In its current version, Google Accessible Search looks at a number of signals by examining the HTML markup found on a web page. It tends to favor pages that degrade gracefully–that is, pages with few visual distractions, and pages that are likely to render well with images turned off. Google Accessible Search is built on Google Co-op’s technology, which improves search results based on specialized interests.
Google is usually great for helping sort out uses of English, so you can check the difference between a pedaller and a peddler — though that doesn’t stop Guardian journalists getting it wrong, of course. But there are times when the majority of people get things wrong. In today’s Guardian, Patrick Barkham reports that “according to the Oxford English Corpus, a database of a billion words, dozens of traditional phrases are now more commonly misspelled than rendered correctly in written English.”
‘We don’t think it’s reasonable to assume we’re going to gain a lot of share from Google,’ Chief Financial Officer Susan Decker said in an interview. ‘It’s not our goal to be No. 1 in Internet search. We would be very happy to maintain our market share.’
Yahoo’s comments underline the difficulties any Internet company faces in trying to challenge Google’s dominance of the Web search industry. Google has at least double the market share of Yahoo and Microsoft Corp. in Internet search, the largest and most profitable segment of online advertising.
Uttered by Copernic, reported by The Register. Are toys leaving the pram, or does this accurately highlight the beginnings of something deeply ugly?
Google finally put out their Desktop Search application yesterday, and it looks very useful. Anyone who’s ever used Microsoft’s method of indexing to search their own machine, and those of us who have been unfortunate enough to try and develop around it, have long wished for a fast, stable alternative. But the Google solution will not be useful here because:
I abandoned Outlook in favour of Mozilla Mail and then Thunderbird over two years ago, on grounds of stability and platform dependancy;
the Office suite was phased out in favour of OpenOffice, for the same reasons;
I’ve never used the AIM client, and I’ve only had a screenname for that protocol since dropping ICQ for Trillian;
I’ve taken every effort to cripple IE on my machines (you can’t even get out past my firewall with it) because I don’t want to take the risk. Additionally, I need a browser that is cross-platform and stable, and have been very happy with Firefox for a good long time.
I’m sure the Google Desktop will be very useful for a large number of people, and I only hope that its popularity will lead them to develop compatibility with applications other than the market leaders—there’s nothing technically prohibitive involved.
Google’s ability to define words is slightly more useful than at first it seems. This is an ideal thing for Google to be able to do. It’s a long way from being a new trick—if you’re familiar enough with the web to use the Google syntax, you’re familiar enough to search for the meaning of words, even if you have to use Google to do it—but even so it’s useful to bring such tools as close to the user as possible.
The most comprehensive of Google’s sources, it seems, is WordNet, and I’ve been trying to find things it doesn’t know. I thought that principally British expressions may not feature—indeed, at time of writing, a search for what it means to carry coals to Newcastle returns nothing—but a search for the definition of Newcastle comes up trumps.
The reverse-chronological arrangement of weblog posts has frustrated me for years. It’s a format that works for about the first week in the life of a weblog, and after that it becomes more and more of a headache.
One of the most basic principles of information architecture is that the good stuff should float to the top. Of course, what that means in real terms comes down to your definition of “good”. In the world of weblogs (and many, many other varieties of sites), this refers to the most recently added content, hence the reverse-chronological ordering of posts. But is the most recent thing you’ve written necessarily the good stuff?