Tag Archives: search

FBI finally goes digital, stops using paper

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have finally ditched paper files for a new computer system, an effort that took 12 years and cost more than $600 million.

The system, called Sentinel, includes elements resembling Web browsers, with tabs and movable windows, and forms that are filled out in a question-and-answer format similar to consumer tax software.

An FBI special agent demonstrated the system, which went live July 1, to reporters Tuesday. Agents can share files electronically and can track changes made by others. RSS feeds, commonly used in Web browsers to aggregate news topics, can be used to track updates on files.

Agents can also use a search feature, entering a phone number, for instance, to see if it occurs in other active cases or leads.

One of the biggest hurdles to getting agents to accept the system, Mr. Johnson said, has been their reluctance to believe it’s really happening.

 

Source: The Wall Street Journal - FBI Files Go Digital, After Years of Delays

 

 

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Google ads Amazon-style products to search results – in a big revenue grab

An interesting update by Google which seems directly targeted at Amazon. These new Product Ads from Google will compete with Amazon’s commission model, and may come down to who has the better search.

With billions of dollars in revenue the stakes…

 

In the early days of Google, users would type in a query, we’d return ten blue links, and they’d move on happy. Today people want more. When searching for great local restaurants, people want places to eat right there on the results page, not another click or two away. It’s the same with hotels, flight options, directions and shopping.

Today we’re announcing a new initiative to improve our shopping experience over time–so that shoppers (your customers) can easily research purchases, compare different products, their features and prices, and then connect directly with merchants to make their purchase.

First, we are starting to transition Google Product Search in the U.S. to a purely commercial model built on Product Listing Ads. This new product discovery experience will be called Google Shopping and the transition will be complete this fall.

Ranking in Google Shopping, when the full transition is complete this fall, will be based on a combination of relevance and bid price–just like Product Listing Ads today.

In addition, merchants who want to stand out from the crowd can choose to participate in our new Google Trusted Stores program. Google Trusted Stores is a badge for e-commerce sites which gives users background on merchants—whatever their size—including ratings for on-time shipping and customer service. Google stands behind merchants that have earned the Google Trusted Stores badge with a $1,000 lifetime purchase protection guarantee per shopper.

Second, starting today we’ve also begun to experiment with some new commercial formats on Google.com that will make it easier for users to find and compare different products. These include larger product images that give shoppers a better sense of what is available and also the ability to refine a search by brand or product type.

For example, below is  what stargazers could see on Google.com when searching for [telescopes], or for a specific product, such as [Celestron CPC 800].

 

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Did Yahoo! hire Marissa Mayer to bring back Yahoo Search?

This is an interesting take on the hire of Marissa Mayer, considering that all the past CEO’s have gone as far away from search as they can.

As you may have heard, Marissa Mayer is now CEO of Yahoo, ready to turn it into a leaner, fitter, more successful firm. It’s a great move for Yahoo, and it could mean great things for you, the consumer. But the entity that may benefit the most? Google.

Yahoo’s search effort is sinking. Back in December 2011 its U.S. market share in search slipped behind Bing’s, and the trend continued at least until June. If its July and August figures show a continued slip in market share, that will make it 12 months of non-stop dropping into oblivion. Bing, meanwhile, is picking up some of this slack, as is Google itself. For Bing, however, this is more a case of it maintaining its slim market share–hovering around 15%, which doesn’t represent a huge threat to Google.

Google needs Mayer to turn Yahoo search around, perhaps growing its market share by pushing for real innovation. Because a stronger Yahoo will also push Microsoft to compete harder with Bing, possibly even stealing market share from Google. That’s not such a bad thing: Google has enough to share, and it’ll create a dynamic, vibrant search engine market in which Google will face much less antitrust heat. “We really think an independent Yahoo’s better for the Web,” Mayer told Charlie Rose in 2009.

A more competitive market will push Google itself to innovate, delivering what its users want and need–versus what experimental services Google deems fit to push on them.

 

Keep reading: Fast Company – Why Joining Yahoo Is The Best Thing Marissa Mayer Ever Did–For Google

 

 

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Wikimedia Foundation votes to start a travel guide – as Wikitravel implodes

The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to create a travel guide in the mold of its non-profit, user-written and search engine results-hogging Wikipedia.

The foundation’s board of trustees on July 11 approved a proposal to launch an advertisement-free travel guide and noted that 31 of the 48 administrators of the Internet Brands-owned Wikitravel have pledged to join forces with the Wikimedia Foundation’s travel guide website.

The foundation indicated that Wikitravel is the current leader in travel wikis, but its advertisements and monetization efforts may turn off travelers and would-be contributors.

In addition, the foundation argues that Internet Brands has failed to keep pace with the times and that Wikitravel suffers from a “lack of technical support/feature development.”

Jani Patokallio, a Wikitravel admin based in Melbourne, Australia, wrote about the editors’ mass exodus from Wikitravel, and told Skift that the situation there had reached “the boiling point.”

