Magazine article Online

Search Engine Update

Magazine article Online

Search Engine Update

Article excerpt

Ask.com has expanded its Q&A database to more than 300 million question- and- answer pairs. These show up as answers at the top of web results and under the Q&A tab. The sources for these Q&A pairs come from a wide variety of sources including Yahoo! Answers, Answers.com, government sites, Britannica, eHow, and many other sites.

Bing launched as the new name and brand for Microsoft's flagship search engine. Much of the technology from Live Search remains. See my On the Net column (p. 40) for more details. Bing results now include selected Twitter feeds and can be added to Hotmail email messages via the Quick Add feature.

Cull introduced a new Mapline result for certain queries, which displays at the upper right and will show results as push pins on a map. Mouse over one of the pins to see a preview of the results that come from adding that place name to the search. The Mapline uses a Map Quest map, and the pins should be displayed only near locations that have a high number of matches.

Google has launched a major set of limit and display choices with its new "Show options ..." link located above the search results and below the search box. Clicking on "Show Options ..." brings up a left-hand sidebar with four sets of options: type of results, date, record display changes, and alternate views. The type of results option sets defaults to All Results and then gives three alternative limits: Videos, Forums, and Reviews. The default date limit is Any Time with narrower options for Recent Results, Past 24 Hours, Past Week, or Past Year. The Recent Results combines relevance ranking with an unspecified and varying recentness. The third option group adds two display changes: Images from the Page, which displays up to two images from the results page, and More Text, which expands the keyword extract, or snippet, from the traditional two lines to six. The fourth grouping presents three alternate views of the results: Related Searches, the graphical Wonder wheel, and a Timeline. Choosing one option may change the others. For example, choosing Videos brings up a new group of limits for video duration.

Google Blog Search now has RSS feeds available for its search results along with the older email alerts. The Blog Search front page has also added two new sections on the right side: Hot Queries and Recent Posts. The Hot Queries shows popular Blog Search queries, while Recent Posts features new posts from popular blogs.

Google Book Search added several new features for linking, viewing, and searching. The new Link option in the upper righthand corner of a book display gives the HTML code for embedding the book on another webpage and the direct link to the book. Searching within public domain and partial view books has been changed to show more text around the matching search words, along with previous and next buttons for jumping quickly to the next match. Display changes include a thumbnail view, table of contents drop -down menu, and a plain- text version.

Google Image Search followed Yahoo !'s lead and added a Usage Rights limit in its advanced search to find images that can be shared, used, or modified. It goes beyond a Creative Commons limit to include similar images with other licenses such as GNU Free Documentation and public domain images.

Google Labs introduced Fusion Tables, City Tours, Places Directory, and Google Squared. …

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