Archived entries for Search

Introducing sIFR

Mike Davidson, in conjunction with Shaun Inman and Tomas Jogin has released “a scalable, multi line, Flash 6 compatible version of IFR to help you reduce the amount of browser text in your life and free the world from the scourge of Arial.”

This system uses JS, DOM and Flash to provide scalable, typographically-rich headlines and font treatments through dynamic replacement of H1, H2 and DIV tags.

Seems interesting.

I’m historically pretty anti Flash. I believe in HyperText and meaningful, semantic markup. I believe in access to information to all. I believe that pure text is faster, better, and more “Web”. Just being up front about it. (On the other hand, I also believe in Progressive Enhancement, which is consistent with this approach.)

So I’m not yet sure what I think about this technique.

I know I’m more fixated on edge cases than many people, and that my work necessitates a never-wavering focus on speed, performance and efficiency, and that I have strong feelings about the benefits of “built-in” usability. But…

One reason I generally don’t like text as images is because you can’t select or copy-paste the content when it’s locked in an image. Organizations that have their address locked in an image prevent me from Yahoo-mapping their address and therefore lose my business.

My first test was to select the text of this flash headline. Happily, I was successful (though it’s pretty clunky, and much more difficult than normal HTML text).

One of Flash’s historic downsides is that .swf text is more or less unknown to the browser. They seem to have fixed this for mouse-based text selection, but using the keyboard doesn’t seem to work. Modern browsers have started introducing “Find As You Type” functionality, which lets you navigate (and select) the text of a page from your keyboard. This isn’t compatible with sIFR in my testing. Further, the standard “Control-F” on-page search isn’t aware of sIFR text. I, and many people, use Control-Find often. That IFR is for headlines instead of body content is some consolation, but… I’ll lump those together as one strike.

I wonder how well .swf text is indexed by search engines? I don’t have an easy way to test this, but because I can’t select the .swf text via the keyboard, and because test uses of Control-F “find” failed, I’m skeptical.

Interesting technique. Definitely one to keep an eye on.


Gift horse has rotten teeth and bad breath: Watchdogs Slam Google’s New E-Mail Service

While there has been lots and lots of press on Gmail, consumer watchdogs have started attacking it as a creepy invasion of privacy that threatens to set a troubling precedent.

Below is my standard assortment of quotes pulled from the article, but I wanted to start by quoting the last line in the story: “Rosing said there will be an information firewall separating Google’s search engine from Gmail. “We don’t use the data collected on one service,” he said, “to enhance another.”

Can that really be true? For how long? I think they must mean that they don’t use a certain type of information for a certain type of use — but it seems obvious that they must be using the information. Why else? When does an “network integration” breach an “information firewall” ??

On to the array of quotes:

Privacy activists worry Gmail will comb through e-mail more intensively than the filters widely used to weed out potential viruses and spam.

opponents also want Google to revise a policy that entitles the company to retain copies of people’s incoming and outgoing e-mail even after they close their accounts.

“We are not going over to the dark side,” said Wayne Rosing, Google’s vice president of engineering. “Consumers can expect us to treat their e-mail as private and with a great deal of respect. I don’t think we are doing anything unreasonable.”

“We don’t see this as any different than letting a company listen in on your phone conversations and letting the Postal Service open your mail.”

Yahoo! won the round (Or, CNN goes with Yahoo Search)

Yahoo! and privately held Google once again traded blows on Monday, but it appears this time that Yahoo! won the round, thanks in large part to its recently acquired Overture Services unit.,, The Wall Street Journal Online all inked deals with Overture to supply sponsored ads that appear in search results or beside related news stories. went even further, agreeing to use Yahoo!’s Web search technology and replace Google.

Nice work, Yahoo!

Yahoo Keyword Density Analysis Comparison to Google

goRank: Yahoo Keyword Density Analysis Comparison to Google

I’m not sure exactly what to make of this, but it seems like interesting data to some.

Yahoo More Comprehensive and Faster than Google?

Two posts over at Google Blogoscoped, Philipp Lenssen blog, highlight instances when Yahoo is more comprehensive and faster than google.

He says that “Usually no one is faster than the Googlebot”, but “the new word “memecodes” I mentioned here yesterday was picked up by Yahoo. Google doesn’t show any results so far. ”

“Yahoo … indexes a single page more completely – Google stops at around 100k while Yahoo slurps 500″.

In the full posts on his site, he gives more details about how he arrived at these conclusions, and asks “Is it about time Google increases its file limit [?]“.

MetaCarta Gets MetaFunding

MetaCarta Gets MetaFunding

Ever wondered how local search is going to work, really? Or how the government might associate particular documents or databases with specific geographic locations? MetaCarta makes a business of wondering just that, and just got $6.5 million in a series B round, led by Sevin Rosen. This company has clearly stepped into a significant role in “geographic search.” It’s customers include intelligence agencies, the military, and energy companies (Chevron is an investor.) What do they do? From the site: “With MetaCarta Geographic Text Searchâ„¢ (GTS), analysts accelerate their efforts by searching text documents in a geographic context. MetaCarta GTS turns text documents into geographic data layers.  This accelerates decision support and analytic workflow.”…

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