Archived entries for Search

Yahoo! Opens Search and Supports Developers

Marshall over at Read Write Web has a great review up posted covering the exciting news that Yahoo! has opened up our search index and engine. I’ll point you to his coverage, and pull out my favorite gems.

Update: Vik Singh had the idea for BOSS, and posted Yahoo! Boss – An Insider’s View. It’s money line is this, and describes the big idea succinctly: “I think users should be confident that if they searched in a search box on any page in the whole wide web that they’ll get results that are just as good as Yahoo/Google and only better.”

First, here’s what happened tonight:

Yahoo! Search BOSS

Yahoo! is taking a bold step tonight: opening up its index and search engine to any outside developers who want to incorporate Yahoo! Search’s content and functionality into search engines on their own sites. The company that sees just over 20% of the searches performed each day believes that the new program, called BOSS (Build Your Own Search Service), could create a cadre of small search engines that in aggregate will outstrip their own market share and leave Google with less than 50% of the search market.

Might this impact things? He thinks so:

In both cases, Yahoo! BOSS is intended to level the playing field and blow the Big 3 wide open. We agree that it’s very exciting to imagine thousands of new Yahoo! powered niche search engines proliferating. Could Yahoo! plus the respective strengths and communities of all these new players challenge Google? We think they could.

And that part that was music to my ears (emphasis mine):

It is clear, though, that BOSS falls well within the companies overall technical strategy of openness. When it comes to web standards, openness and support for the ecosystem of innovation – there may be no other major vendor online that is as strong as Yahoo! is today. These are times of openness, where some believe that no single vendor’s technology and genius alone can match the creativity of an empowered open market of developers. Yahoo! is positioning itself as leaders of this movement.

Marshall, thanks for the great writeup. Yahoo!, thanks for making me proud.

Twitter and Summize. No worries.

There are rumors that Summize has been acquired by Twitter. It has people chattering.

Some worry that the acquisition will hurt the effort to make Twitter scale. It can’t and won’t.

I believe Twitter’s engineering team is headed up a mountain (they need to switch architectures at a low level), but that they finally know which mountain. True, it’s a tall mountain not quickly climbed. But they finally know their problems and have people in place. Better days ahead.

Others worry that Twitter’s scaling ills will infect Summize. I don’t think that’s possible because they are distinctly different engineering problems. Summize is “fresh search,” an understood and known problem that Summize apparently designed for from the beginning. Twitter, in contrast, evolved a product into a service that no longer matches their architectural model. It didn’t start out as (and therefore wasn’t built to be) a massive-to-massive (when each massively is unique, personal, exponentially expanding) real-time messaging protocol. I believe architectures exist for that problem space, but unfortunately that’s not how Twitter was initially built.

Put briefly, Twitter’s already on the path to health and Summize is immune from Twitter’s disease, so it should all work out fine.

While they are different systems, they may be complimentary. Jettisoning Twitter’s track and reply functionality to Summize’s infrastructure may offer Twitter engineers the headroom they need to roll updates into Twitter’s codebase with a bit of a cushion.

Video: Information R/evolution

Information R/evolution is a five minute video telling the story of the transformation from a world of categorized information to a world of living information the we all enrich continually. It’s from the same guy (Michael Wesch) and in the same style as "Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us."

When his "Web 2.0," video came out I wrote that

Perhaps the so-called ’social web’ isn’t about connecting people, but about information conservation: If a person chooses to do something — no matter how small — it’s inherently interesting, precious, and valuable.

I still think that’s true, and I find more support in this new video:

Here is "Information R/evolution" by Prof. Michael Wesch:

Hap tip to the information aesthetics blog which is a great source for "data visualization & visual design."

If you use Firefox and Delicious…

…then you definitely want to install this Firefox extension that seamlessly integrates del.icio.us with Firefox’s internal bookmarking system: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/3615/.

Really, it just feels right. It works just how it would if you designed it yourself. Seamless. Flawless. I’ve been bookmarking about 20x more links since I started using this tool. Love it. Install it now.

Notes

  • During the installation process be sure to click “sync” to avoid losing your current Firefox bookmarks and links-bar bookmarklets.
  • Don’t worry, you can still save private bookmarks by clicking “Do Not Share” during the normal bookmarking process.
  • You can still use “keyword search” and navigation keywords, but it’s a bit non-obvious. To create a keyword, save your link, then save it again to see the keywords field show up.

Enjoy!

Curious about Creative Commons?

Are you curious about Creative Commons? Why their licenses are? How they work? Why you should care?

If so, I recommend you head to the Yahoo! Publisher Network blog to read their new post that’s guest-written by Creative Common’s Creative Director Eric Steuer. He answers those questions and points to some resources in a clear and concise article well worth your time.

NYTimes: “Google in China: The Big Disconnect”

Quick pointer: Great, long, interesting article on the the state of the internet in China. Censorship, culture, business, morals.

Discusses the experiences of Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!; Cisco on the hardware/router side; local players like Baidu, Sina and Sohu; several journalists and bloggers active within China; and what it all might mean.

There are multiple eye-opening descriptions of cultural forces at play in China, and how those influence Internet usage in general.

All and all, a helpful and enjoyable primer.



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