Archived entries for Search

Yahoo! Instant Search (Instant Answer?)

Wow, this is slick. Before you’re even done typing, your answer is there in front of you. Don’t bother hitting “Search” or reaching for your mouse. No page refresh, just your answer, instantly.

(Plus, it’s a nice use of AJAX to improve the user experience.)

Instantly find the weather
Instantly check scores
Instantly check stocks
Instantly map an address
Instantly eat
Instantly convert

It works for a bunch of other “shortcuts” too, and I’m sure the list is ever-growing. Let me know if you have a good idea for a new one.

What do you think about this feature? Seems like a vastly more delightful user experience to me.

(Once again, Charlene Li has the scoop.)

Local Is Simply You – best description yet of Web 2.0 and Glocalization

This is excellent. Over the last 36 hours, I’ve been chewing on these intersections, not quite seeing how they’re going to end up fitting together. Then along came this new essay by Danah Boyd, “Why Web2.0 Matters: Preparing for Glocalization“, and I’m totally there.

Well, not totally — as she says, it’s “bloody tricky” — but she did give me more than one epiphany moment and the motivation to dig deeper. As I read it, I also started to see answers to questions like these:

  • Why does Friendster (nearly all social networking sites) not hold interest?
  • Why is Google (inbound-link-based search) broken?
  • Why don’t I like some of my friends restaurant recommendations?
  • Why do I care what some blogger’s lat/long is?
  • Is it OK that I have 20 different tag maps tag clouds?

Still with me? Cool, go check it read it. I’m quoting several sections below (taking notes as I read basically), but her piece is lengthy and broad in scope, and worth reading in full.

(emphasis mine):

During the boom, there was a rush to get everything and everyone online. It was about creating a global village. Yet, packing everyone into the town square is utter chaos. People have different needs, different goals.

A global village assumes heterogeneous context and a hierarchical search assumes universals. Both are poor approximations of people’s practices. We keep creating technological solutions to improve this situation. Reputation systems, folksonomy, recommendations. But these are all partial derivatives, not the equation itself. This is not to dismiss them though because they are important; they allow us to build on the variables and approximate the path of the equation with greater accuracy. But what is the equation we’re trying to solve?

But on a personal level, no one actually wants to live in a global village. You can’t actually be emotionally connected to everyone in the world. While the global village provides innumerable resources and the possibility to connect to anyone, people narrow their attention to only focus on the things that matter. What matters is conceptually “local.”

In business, the local part of glocalization mostly refers to geography. Yet, the critical “local” in digital glocalization concerns culture and social networks. You care about the people that are like you and the cultural elements that resonate with you. In the most extreme sense, the local is simply you alone.

When the web started, the hype was that geography would no longer matter. Of course, we know that now to be utterly false. But the digital architecture did alter the network structure of society, allowing interest-driven bonds to complement geographically-manifested ones. Web1.0 created the infrastructure for glocalized networks.

Yet, the responsibility of big Web2.0 companies is to provide flexible glue to all of this innovation, to provide the information infrastructure that will permit glocalization, to allow for openness.

Those are just a few pull quotes. I know I missed numerous great one. If you read it, feel free to quote your favorite sections in my comments, as I’d love to hear what you got from it too.

OK, off to bed.

Thanks,
Nate

Update:

(I didn’t know it until I went back through this post to add links that Danah is a researcher at Yahoo! Research Berkeley.)

Tonight’s a big night for news!

C|Net is reporting New Yahoo Mail beta unveiled. I’m so excited to see this.

Yahoo was set to unveil on Wednesday a limited public beta of its new Yahoo Mail service, featuring a new desktop e-mail application-type interface and faster response time.

I’ll wait to say more, but I’m excited is an understatement.

Update: Charlene Li’s blog has the most thorough review I’ve seen so far, including several screenshots.

Meanwhile, I’ve been hearing a bunch about Memeorandum. On the way home yesterday, I listened to [yet another] great ITConversations podcast. This one was a recent interview of Microsoft’s Robert Scoble by Rob Greenlee. The most interesting part was about search, and specifically ways to search the social web and the live web. Ways to make sense of all this new user generated content, and the relationships between it all. He mentioned Memeorandum, then still in private beta. I saw it only in three or four other places when I got home, even before…

…I noticed that he’d just blogged it’s launch. From Scoble:

OK, so, it looks like a lame boring blog site, right? Look again. It’s a news page for blogs. It tells you what bloggers find important. Right now. . . . Well, remember that I read 1,389 RSS feeds? Well, it takes a weirdo like me hours to go through all of those and finding trends in that is pretty difficult.

