Tag Archives: search

Twitter Search Made Better

If you’ve ever had to search for something on Twitter, you know how difficult and frustrating it can be. First, the site only lets you search back through a couple weeks of tweets. Worse than that is the fact that you cannot narrow down whose tweets you will see in your results. This often means that you’ll be inundated with spam and other junk you weren’t looking for in the first place. Thankfully, Topsy seems to be getting it right.

Topsy is a simple search engine, powered only by tweets. Topsy doesn’t think the Internet is a collection of documents. They see that people are connected in a web of relationships. When you search for something on Topsy it finds snippets of conversations that match what you’re looking for. They ranks results based on how well they match your search terms, and the influence of the people talking about them.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, you probably should head on over there now. Topsy results are fresh, because they’re based on what you’re talking about right now. However, they can also find out what you were talking about months ago, which is something Twitter itself hasn’t figured out how to do yet.

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China Responds To Google's Threats

China has finally broken its silence regarding Google’s threats to leave the country. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu has indirectly responded to the search giant’s warning that they will stop censoring results in China, and may close down its Google.cn site altogether. Google is blaming recent security attacks as the main culprit for their decision.

Google China

Speaking in Beijing at a ministry meeting, Jiang claimed China believes in an “Open Internet” and that the country welcomes international Internet enterprises to conduct business in China according to the law.

While not mentioning Google by name, its clear this has been a huge story all over the world. There has been no indication so far as to whether the Chinese government has been in talks with Google as of yet, but the search engine is keen to speak with Beijing’s authorities in coming weeks. The company hopes to look at operating an unfiltered search engine within the law in the country, though no changes to filtering have yet been made.

China does encourage the use of online services in both education and business. However, current law means a national firewall will filter all web content. It remains to be seen if Google alone can change how business is done in China, but if one company is big enough to do it, my money is on them.

What Did You Get for the Holidays?

I’m curious to know what you got for Christmas! Did Santa bring you everything you asked him for? Were you happily surprised by anything? What pieces of technology were you ecstatic to open this year, or find in your stocking?

Everyone in our community is abuzz with glee over gifts they received. Some were luckier than others, I’m sure. But all in all, everyone seems to be quite pleased with their holiday goodies! How about you?

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How to Surf

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Most of you know that I am an experienced surfer. I’ve been at it since about 1994, through various platforms and browsers. Yes, I’m an Internet surfer! I’ve never gotten on a physical surfboard, or been on one in the water. However, I did get my own custom surfboard today, courtesy of LeapFish! How cool is this thing?! The folks at leapfish just recently re-launched their site, dedicated to bringing you a single, connected, multi-media experience for both searching and sharing traditional and real-time content.

Of course, since I am talking about surfing, I headed over to LeapFish to do a real-time search to attempt to learn something about it. The first thing I noticed was how amazingly well the results are laid out. Instead of one large and continuous listing of mish-mashed results… everything is broken down into categories right there in front of me. I don’t have to fumble around and click to the “video” tab, or the “shopping” tab. It’s all there.

So I’m seeing news and wiki results first – that’s cool. But I think I want something a bit different. Scrolling down, there are video results next… wait. What the heck is this? Twitter results – in my search engine?! There’s blog results, too!

Yes, you read that right. No, I didn’t typo it or dream it up. LeapFish not only gives you results based on current news stories and dry articles. You’ll also find real-time results based on Twitter and the millions of blogs across the Internet. We already know that those are two of the best, fastest and most reliable ways to get information. Now we can actually find what we need, simply by starting on LeapFish.

There are still tabs across the top of the page, like you are probably used to from other search engines. These tabs can help you narrow down the types of results you’ll see. Do you want only video? Great… they have that. Need some pictures or something from Twitter and Digg? Yep… they have that, as well!


I honestly think you are going to need to try out LeapFish for yourself. Once you do, I think you’re going to want to keep trying it… day after day after day.

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How to Compare Search Results between Bing, Yahoo, and Google

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You, much like the rest of the galaxy, are likely using Google as your search engine. But is Google giving you the best results? How would you know unless you compare the results between search engines? Copying and pasting searches into multiple places and manually checking the results across the board is just not going to happen. Who has the time to do that? We need a way that we can easily and effectively make sure that we are each using the search engine that is right for us and our needs.

There’s a website out there that will help surface the truth for you. You may be convinced that Google is the best, but it may not be. The way to find out is to do a Blind Search.

Type in your search terms, and let Blind Search do the work. Then, compare the results columns, and vote for the one that you felt best delivered the content you were looking for. The columns are randomized with every query. The goal of the site is simple: they want to see what happens when you remove the branding from search engines. How will you perceive the results at that point?

Believe it or not, when I did a Blind Search of my own, the best results came from Yahoo. It just goes to show that things may not always be as they seem. Open your mind – and your search horizons.

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Green Screen Challenge – Microsoft Bing

Every week I try to post a new Green Screen challenge. The community loves participating in these – and some of the resulting videos are just amazing! I have a great time every week watching them all, and trying to choose my favorites.

This past week, I asked you to edit a video where I talked about Microsoft’s Bing. Bing is a search engine that finds and organizes the answers you need so you can make faster, more informed decisions.

In a world of excessive choice and too much information, it’s often difficult to make the right decision. What you need is more than just a search engine; you need a decision engine that provides useful tools to help you get what you want fast, rather than simply presenting a list of Web links. Bing is such a decision engine. It provides an easy way to make more informed choices.