 

Source: Skift – Wikipedia Parent to Launch Travel Guide with Wikitravel Rebels

 

 

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Flight Search – Google adds Kayak-like search to results

  • See a simple list of convenient flights
  • Explore travel options
  • Find low prices

Flight Search helps you explore air travel options and plan your trip with just a few clicks of the mouse. You can find and book flights within the US, and from the US to many international destinations.

Access Flight Search at google.com/flights, or type a flight-related search into Google then click “Flights” on the left hand side of your search results page.

Google takes a big step towards becoming a (smart) encyclopedia – look out Wikipedia!

“We’re in the early phases of moving from being an information engine to a knowledge engine” – Google

That’s a quote from the video below where Google explains a new panel they are adding to search. Called the ‘knowledge graph’ it is basically a mini-encyclopedia. See the panels in the images below.

 

 

This is a big competitive move for Google. Not only are they taking on Facebook with Google+, Microsoft with Google Docs, and Apple with Android, now they have Wikipedia in their sights.

Of course, Wikipedia will still serve a huge purpose for in-depth information, but you can expect Wikipedia to experience a precipitous drop in page views once people are getting their basic information from these panels.

It also puts Google in an interesting position. While this is a natural improvement in search it also creates a conflict of interest for them. One of the many they are currently facing, some of which are in the courts facing anti-trust issues.

Will Google devalue Wikipedia in favor of their ‘knowledge graph’?

Or, lower its ranking if people begin using it less?

Hard to predict, but notice that in the images above Google clearly (intentionally?) shows Wikipedia as the top result. That may not keep.

 

Learn more:

Google launches Student Search with lesson plans, live trainings, & daily challenges

Google has launched a free tutorial website, Search Education, which will help students learn how to better use Google Search for learning and academic research. The site is aimed at both at teachers and at individual users.

The company knows that while its many tools can be useful, not everyone understands how to use them. Student Education seeks to solve this by providing live training that anyone can access as well as lesson plans that teachers can use to teach their students about Google’s many services. There are even “A Google A Day” challenges that can be used to reinforce search skills in students.

Teachers will be pleased to find that the lessons plans are comprehensive. They include beginner, intermediate and advanced versions covering five different topics:

  • Picking the right search terms
  • Understanding search results
  • Narrowing a search to get the best results
  • Searching for evidence for research tasks
  • Evaluating credibility of sources

There are also ten challenges, each of which covers a specific academic topic (such as history, biology and even math).

via Make Use Of

 

 

// Thx – Ricardo Blanco

Psychology’s five aspects of wisdom

A recent article in the Economist used a complex, but somewhat small in scope, survey to study wisdom. They found that Americans definitely get smarter with age. They scored 45 points at age 25, and 55 by age 75.

In comparison, the Japanese learn wisdom much quicker, scoring 51 in both age groups.

This led to the byline – Americans get wiser with age. Japanese are wise from the start.

Very interesting and thoughtful, but I found it more inspiring to look at how they judged wisdom.

The assessors scored participants’ responses on a scale of one to three. This attempted to capture the degree to which they discussed what psychologists consider five crucial aspects of wise reasoning:

  • Willingness to seek opportunities to resolve conflict;
  • Willingness to search for compromise;
  • Recognition of the limits of personal knowledge;
  • Awareness that more than one perspective on a problem can exist;
  • Appreciation of the fact that things may get worse before they get better.

 

Basically, how good of a – diplomat/negotiator/self-aware/empathetic/realist – are you?

 

// Thx to Kirby Plessas

Feeling Sick? Google “Flu Trends” Tool Smarter Than The CDC

A new study in Clinical Infectious Diseases shows that Google Flu Trends can predict surges in hospital flu visits more than a week before the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

For the study, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researchers compared Baltimore-specific data from the Google Flu Trends website, which estimates influenza outbreaks based on online searches for flu information, to ED crowding and laboratory statistics from Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Using Google Flu Trends, researchers found that the number of online searches for flu information increased at the same time that the hospital’s pediatric ED experienced a rise in cases of children with flu-like symptoms. The Google Flu Trends data had a moderate correlation with patient volume in the adult ED. Moreover, Google Flu Trends signaled an uptick in flu cases seven to 10 days earlier than CDC‘s U.S. Influenza Sentinel Provider Surveillance Network. (via Advisory.com Daily Briefing)


Feeling Sick? Google "Flu Trends" Tool Smarter Than The CDC

A new study in Clinical Infectious Diseases shows that Google Flu Trends can predict surges in hospital flu visits more than a week before the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

For the study, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researchers compared Baltimore-specific data from the Google Flu Trends website, which estimates influenza outbreaks based on online searches for flu information, to ED crowding and laboratory statistics from Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Using Google Flu Trends, researchers found that the number of online searches for flu information increased at the same time that the hospital’s pediatric ED experienced a rise in cases of children with flu-like symptoms. The Google Flu Trends data had a moderate correlation with patient volume in the adult ED. Moreover, Google Flu Trends signaled an uptick in flu cases seven to 10 days earlier than CDC‘s U.S. Influenza Sentinel Provider Surveillance Network. (via Advisory.com Daily Briefing)