What is important to the bloggers? You won’t know unless you read all those blogs and keep track mentally of when various bloggers link to something or talk about it. Memeorandum chews through thousands of blogs in minutes and tells you what’s important. It does this every few minutes. It is dramatically faster than I could ever be. It’s all machine based. No humans involved.

And finally, John Battelle gets the scoup tonight on the new Google Blogsearch tool. (It’s 3 hours after his reported press embargo, and the url is still 404-ing. Man, I feel for the engineers over there – they must be scrambling right now.)

Update: it’s live now: http://blogsearch.google.com/

It’s fun these days. Multiple cool products launching every day. Change all around. A renewed focus. Stimulating competition. Integration. Powerful tools. New mediums and models. Collaboration. And it’s all about users.

Three Weeks of W3C

Below are pointers to about a dozen activites coming out of the World Wide Web Consortium over the last three weeks. You can follow along on their homepage or with their feed. Standards-based design and development can be about more than using existing standards; in the best cases, it’s about helping to create the standards in the first place! By being aware of the work underway at the W3C, you can have a good sense of where the industry and technologies are going, even if you don’t get your hands dirty in any of the working groups.

Three Weeks Worth

Working Draft: SVG’s XML Binding Language (sXBL)

2005-04-06: The Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Working Group and the CSS Working Group have released a third Working Draft of SVG’s XML Binding Language (sXBL). The sXBL language defines the presentation and interactive behavior of elements outside the SVG namespace. The XBL task force welcomes comments and seeks feedback on three issues outlined in the status section. Visit the SVG and CSS home pages. (News archive)

Last Call: XQuery, XPath and XSLT

2005-04-04: The XML Query Working Group and the XSL Working Group released twelve Working Drafts for the XQuery, XPath and XSLT languages. Seven are in last call through 13 May. Important for databases, search engines and object repositories, XML Query can perform searches, queries and joins over collections of documents. XSLT transforms documents into different markup or formats. Both XQuery and XSLT 2 use XPath expressions and operate on XPath Data Model instances. Visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: Compound Document Use Cases and Requirements

2005-04-04: The Compound Document Formats Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of Compound Document by Reference Use Cases and Requirements Version 1.0. A compound document combines multiple formats, such as XHTML, SVG, XForms, MathML and SMIL. This draft introduces compounding by a reference like img, object, link, src and XLink. Compounding by inclusion is planned for a later phase. Visit the Compound Document home page. (News archive)

Last Call: Web Services Addressing

2005-03-31: The Web Services Addressing Working Group has released two Last Call Working Drafts. Web Services Addressing – Core enables messaging systems to support transmission through networks that include processing nodes such as endpoint managers, firewalls, and gateways. SOAP Binding defines the core properties’ association to SOAP messages. Visit the Web services home page. (News archive)

XML Binary Characterization Notes Published

2005-03-31: The XML Binary Characterization Working Group has released its evaluation, recommending that W3C produce a standard for binary interchange of XML. Published today as a Working Group Note, XML Binary Characterization is supported by use cases, properties and measurement methodologies. Optimized serialization can improve the generation, parsing, transmission and storage of XML-based data. Visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Upcoming W3C Talks

2005-03-31: Browse W3C presentations and events also available as an RSS channel. (News archive)

Last Call: XML Schema Component Designators

2005-03-29: The XML Schema Working Group has released a Last Call Working Draft of XML Schema: Component Designators. Comments are welcome through 26 April. The document defines a scheme for identifying the XML Schema components specified by the XML Schema Recommendation Part 1 and Part 2. Visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: RDF/Topic Maps Interoperability

2005-03-29: The Semantic Web Best Practices and Deployment Working Group has released the First Public Working Draft of A Survey of RDF/Topic Maps Interoperability Proposals. The document is a starting point for establishing standard guidelines for combined usage of the W3C RDF/OWL family and the ISO family of Topic Maps standards. The group expects to publish Survey and Guidelines Working Group Notes based on this draft. Visit the Semantic Web home page. (News archive)

