February 2005 Archive
Awhile back, Google changed its default dictionary links (from the 'definition' link in the upper right corner that sometimes appears after a single term query or from the linked search terms that appear in the same spot for a multiple term query). Those used to go to Dictionary.com. Now they go to Answers.com, powered by Gurunet. Now, as Gary Stock reports, the links to definitions no longer appear if the word is a plural. Compare the search for test to the search for tests.
Copernic announces the release of a public beta of its Copernic Desktop Search 1.5. The new version has added several file types including Mozilla Thunderbird email, Eudora email, networked drive indexing, improved meta data for audio and visual files, 20 other new file types, and the ability to use a wildcard to add custom file extensions.
Google has just launched a search shortcut to help users access local movie showtimes in the U.S. along with film information and reviews. The service is available from any Google search box and via SMS to 46645 or GOOGL on many phones. To find information and reviews, use
movies: followed by a word or words from the movie's title. To find local movie listings use the shortcut
showtimes followed by a ZIP code or U.S. city name.
After jumping to 1 billion back in October, Yahoo! has now announced that their Yahoo! Images now has over 1.5 billion records. In addition, they are including a few image thumbnails at the top of Web search results when terms like 'photos,' 'images,' or 'wallpapers' appear in the query.
Google Scholar has added a Scholar Preferences page which lists a few dozen academic institutions. Up to three can be selected, and those institutions OpenURL links will be shown on individual records. They say "Institutional access is currently a small pilot project" which means that if you are not on the list, you probably will not be able to get on it any time soon.
Just noticed that HotBot now only offers two databases: Google and Ask Jeeves. It no longer has the database it used for so long under the label of HotBot (and before that listed as Inktomi). The Yahoo!-supplied database is now gone. See screenshots showing the change (in French but the screen shots are not).
About.com has been sold again. The New York Times Company has announced its intent to buy About for about $410 million -- a few hundred million dollars below what Primedia paid for it in 2000.
Google has a beta of the 3.0 version of its toolbar. This is still only available for Internet Explorer 5.5+ running on Windows 98 or higher. There is still no Mozilla Firefox version. New features include spelling correction, a word translator, and auto links. If enabled the auto links will provide additional links from the page when an address (link to Google Maps) or certain numbers appear on a Web page. The numbers include ISBNs (links to Amazon) and package tracking and vehicle identification numbers (link to Google's search by numbers searches).
Yahoo! has announced that its toolbar can now be installed in Mozilla Firefox. It is a beta version and has features available in the IE toolbar such as site search, tranlation, new Yahoo! mail notification, and search history. The Firefox version also has added an "Add to My Yahoo" link for sites that provide RSS or Atom feeds.
Web-based RSS reader and search engine Bloglines has been acquired by Ask Jeeves. According to Ask's press release "the acquisition brings together complementary technology assets, including Bloglines' leading RSS aggregation capabilities and Ask Jeeves' world-class Teoma algorithmic search technology. Ask Jeeves plans to leverage these technologies across its search and portal brands, and as of today, Bloglines' Web search capability will be powered by Ask Jeeves' search technology."
In its continuing drive towards providing more portal style information, Google has now launched its own Maps project. This beta version uses data from NAVTEQ like many other Web mapping tools. It allows for zooming and dragging the map. It only covers the U.S. and Canada at this point. It can be searched by ZIP code and can map directions between two points. Gary has a more detailed analysis.
Yahoo! is launching an experimental new tool called Y!Q. In beta, this contextual search tool uses a chunk of text to generate a search. It can search on several pages of text by just pasting the text into the Y!Q search box. It also can be embedded within pages as in the Search Related Info links at the demonstration site for Yahoo! news. It can also be invoked from browser plug-ins.
The local search from Google is now on the main page, as one of the "tabs" above the search box that can lead to other Google databases. This move is good for the U.S. and Canadian versions of Google where the local database is available.
MSN has been working throughout 2004 on creating its own search engine database rather than continuing to use the one from Yahoo! (formerly Inktomi). First with their technology preview and then the beta version launched in Nov., MSN has been testing out their new database and interface. Today the beta version has fully moved to the main MSN Search site. It is pretty similar to what has been available from the beta site over the last few months. Danny has a detailed overview.