March 2001 Archive
Google now has added an automated translation capability. The translate option currently only shows up next to results that are in Spanish, German, French, and Portuguese. See Google's help page for more details, and note that a new preference is available which will automatically translate title and KWIC extracts to English for some results.
AltaVista's Babel Fish translation service has added translation for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean to and from English. According to the press release, Babel Fish, currently performs over one million translations per day.
Google announces that "Dr. Eric E. Schmidt, 45, currently chairman and CEO of Novell, Inc., has joined Google's board of directors as chairman. Schmidt succeeds Sergey Brin, 27, Google's founding chairman and current president.
Google has added a new feature that links to U.S. phone directory information. Enter a person's name followed by a U.S. state abbreviation, area code, city name, or ZIP code to see how it works. For example, john smith ca. It also works when just entering a phone number with area code. Google also has a removal form if you prefer not to be included.
AltaVista will now display some news headlines as matches above the regular search results. These come from their news database, powered by Moreover, and directly accessible at www.altavista.com/news/. See their press release for more details.
Inktomi announces enhancements to its Web search products. The press release is long on verbage, but the actual enhancements seem to consist of revised relevance algorithms using modeling based on human judgement along with more abilities to blend Inktomi search results with other database results. It also mentions the fresher and more diverse content being made available in the database from their Index Connect (see March 9) initiative. The impact of all of this on searchers will only be seen as Inktomi partners start adopting these changes.
Northern Light has expanded their Special Collection again. According to their announcement, it now includes the most recent year's worth of articles from the New York Times along with over 100 newspapers from the Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News service.
Inktomi has expanded its pay for inclusion program. For larger customers (those with over 1,000 pages), Inktomi offers its Index Connect service. For those sites that choose to pay, they can determine what gets indexed, how frequently it gets index, track when it was indexed, and even send a file with metadata for pages or multimedia files via XML interchange format. For searchers, this means that Inktomi partners are likely to have some unique multimedia content unavailable from other sources. It may also mean that non-paying sites will be less well covered and less frequently updated. See their press release for more information.
Infoseek, one of the oldest of the Web search engines, is gone. Bought out by Disney in July 1999, Infoseek became the central search component of Disney's failed Go.com portal. In January 2001, Disney announced that it would be shutting down the Go.com site and that some assets would be sold off. As of today, the Go.com site still exists, but it now uses the GoTo.com pay for placement search engine. The Infoseek technology lives on in the Ultraseek site search technology which is now owned by Inktomi, but as far as I can tell, no global Web search engine exists which still uses Infoseek. This also means that the Infoseek News Search is gone. Infoseek and Go have been removed from the features chart, search engines by features, and the News Searching pages. The Go review and the Infoseek News Search Review will remain available as a record of what used to be available.
Excite has introduced a new feature called "Zoom In." It is available as a new button, next to the Search button. The new button is labeled "Zoom In." Clicking it causes another window to pop up, even while the search results are being displayed in the main window. The pop-up window gives suggestions for ways to refine the search, in particular by adding more precise search terms. More details are available on the Zoom In Help page.
Inference Find, a meta search engine formerly available at Infind.com has shut down, perhaps just temporarily.
AltaVista, with its increase emphasis on search, has unveiled a new logo and a new look to its page. The page is designed to load faster. In addition, AltaVista has re-done its shopping search to incorporate local stores as well as Internet sites. See the CMGI press release for more details.