February 2006 Archive
Microsoft's Virtual Earth team announces the addition of street level imagery to Virtual Earth. The beta is available at http://preview.local.live.com/. It is supposed to be added to Windows Live Local this summer.
Alas, Jeeves the butler and long-time Ask Jeeves mascot is gone is an icon, as part of the name, and removed from the address. The search engine formerly known as Ask Jeeves is now just plain Ask.com, or Ask for short. Beyond the branding change, Ask has redesigned the site and moved links around. Many of Ask's additional databases are now linked in a right-hand box labeled Search Tools. Unfortunately, the Advanced Search page has moved off the front page. Click the "Next" under Search Tools to find the link to the advanced search page. On that second page, try the edit tool to re-order those links and bring the advanced search onto the front page. In addition, Ask has joined Google, Local Live, and Yahoo! with an AJAX-based map interface. In other words, you can drag the map around by clicking and holding the mouse key down and then dragging the map to reposition it. Like Google and MSN's Local Live, it includes aerial imagery as well as the maps.
Yahoo! has added quick links to Wikipedia entries that show up within Yahoo! results. When a Wikipedia result is listed, it now often includes several links (just above the URL) that go directly to main sections of the Wikipedia entry.
A couple new features have been announced on Yahoo! Answers. For quick links, it now offers RSS feeds by keyword, toolbar buttons, and badges that can be placed on other Web pages. Another addition is an Ajax widget that searches previously asked questions and displays them even as a user is typing in a question.
Google Scholar has announced the expansion of their library links options (available under scholar preferences) to include library union lists in Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland.
MSN Search made a few changes yesterday. As noted in their blog, the background color from blue to a "steely grey." The search box has been lengthened to allow seeing more of the search query, and hit are now highlighted in the title as well as the extract.
With the latest version of Google Desktop, several new features and new concerns arise. Desktop 3, announced on their blog today, gives users the ability to drag panels from the sidebar to place them elsewhere on the desktop. Sidebar content can be sent via email or chat to other users. Desktop 3 now indexes zipped files, added an advanced search form, and allows more advanced search commands. The controversial new feature is the use of Google servers to enable searching across multiple computers (say your home and office desktops). This is not enabled by default, but if it is, data has to be sent to Google servers for this to work. Anyone with concerns about sharing such data should probably not enable this. New search commands include
under: for searching a specific folder and
machine: to specify which computer (if search across computers is enabled).
And on the search side, Desktop 3 allows searching across multiple computers by storing
Not too many months after Exalead launched out of beta and jumped from covering 1 billion pages to 2 billion, they have now doubled yet again to over 4 billion. The company press release credits the use of 64-bit indexing technology and predicts reaching 8 billion by July 2006.
Feedster, the blog, news, and podcast search engine, has relaunched with a new design. In addition, Feedster claims to have improved speed, simplified searching, and reworked the core search technology to scale with growth and handle new kinds of feed types and searches. New advanced search capabilities are under development for the future and are supposed to include link searching and feed finding.