RDF Data Access Use Cases and Requirements Updated

2005-03-25: The RDF Data Access Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of RDF Data Access Use Cases and Requirements. The draft suggests how an RDF query language and data access protocol could be used in the construction of novel, useful Semantic Web applications in areas like Web publishing, personal information management, transportation and tourism. The group invites feedback on which features are required for a first version of SPARQL and which should be postponed in order to expedite deployment of others. Visit the Semantic Web home page. (News archive)

C

all for Participation: W3C Workshop on XML Schema 1.0 User Experiences

2005-03-23: Position papers are due 20 May for the W3C Workshop on XML Schema 1.0 User Experiences to be held 21-22 June in Redwood Shores, California, USA. Schema authors and users, developers and vendors of schema-aware code generators, middleware, validators, and the W3C XML Schema Working Group will gather to discuss user experience with XML Schema 1.0. The workshop goal is to arrive at plan of action for XML Schema 1.0 interoperability, errata and clarification. Read about W3C workshops and visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Last Call: Timed Text Distribution Profile

2005-03-21: The Timed Text (TT) Working Group has released a Last Call Working Draft of the Timed Text (TT) Authoring Format 1.0 Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP). The format enables authors and authoring systems to interchange style, layout and timing associated with text. DFXP helps to transform and distribute subtitles and captions to legacy systems. Comments are welcome through 11 April. Visit the Synchronized Multimedia home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: Compound Document Use Cases and Requirements

2005-03-15: The Compound Document Formats Working Group has released the First Public Working Draft of Compound Document by Reference Use Cases and Requirements Version 1.0. A compound document combines multiple formats, such as XHTML, SVG, XForms, MathML and SMIL. This draft introduces compounding by a reference like img, object, link, src and XLink. Compounding by inclusion is planned for a later phase. Visit the Compound Document home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: Timed Text Distribution Profile

2005-03-14: The Timed Text (TT) Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of the Timed Text (TT) Authoring Format 1.0 Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP). The format enables authors and authoring systems to interchange style, layout and timing associated with text. DFXP helps to transform and distribute subtitles and captions to legacy systems. Visit the Synchronized Multimedia home page. (News archive)

Call for Participation: W3C Workshop on Frameworks for Semantics in Web Services

2005-02-10: Position papers are due 22 April for the W3C Workshop on Frameworks for Semantics in Web Services to be held 9-10 June in Innsbruck, Austria. Participants will discuss possible future W3C work on a comprehensive and expressive framework for describing all aspects of Web services. The workshop’s goal is to envision more powerful tools and fuller automation using Semantic Web technologies such as RDF and OWL. Read about W3C workshops and visit the Web services home page. (News archive)

More Mac, More Firefox

John Battelle points to the updated Yahoo! toolbar and let’s out a big “Yeeeehaw!” because it supports Mac users via Firefox.

Those involved in promoting standards-based developments are happy with each of these wins that directly benefit users. Way to go Yahoo! Toolbar.

Yahoo isn’t just back in the game – it’s winning.

Ben Hammersley writes an interesting piece in the Guardian today titled Second Sight. It’s well worth reading, and looks at recent developments from Yahoo and Google, and reports that “Google, it seems, has jumped the shark.” His conclusion is that it’s “Three-nil to Yahoo.” Give it a read, I think you’ll be impressed, and probably find out some things about each company that go against the prevailing PR winds.

Yahoo is the new Google. Google is the new Yahoo. Up is down, and black is white. This spring has been very strange. Google, it seems, has jumped the shark. It has been overtaken, left standing, and not by some new startup of ultra smart MIT alumni or by the gazillions in the Microsoft development budget, but by the deeply unhip and previously discounted Yahoo.

The article provides a good overview of recent Yahoo activity, including the Yahoo Search API, research.yahoo.com (and next.yahoo.com), live traffic conditions on Yahoo! Maps, a gig of storage on Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! 360, Flickr, and even the quietly released Creative Commons search on Yahoo!: http://search.yahoo.com/cc

Update: Danny Sullivan, Editor of the premier search industry publication, released their 5th Annual Search Engine Watch Awards today, and for the first time Yahoo! Search takes first place, bumping Google to second.

Remember what I said about prevailing winds, and hold onto your hat.



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