MillionShort – the search engine that ignores popular sites

This is maybe not everybody’s cup of tea, but when you do a lot of searching, and the same websites keep on appearing, this might be a welcome change.

It is still in its experimental phase, but has received rave reviews from industry leaders.  What makes it unique, is the fact that it returns no Facebook, Google+ or other account results.  What is does, is search pages buried deep in the web and returns long-tail content not found through traditional search engines.

Go try it out yourself at http://www.millionshort.com

 

 

 

Boolean logic

This short tutorial is intended to teach you about the Boolean Logic, a system for searching most databases.  Click here to watch the tutorial

Beulah Muller‘s insight:

The best way to eliminate unwanted results.  The famous three words, AND, OR, NOT will make search so much easier.

Definitely well worth the watch

Use these secret NSA Google search tips to become your own spy agency (Wired UK)

See on Scoop.itGIBSIccURATION

The National Security Agency has produced a book to help its spies uncover intelligence hiding on the web

KISs @GIBS‘s insight:

Refer to the following “Untangling the Web: A guide to Internet research” @ wired.co.uk 

Say you’re a cyberspy for the NSA and you want sensitive inside information on companies in South Africa. What do you do?

Search for confidential Excel spreadsheets the company inadvertently posted online by typing “filetype:xls site:za confidential” into Google, the book notes.”

See on www.wired.co.uk

Top search tips

Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services, has become synonomous with finding better ways to access and manage information.  She recently spoke at the South African Online User Group Conference and provided significant insights into how personalization can affect your search results.

On of her passions is to compile a list of top search tips using the contributions of her workshop participants.  Below the lastest list.

  1. It isn’t your fault!
    Results can vary from one minute to the next. You run your search a second time in Google and you get a completely different set of results. Don’t worry – it isn’t you. Google results are rarely consistent and can change from one moment to the next.
  2. Try another search engine.
    If you have had enough of Google try DuckDuckGo (http://duckduckgo.com/) as an alternative. DDG does not track, filter or personalise and several people found some of the results to be better than Google’s. Also worth trying are Bing (http://www.bing.com/), Blekko (http://www.blekko.com/) and Yandex (http://www.yandex.com/).
  3. Be aware of personalisation
    Get to know how the search engines personalise results and the impact this can have on your search. Google and Bing monitor what you search for, the links you click on and use this to personalise your results and sponsored links/ads accordingly. This information is stored in cookies on the computer you used for the search or as part of your Google or Bing account. They also try and work out your location from your IP address so that they can deliver local content (this sometimes goes horribly wrong!). When signed in to your Google or Bing account both search engines now include content from your social network contacts.
  4. Get to know Google
    Get to know the advanced search features of Google both on the advanced search screen and in the menus on the left hand side of your results page.
  5. Use social media search tools for more up to date information. For example http://www.topsy.com/, http://www.socialmention.com/ and http://www.whostalkin.com.
  6. Google Custom Search Engine http://www.google.com/cse/.
    Create your own Google search engine that searches only the sites that you have specified. Great if you are always searching the same sites day after day, or want to provide your users with a search tool covering a specific topic.
  7. Use site or domain search for large sites that are impossible to navigate or have diabolical search options. For example: site:europa.eu chocolate labelling requirements .
  8. Repeat the most important term or terms in your search one or more times. For example ‘beer market share France Belgium Czech’ and ‘beer market share France Belgium Czech Czech Czech’ give different results.
  9. Enter your search terms in a different order . The search engines will rank and display your results differently and may even run a completely different search.
  10. Remember that you are searching an out of date index of the web when you are using search engines such as Google et Bing.
  11. Creative Commons and public domain images
    If you are looking for an image for a presentation or promotional literature, search for images that have the appropriate Creative Commons (CC) license. There are several licenses with varying degrees of restrictions. Details are on the Creative Commons web site at http://www.creative.commons.org/. You can search Flickr photos that have a specific creative commons license at http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/ or use Compfight (http://www.compfight.com/). Geograph (http://www.geograph.org.uk/) is a useful site if you are looking for landmarks, historic buildings or geographical features. It “aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland”. All photos have a Creative Commons attribution share alike license.
  12. If your search involves numbers, distances, weights, prices or measurements of any sort use the numeric range search in Google. For example: toblerone 1..5 kg to find online shops selling giant bars of toblerone.
  13. Google Trends http://www.google.com/trends
    Enter up to five topics and see how often they’ve been searched in Google over time and in different geographic regions. This is a way of identifying how people are searching on a subject. The Websites option: enables you to enter a web site URL and see what other sites were visited. This can be useful if you are not sure about the main sites that cover a subject and want to expand your search from the one you have already found. For example enter moveto.co.uk and a list including other UK online estate agent sites appears. 
  14. For a different perspective, search for pages and sites in other languages use Google’s Translated foreign pages option in the results page side bar.
  15. TinEye Labs http://labs.tineye.com/
    Multicolr Search Lab (http://labs.tineye.com/multicolr/) searches 10 million Creative commons Flickr images by colour. You can specify more than one colour and click on a colour several times to increase its prominence within the image. You can easily click through to the original Flickr image to double check the license. TinEye Reverse Image Search (http://www.tineye.com/) lets you type in the URL of an image or upload one of your own and TinEye will find similar images, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or if there is a higher resolution version.