So without further ado… here are my two favorite Bing Green Screen responses!

What are Tags?

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If I were to tag my dogs, I would use words such as: wicket, pixie, dog, puppy, paws, pet, tail, wag, and so on. Tagging things is second nature to me now. But I’ve come to realize that not everyone knows what tags are, or why they should be using them.

To put it simply, tags are keywords that are used to make your post/picture/whatever easier to find. When you look for something via a Google search, you type keywords into the search box. Let’s say you’re looking for the best monitor to buy. You would start by searching something like “monitor review” or similar, right? Those are called keywords! They are what leads you to the results that you see.

If you have a website or blog, you definitely want to use good keywords. How else will people find what you’ve written? Using tags is the easiest way for people to find you! If you write about your dogs and use good dog-related tags, people searching for dogs may just hit on your site!

The reason I started talking about tags is due to an email I received from Olrik! He asked about tags, and how useful they are. He was writing his blog posts through Windows Live Writer. In that program, there’s an option to set up some tags. He’s no professional writer, but he does want to start becoming more professional.

Using the built-in feature allows you to choose from pre-set tags and keywords that will apply to your content. They are live tag selections, which are similar in nature to Google Suggest.

If you’re not already using tags, you should probably start. After all, you are probably not only creating content for yourself, right? You want to be heard – and you shall!

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Does LeapFish Leapfrog Google for Searching?

If you were looking for a Google alternative, here’s one that might strike your fancy – assuming you’ve tried everything else to this point, there’s now LeapFish to look at. The interesting thing is: with LeapFish, you’ll still be using Google (and then some).

This sponsored review was requested by LeapFish, courtesy of IZEA. In the spirit of transparency, let me also state that I’ll be using this stipend to help cover the costs of our DDoS attack this past weekend. Timing for this couldn’t be better!

LeapFish is a metasearch service that will give you results from Google, Yahoo News, Yahoo Answers, YouTube, Google and Yahoo Images, Amazon, eBay, and Google’s Blog Search. At the same time? No, but these sections all just a click away (with no page reloads). You only need to enter your search term once.

Oh, yeah… and it’s fully functional without a Search button. 🙂

From a single Web page, I haven’t seen an easier way to pass a single query to these top search indexes. With the minimum amount of typing, you can get the maximum amount of results. Heck, you’ll wonder why Google doesn’t do this now.

It’s incredibly convenient to use Google – but when you want to pass that same search to other sites, it requires additional thinking (and typing). The first few Google Blogs results are listed at the bottom of certain search types, too. As a bonus, if you hover over a thumbnail on the YouTube searches, the video will start playing inline – and image thumbnails can be enlarged through a similar action.

They have this text in their search form: “It’s ok, you’re not cheating on Google…” I suppose that’s correct. Oh, just try LeapFish when nobody’s looking. They’ve got their own blog, too.

Windows 7 Search Connectors: Twitter, YouTube, Amazon, eBay…

Thanks to the power of RSS, and the flexibility of OpenSearch, Microsoft has extended the search experience within the Windows 7 Explorer shell.

I’ve been an advocate of RSS search for years (that’s what lead me to develop TagJag.com, which remains quite functional to this day). With TagJag, one can generate instant feed searches for Amazon, eBay, etc.

A few of us have created “Search Connectors” which bring the same functionality directly to your Windows 7 desktop. There’s nothing for you to edit – just download this collection of Search Connectors, then double-click the OSDX files included in the ZIP file, which currently include searches for:

  • Amazon’s Full Catalog
  • eBay Auctions
  • PriceGrabber
  • Coupons and Discounts
  • Online Shopping
  • My YouTube Videos
  • My Blog
  • The Geeks Social Network
  • Lockergnome

These OSDX files are worthless in any other operating system, mind you. I do wish that Apple would “steal” this idea for the next iteration of Spotlight. We almost had something like it in Sherlock (which Apple “stole” from Watson). If you have other ideas for OpenSearches / Federated Searches / RSS Search feeds to put into this download, I’ll be more than happy to keep the bundle updated as the definitive collection of Search Connectors.

Download ’em and try ’em for yourself.

Which Do You Use More: Mouse or Keyboard?

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Which input device do you rely on more – the keyboard or the mouse? Are you someone who uses them equally? I still use a keyboard more than my mouse. I love keyboard shortcuts. They increase my productivity by quite a lot. There’s a really cool website I found that doesn’t require me to use a mouse ever. Simply type in the search query, and the results fill themselves in automatically. You can use your keyboard arrow keys to navigate through the results, as well. keyboardr allows you to search without ever using your mouse.

keyboardr is a homepage. It speeds up your Internet experience. And if you like, it helps you keep your hands on the keyboard.

In the first place, keyboardr is a meta-search. You get Google, Wikipedia, and Youtube search results all together in one easy place. The instant search and the keyboard navigation are replacing the feeling of “searching” with the feeling of “launching”.

keyboardr will utilize many more Web services. Apart from usual web search services like Google, we are planning to support Friendfeed, De.li.ci.ous, Twitter, Flickr, Google Docs and many more. And in the final stage, we will have an extension system, open for any developer, to integrate any web service into our interface. So keyboardr will be a central station for you to get all your common Internet tasks done much faster.

This is nice and clean, which I love. It’s very simple to use, of course. And the developer is right – it’s much faster. Why not try it out today? You might end up making it your homepage, as well.

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