Year in Web Searching

01Nov08

I had the great pleasure and opportunity to attend a webinar presented by Greg Notess, who has been writing about search engines since 1991. The webinar itself could have been better because of sound problems but my sense was that Google still reigned supreme for searching the Internet. Notess also used Yahoo, Ask and Microsoft’s Live Search. I have never liked Live Search. But its advantage is low traffic, making it an alternative to Yahoo or Google, according to Notess.

Google has added an autosuggest feature on the main search page. The main change is fewer exact matches, when searching, so this will benefit typical in-a-hurry users.  More videos will come up in results, because of a shift in the way Google is indexing behind the scenes. Over in Google Books, post 1922 published works will have more full views. I was able to verify a technical book from the 1960s with this tool.

In Google Maps, try a topic search, like yarn in Toronto, to see what results you will get. I can see this being helpful when you are travelling to an unfamiliar city but you overwhelmingly need your coffee fix from Starbucks.

A trio of new social search engines are on the horizon. Wikia Search has different approach and, as a searcher, you can comment on records or delete/undelete results. Maybe you work for rival company X and you want competitor company Y to be invisible, so you could delete them in Wikia results. My librarian community at Slaw wrote about this new application previously.

Spokeo and Me.dium are the other search engines. Both require you to sign up as a user, in order to search and kick the tires on their new product. Me.dium also forced me to download a toolbar, which struck me as too invasive.

Update, November 8, 2008: The Me.dium that I previewed is not available. A new engine will be unveiled soon. On a technical note, to uninstall toolbars in Firefox, see Tools > Add-Ons. And for a different perspective on social search engines see Ted Tjaden’s post.

I got great results with Spokeo. I found out about my second cousin’s esotoric hobbies (butterly collecting community on a small web site), and my long lost friend on a Facebook type application in Asia. Spokeo boasts that it indexes across databases like Amazon wish lists, YouTube, Twitter, Digg, Webshots, Flickr, and LinkedIn.

I don’t think I will go back to these search engines but I may be hearing about it more in the next few years. -Brenda

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One Response to “Year in Web Searching”

  1. Thanks for checking out Me.dium Social Search. Feedback is always appreciated! I just wanted to clarify a few things regarding using the search. NO you do not have to download anything or sign-up as a user to be able to use Me.dium Search. You can access it just as you would any other search engine, no strings attached. ;) However, Me.dium bases our results on surfing activity of our user-base. By downloading one of the Me.dium toolbars, you are contributing to our dynamic search results—-however, you are never obligated to do so. You can leave it up to the rest of the crowds to do that, and you can just use the search alone.

    Results are constantly changing based on what others are surfing and finding “hot right now.” If you want some more info on how Me.dium Search works, feel free to check out: http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS39090+10-Jul-2008+PRN20080710

    Again, thanks for taking a look at Me.dium Search. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at Jboyle@me.dium.com

    Thanks!
    Jenny



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