 A .pdf version of this is available from Karen’s site

Alternative search engines that respect your privacy

I don’t know if you are aware of how your activities on the web have a directly impact on your results when searching search engines such as Google.

Search engines have changed their algorithms to track your every move.  Everytime you click like on FB, pin an image to Pinterest, tweet a tweet, add to Google+, check-in on FourSquare etc etc, search engines are working away building a profile on you.  So, when you do a search, search engines will retrieve information matching your profile the closest. 

What to do?  Well, you can logout of all your social media accounts, delete any cookies and delete your search history before starting a search OR you can use an alternative search engine not focussed on personalization.

Some options:

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a popular search engine for the privacy-conscious.  It does not log any personal information, use cookies, and  discards user agents and IP addresses from its servers.

 Startpage 

Only uses Google to run searches.

Ixquick

It is the main search engine for the company running StartPage.  Uses a variety of sources, not just Google,  to pull information from.

Blekko

Blekko does log personal information, but deletes it within 48 hours.

A nice feature from Blekko, you can disable ads entirely.

Ask.com – AskEraser

AskEraser is an additional feature of Ask.com.  When enabled, Ask.com sets a single cookie in your browser and deletes all other Ask.com cookies. 

Happy surfing!

10 Amazing uses for Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha is one of those search engines (sorry, knowledge engines) out there, you’ve heard about, but could never really understand.   It is because, it introduces a new way to get knowledge and answers – not searching the web – but rather by doing dynamic computations based on vast collections of built-in data, algorithms and methods.

Developing Wolfram Alpha to what it is today, took founder Stephen Wolfram nearly 30 years to develop.  The components of the engine islLinguistic analysis, curated data (10+ trillion pieces of data), dynamic computation (50,000+ types of algorithms and equations and computed presentations.

What is it this knowledge engine can do?

Comparisons

Enter two terms with a vs in between them and you’ll get a comparison. For example, you could compare websites to see the differences in traffic between them.

You can compare cities, books, foods and almost anything else you can think of.

Nutrition Information

Enter a type of food and Wolfram Alpha will provide you with its nutrition information. You don’t have to stop at one — enter multiple types of food and Wolfram Alpha will compare them for you.

Complicated Math

Wolfram Alpha is ideal for the sort of math that Google’s calculator and most other calculator websites will choke on. It even provides graphs.

Where Am I?

Ask where you are and Wolfram will use your IP address to track you down. You can also enter an IP address into the box and Wolfram will track that IP address down and tell you where it is.

Days Until Something

Want to know how many days are left until your birthday, favorite holiday or any other date? Just ask for the days until a certain date.

Generate a Password

Wolfram Alpha can come up with a random password and estimate how long it will take to crack. You can even tweak the rules used to generate the password.

Am I Drunk?

Have you been drinking? Wolfram Alpha can estimate whether you can legally drive home. Ask it if you’re drunk and you’ll get a form asking for more information.

