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OPLIN 4Cast #206: Recent search engine developments

Posted in 4cast

magnifying glassInformation retrieval is basic to librarianship, of course, so now and then the OPLIN 4cast highlights recent developments in online information searching. Lately there have been several interesting developments in search engines. One that most people have heard about (and used) is the release of Google Instant about three months ago, but more recently there have been several other announcements.

  • Google Instant, meet Yahoo Instant (Search Engine Land/Danny Sullivan)  “It’s worth clarifying that Yahoo Rich Search Assist is like Google Instant but NOT like the recently launched Google Instant Previews…. To recap:
    • Google Instant: Launched in September, shows previews of results as you type
    • Google Instant Previews: Launched in November, shows previews of pages listed in results, if you deliberately chose to see them
    • Yahoo Rich Search Assist: Now being tested, shows previews of results as you type”
  • to return to old service (New York Times/Verne G. Kopytoff)  “Mr. Leeds said that would continue to offer search on its site, but it would no longer compile an index of the entire Web. Instead, his company will license an index from another company, which he declined to name., founded in 1996 as AskJeeves, was a question-and-answer search engine early on, but the quality of its responses was uneven. After Google showed how profitable providing algorithmic search results could be, followed.”
  • New search engine Blekko invites you to slash the Web (Information Today/Marydee Ojala)  “You can merely enter search terms into Blekko’s search box, but that doesn’t reveal the full power of Blekko as a search engine. Instead, couple your search terms with what Blekko calls ‘slashtags’—predetermined filters that limit your search to a particular set of websites. These can be those created by Blekko or user-generated. They can be topic specific, convey an opinion, eliminate spam, act as sorting mechanisms, or directly search another site.”
  • How to use Blekko to rock at your job (ReadWriteWeb/Marshall Kirkpatrick)  “Blekko, simply put, is a social Custom Search Engine creation service with RSS feeds. It lets users curate and subscribe to mini-search engines that return results only from selected websites, thus increasing the signal to noise ratio and tightly controlling the context of search results. If you’ve used Google Custom Search, really used it, that very powerful tool has been improved upon in Blekko because the latter was built to search large groups of sites and to have those groups shared and edited.”

Blekko fact:
Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta was 15 years old in 1982 when he wrote “Elk Cloner,” a virus that infected Apple II machines and is one of the first known microcomputer viruses, during his Christmas break from high school.