Google Answers – Discontinued

I just learned from Dan at Jenkins (and then from Search Engine Watch) that Google Answers is being discontinued.

Google Answers lets you post a question that you want answered by any one of Google’s 500 screened researchers. You specify a price that you are willing to pay for the information, starting at $2.50. Once your question is answered it is added to the database so that others can browse or search it for free. You can also rate the response.

The service never took off. People just don’t want to pay for information. (Which is why membership libraries such as Jenkins have to beg for members.)

LibWorm Announced

Yesterday, while I was working on my final projects, news of LibWorm spread throughout the biblioblogosphere. LibWorm is a “Librarianship RSS and Current Awareness Search” by MedWorm's Frankie Dolan and David Rothman.

LibWorm let’s you search for library news across over 1000 RSS feed (including blogs, journal tables of contents and more). I need to poke more before I give my official opinion – but the one thing missing is a way to see what feeds are included. If I find a journal RSS I want to share with others, I want to have an easy way to find out if it’s included and I did a few searches and browsed a bit, it was easy to find news (which is the point) but not the sources for the news (not the point – but a handy addition so that I don’t waste people’s time with suggestions).

Read more from David himself or from LibWorm’s About page.

Google is everywhere

Do you remember 5 or 6 years back when tv commercials would tell you the AOL keyword at the end of the ad? Maybe it wasn’t that long ago – I can’t remember. Well I am watching Scrubs (awesome show) and a commercial for Pontiac just came one and at the end they said “Google Pontiac to discover more” – but that’s not all! They actually took their car off of the screen you show you the Google search page where they were typing in the word “pontiac” – Yikes!!

It’s like Google has replaces AOL as the household internet name. I know most of us already knew this – but it’s just weird to see it seeping into the media. I had gotten so used to tuning out the AOL keyword parts of ads – and now it’s something new.

Okay Girls This Is For You!

And guys who love to shop :)

I just read on Techcrunch about the Likeness search – Like.com – from Riya. The reason I say this is for girls – well – look at the example that Techcrunch uses. You no longer have to scour the web to find that accessory you’ve been dying for – you can now search for it.

When I was looking for my wedding dress, I had seen one on an actor in a TV show that I loved – I spent forever looking for a dress to match the picture I had – that’s going to my “When I was young” story (you know – like your grandparents who says they walked to school barefoot, up hill, in the snow :) )

Anyway, pretty neat toy – I’m off to play.

What’s in your ego feed?

I’m wondering what everyone searches for and watches in their ego search feed. My search (blended by FeedBlendr) reads:

Blogdigger search for nicole engard, Technorati Search for: http://web2learning.net, Yahoo! Search: “nicole engard” or “nicole c. engard” or “nicole c engard”, Technorati Search for: “what i learned today” AND (nicole OR engard), Technorati Search for: nicole engard, BlogPulse Search Results for: nicole engard and Bloglines Search: “Bcite:web2learning.net”.

I’m wondering what other people search for and if I’m missing something important :)

Be careful with the G word

This found on the Official Google Blog:

A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device that identifies a particular company’s products or services. Google is a trademark identifying Google Inc. and our search technology and services. While we’re pleased that so many people think of us when they think of searching the web, let’s face it, we do have a brand to protect, so we’d like to make clear that you should please only use “Google” when you're actually referring to Google Inc. and our services.

via LibrarianInBlack.

KMW2006 – Making Choices in Enterprise Search

Steven Arnold is a kick :) He came into the room and was just exuding friendliness. He asked people their names and where they were from.

Steve started by offering $1 to each person who asked a question after his talk – much better than the tiny candies I got at IL for asking a question :)

I guess you want to know what I learned from Steve – well here we go.

First off, he is no fan of the word findability – he feels that data should be pervasive. He said that people don’t want to search for information – they just want it to be at their finger tips – which I guess is why when people search they only use one or two words in their query. The other problem is that each year search becomes more complex and precision isn’t going anywhere. The challenge to raise precision.

Steve showed us some examples of search engines. He started with Exalead with I wrote about earlier. While Exalead is impressive and offers amazing filtering options – Steve feels it’s too overwhelming for the average searcher – it’s too complicated and too much is going on on the screen. I guess I’m just optimistic in thinking that people would learn to use and when they had they wouldn’t want to use anything without filtering options.

Next, he went over Live.com (Microsoft). He said that if you do a search on Live.com you’ll get you results faster than you will on Google – but the reason is because the content is all cached on the servers – so you’re not searching live up to date info. He mentioned (and I have no experience with this) that if you use the same search technology in SharePoint it will take forever.

Lastly, Google. Apparently Google is working on way to refine their search results. They did some studies and came up with a much simpler interface – one that I don’t like at all – for filtering results. They will be providing 2 pull down menus above the search results list – so if you search for recipe you’ll get a box with cuisine and one with course – this way you can narrow it down to the type of recipe you’re looking for. This contradicts what I heard last week about web design – which is that users don’t like pull downs. So, where is the data in the pull downs coming from? It’s generated based on search patterns found in the Google databases.

The question is, will this help? My answer is “No” – for the reasons I just stated – If I have to scroll through a pull down menu of filtering options – I ain’t gonna do it – and if I’m not going to do it – who’s to say someone who’s unfamiliar with search technologies is going to use it?

Steve did make one last point that I think you’ll all appreciate – he said not to forget about librarians, they go to school to learn how to find info – use them.

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