Provide the information and Wolfram will estimate whether you should drive home, call a cab or wait. You can even consult the little graph to see when you’ll be within the legal blood-alcohol limit.

How Common is Your Name?

Enter a name and you can see how common it is, complete with a graph showing you how popular the name has been over time. Enter multiple names and Wolfram will compare how common they are.

Body Mass Index

Type body mass index and Wolfram will present you with another form. After you provide your weight and height, Wolfram Alpha will calculate your BMI and tell you whether you’re within the normal range.

Word Trivia

Want to find words that begin with a certain letter, end with a certain combination of letters — or both? Just ask Wolfram Alpha in plain English.

This is just scratching the surface of what Wolfram Alpha can do. Plug in anything you’re curious about and see what happens at http://www.wolframalpha.com/

Let’s be Google-prepared!

Hello Google !  Again with the learning to lead option . . . 

Google Crisis Response: a small team tackling big problems

Posted: 04 Apr 2011 01:38 PM PDT
 

This is the latest post in our series profiling entrepreneurial Googlers working on products across the company and around the world. Speed in execution is important for any Google product team, but as we learned after the recent earthquakes in both Japan and New Zealand, it’s even more critical in crisis response. This post is an inside look at the efforts of our year-old Crisis Response team, and what they’re doing to make preparedness tools available to anyone at the click of a button. – Ed.

The Google Crisis Response Team came together in 2010 after a few engineers and I realized that we needed a scalable way to make disaster-related information immediately available and useful in a crisis. Until a little over a year ago, we responded to crises with scattered 20 percent time projects, but after the Haiti earthquake in January 2010 we saw the opportunity to create a full-time team that would make critical information more accessible during disaster situations.

For us to help during a crisis, it’s vital to get things done really quickly, and we’ve been able to do that as a small team within Google. Working from a standard already developed by one of the Google engineers, Person Finder was built and launched in 72 hours after the Haitian earthquake, and it launched within three hours after the New Zealand earthquake in February. Unfortunately, there have been an unusually high number of disasters over the last year, forcing us to learn and get even faster.

Within minutes of hearing about the 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan in March, Googlers around the world—from engineers to webmasters to product managers—immediately started organizing a Google Crisis Response resource page with disaster-related information such as maps and satellite imagery, Person Finder and news updates and citizen videos on YouTube. In Japan, Person Finder went live within an hour of the earthquake. More than 600,000 contact entries have been made since then—more than all other disasters combined—and there have been several reports of people finding their loved ones safe. I was inspired by my colleagues’ ability to launch tools about an hour after the earthquake struck; the Tokyo office, in particular, has really been helping to drive the rapid response and provided real-time information to teams across the globe, even while aftershocks were rocking the city and buildings were still swaying. 

But we’re eager to find other ways of helping. In addition to these efforts focused on specific situations, we’ve worked hard this past year to more broadly organize the information most helpful during crisis situations and make it possible for people to use that data in near real-time. If people are asking for information, then in our view, it’s already too late. In these situations, it’s incredibly important that things happen fast.

So in addition to building products, we collaborate with many incredible organizations to make technology useful for responding to a crisis. For example, Random Hacks of Kindness is a collaboration between technology companies and government organizations which encourages teams around the world to create software solutions to problems that arise during a crisis. Recent “RHoKstars” have created all sorts of useful tools—from HeightCatcher, which helps identify malnourishment of children in relief camps by accurately assessing height and weight through a mobile device, to new features for Person Finder, such as email notifications, automatic translation and phonetic name matching—which have all been extremely useful in Japan. These projects present a real opportunity to improve lives by employing crowd-sourcing technology and real-time data during a crisis.

The sheer number of major natural disasters in 2010 and early 2011 demonstrates just how important it is for those involved in relief efforts to have real-time access to information no matter where they are. The Google Crisis Response team has worked over the past year to develop open source initiatives that encourage collaboration with larger crisis response efforts, including relief organizations, NGOs and individual volunteers. And although we’re a small team and still relatively new to the crisis response ecosystem, we hope the resources and support we receive from Google and our community partners around the world will make a difference in preparedness efforts.