth taking a look at. Especially useful if you're into researching family history. Not that I expect to find references to any of my ancestors you understand!

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

There's a product called 'Backflip' and it's designed to let you copy your bookmarks or favorites to a central server so that you can access them from anywhere. I set up an account a while ago but never got around to using it. Since I've recently added a whole bunch of bookmarks for a course that I'm running, I thought I'd take a more indepth look. I'm sorry to say, but it's awful It's badly put together, the interface is appalling and it's irritating in the extreme. Worst of all, it's got pop-up's left right and centre. I use a pop-up killer and this just walked past it (by constantly changing the names of the pop-up wondows). Dreadful, dreadful dreadful. I'm never going to use it again - I'll look around and see if I can find anything that's better.
No More AOL cds! It's not clever, but it is funny. If you're sick and tired of all the AOL CD's that you get, this is the website to visit.
Kartoo has introduced a new version of its search interface, and instead of the standard graphical format, it's a straight text version, just like everyone elses. I've had a look at it and it works fine, but seems to miss the point somehow. Everyone else is doing exactly this, and Kartoo has found a winning formula (at least for some people) who want something different. Still, I suppose they want to appeal to as many people as possible!