Archive for November, 2008

Google SearchWiki makes me nervous

November 26th, 2008 by Ian

New Google wiki results screenshotTime for some more Google, but a bit less sarcasm. Google recently announced (and put live) their ‘SearchWiki’ feature. Tagline: “Make search your own”. This makes me uncomfortable for three reasons:

Everything Google does makes me nervous.

They are basically the search engine. What else is there? Cuil? Get outta here! Yahoo!? What! About! The! Shouting!? MSN Live search, the search engine of ‘soccer moms’ everywhere? Nah, Google are it. Even on a little site like this where I pimp myself out to the odd social network and I have readers coming in from RSS; Google brings in the bulk of traffic. Anything they change effects all webmasters. If it doesn’t, then I don’t think they’re very good webmasters. This is something that could potentially alter current SEO thinking.

Visual clutter.

Now this is being fussy, perhaps the designer in me speaking, but I think a large part of the reason why people use Google over other services is that it just does the job well without much visual clutter. Try looking at the initial Google search page compared with the Yahoo one. It’s a lot tidier. These new buttons next to every search result makes the whole thing a lot busier.

They’ll kill what I love.

Currently you only see the changes that you make using the search wiki but things can change. I find most of the best stuff on the web through services like reddit, Stumbleupon and digg (well, less so digg these days). If google decide they want the user-generated rankings to effect the global search rankings than this could effectively kill off the other guys.

Obviously it’s early days for this feature and I’ll be honest; I personally feel uncomfortable using it. If a search result isn’t in the top #10 then it’s for a reason. I don’t want to change anything. Lets see if in a few months if I’m any less reactionary about it.

The Official Google blog offers a announcement here, with an explanatory video featuring their chirpy as usual engineers.

Let Me Google That For You.com

November 19th, 2008 by Ian

Here is a site that will no doubt ensure my friends will talk to me even less than they do. Ah, clear concise patronising. Saves nobody time.

Let Me Google That For You dot com

Unleash the fury.

A minute of Keith Olbermann is a minute well spent

November 16th, 2008 by Ian

When this man is on point, he can really fly. Originally a sports broadcaster, he has moved into politics. Sadly he wasn’t in full swing around the start of the Bush-era but he is now a must watch. I quite often watch his MSNBC show online, or at least the ‘World Worst Person’ segment. He’s a little Jon Stewart-esque, but with less jokes. That’s not to say that watching this frustrated silver-haired doberman as he angrily tears apart talking points isn’t funny. Here’s all you need to know before you dive into his work:

One eyed woman wants digital eye-cam

November 13th, 2008 by Ian

Tanya lost an eye in a car accident and was supplied by a pretty realistic looking prosthetic replacement. It seems, however, that she’d like to make the best of a bad situation and ‘upgrade’ that eye. She has put out a call on her blog for engineers to build her an eye with a digital camera that can provide augmented reality. There are a few possiblities; a ‘Terminator’-like display readout perhaps, or maybe just the ability to document her day with a genuine photographic memory. She seems to be gathering quite a bit of interest and I would imagine those with the skill-set to work with these sort of devices would always welcome a guinea pig. The devleopment could turn out to be very interesting.

Finally: A use for Ozzy Osbourne

November 10th, 2008 by Ian

Selling cell-phone text messaging. Take it away, oh incoherant one.

Via Gizmodo

Finally Twittering: here’s what I’m doing

November 6th, 2008 by Ian

Obviously I’ve missed the boat a bit on this one but if anyone wants to follow me on twitter, here I am: twitter.com/devolute. I’m going to be looking at ways to intergrate it with my WordPress install. I’ve just started but have had no problems with downtime and slowness that used to be blogged about at length a bit ago. I’m already finding it a useful tool but then you already knew that, right?

The US elections: what I have learnt

November 5th, 2008 by Ian

I learnt that I was wrong. Watching the US media in the past few months gave me the impression that the fear of a black man running the country was so great that it’d mean Obama would loose. It wouldn’t be because of his policies or his character, but the idea that there was just something not quite right about him. I was shown to be wrong, and it’s restored a lot of my faith in not just the US, but mankind!

I also learnt that although many people are prepared to be a bit more liberal in some respects. People have woken up and realised that the imminent threat of their local Walmart being blown up isn’t quite the reality that many seemed to think it was back in 2004. However; now the Prop8 result may show that some people are even more scared of gays than any AK-wielding terrorist.

The power of social media, the web and associated technologies surpassed what even I, a web professional, expected. I wish that some of the more liberal groups in British politics would realise this too.

Finally, I learnt that sometimes no matter how crazy you sound, no matter how much you screw up and no matter how plain nasty you are, you’ll can still pull in votes. Here’s to you, Ted and your series of tubes.

Twitter was one of many tools that the Obama campaign used to get people involved

Twitter was one of many tools that the Obama campaign used to get people involved

Now we have to look forward to the inevitable disappointment as Obama announces that the Iraq pull-out date is going to be 2023 and Joe Bidden inserts himself firmly in the buttocks of the music companies (and starts going after internet users). At least we got to see Palin cry. I’m looking forward to Schwarzenegger – Palin 2012. Hey; it could happen.

Voting… STOATing moarleik amirite?

November 4th, 2008 by Ian

stoat

Vote, vote vote
like a baby stoat!

Thanks for the defining message of this election, Cute Overload.

Kosmix – a more refined searching experience

November 3rd, 2008 by Ian

Kosmix web organiser

I’d never knock Google search. It just gets the job done. But check out Kosmix if you want more detailed results without having to click round. It’s a search service mash-up, kinda. More a ‘search organiser’. Ugh, what horrible web2.0 terms! Wait; let me explain:

When you search for something in Google you can then go through to what it feels is the most relevant page. If you search for something with Kosmix, it will show you everything it knows about the subject you searched for. It does this by bringing whatever it feels is relevant. So, if I search for Alec Baldwin, for example (hey; the new series of 30 rock has started and I’m excited!) it will bring in a bio from who2, pics from yahoo image search, interviews from CNN, clips from YouTube, books from Amazon and what people are saying on Friendfeed.

All this is presented on one pretty big, well formatted page. It will also bring up related items (so in this example, Tina Fey and ’30 Rock’ and his previous films). It’s great for searching for details on musicians as well, as it’ll bring in last.fm details and also for quickly getting up to date on politicians of interest (where it brings in polling data and Salon.com articles).

So is this a Google killer like some people (foolishly) claimed that cuil was? Nah. But it’s a great alternative for those who don’t like to visit 10 sites to quickly get a good picture of a person or subject.

Give Kosmix a try