AltaVista the oldest search engine is no more!

When I first started using the internet it was mainly to look up email from cousins and relatives abroad. This was back in 1999 and Google was not as famous, Gmail was not even around and it was still 5 years before anything like Facebook happened.

Alta Vista was the first search engine I had probably used and it felt awesome that you could type in just about anything into a text box and get relevant results. So it was a little sad to see Yahoo declare the end of Alta Vista search engine for good. Alta Vista was probably not the oldest search engine but was the oldest as far as popularity was concerned. The search engine shuts down on 8th July.

alta_vista_1999
Alta Vista Search engine back in 1999

Wrong decisions in the past

While Google started catching attention, Alta Vista was still at the height of it’s popularity. Alta Vista had a simple design with focus on search results. The company was bought by Compaq and a series of changes happened. One of them was to make the website more a portal and less a search engine.

This lead to the steady decline of Alta Vista as a search engine and Google became king over time. Alta Vista was then sold to CMGI who was going to float a IPO for Alta Vista. This was in 2000 and the internet bubble burst, finishing off Alta Vista’s chances of becoming a publicly listed company.

Then Alta Vista was bought by Overtures which in turn was acquired by Yahoo. This made Alta Vista a Yahoo product and like many products owned by Yahoo, Alta Vista kept on the decline.

Today along with several other older services, Yahoo announced it would be shut down. An important part of internet’s living history is now a closed chapter.

(via Yahoo Blog)

Why Twitter Has Problems with Google’s New Personalized Search?

Yesterday, I wrote about Google introducing ‘search plus your world’ which is basically a toggle for looking up personalized search results and normal search results. The problem is that, personalized search results only show up Google+ related links at the moment.

Another possible issue with Google’s new tweak to search, is that personalized results show up as default. See the image below which show personalized search results. You can click on the toggle to remove all personalized search results but we know most people will not use the toggle.

google_search_toggle

Twitter’s problem with personalized search results

Twitter seems to be a little nervous about Google search now being partial to Google+. At the moment the only social results showing up on personal results are from Google+. Links to Twitter and Facebook are conspicuously missing from personalized results.

Twitter released an emailed statement shared by AllThingsD, explaining why the new developments are bad for Twitter and the internet in general.

For years, people have relied on Google to deliver the most relevant results anytime they wanted to find something on the Internet. Often, they want to know more about world events and breaking news. Twitter has emerged as a vital source of this real-time information, with more than 100 million users sending 250 million Tweets every day on virtually every topic.

As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result, Twitter accounts and Tweets are often the most relevant results. We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users

This might be a way for Google to force social networks to share data with itself. At the moment all links on Twitter are nofollow, which means a Google bot cannot follow the link on a tweet. Google is right in the sense if they cannot follow a link on a tweet, they cannot vouch for a tweet’s relevance either.

Twitter_nofollow

But then if all links on Facebook or Twitter were dofollow, these services could face a serious issue of spam, where webmasters might exploit these social networks for backlinks.

Even if that happens, I doubt Google will rank a link from social media very highly anyways, as it might affect the quality of its own search results.

I feel Twitter does have a point, but Google can hardly be expected to not leverage their own product. What are your views? Do drop in your comments.

Why Google’s Search Results Are Better Than Bing!

I have sometimes wondered if people choose to use Google instead of Bing, just out of habit. I mean what is the big difference in their results. Google has a lot of options and small changes which make it intuitively great. These changes are usually not seen or understood all that well.

A great feature of Google is when we type in search query with a spelling mistake, it auto-corrects the query and shows relevant results. Bing also does that but according to a tip shared by Vineeth GS, it is not doing as good as Google.

Google_Bing_Search_results

The query entered was ‘jquery sldiers” on both search engines. Both correctly offered to search for “jquery sliders” but the results being show is where the difference between Google and Bing is seen.

Google points to a link about jQuery Slider plugins and tutorials while the first link on Bing points to something completely unrelated.

It seems Google has auto-corrected not just the word, but it also auto-corrected it based on the context of the 2nd word in the query.

Bing does try to pull the occasional stunt of being innovating, especially by introducing features like a movie running in the background of it’s search page. This might be cool but adds nothing to getting the best results. While Google has features which are not that obvious but make the user-experience better even without the user realizing it.

Do drop in your comments.

Related: What do Google and Bing think about each other? [Funny]

The Simplest Way to Search for Print Advertisements – Moat

Every one interesting in marketing to even design, likes to look up print advertisements online. I too find it useful and educational to learn how advertisers give out a powerful message from just a message.

MOAT_Search_ads

The problem with searching for such print advertisements is that it is difficult with Google or other search engines. With Moat, I could search only for advertisements.

Moat search can be used only to search for advertisements online. Many of them are print versions which can be found on the internet.

It may still not have some local brands but it is quite good at searching for popular international brands.

If you are following a couple of brands and their marketing strategies, then it might be a good idea to search with Moat to keep up with the latest ads.

It also can be used just as entertainment, as advertisements always fascinate us.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Moat

[Netspeak] A Search Engine to Improve your Writing!

My first language is not English, it is Marathi. This means I tend to think in a different language and blog in a different one. While writing posts, I feel stuck at times when it comes to articulating something. I like  Netspeak which has billions of phrases and tips on how to use them.

Netspeak_how_to

For example, I typed in “How to ?”. The question mark is then replaced with other common words which are used.  It also shows how commonly used they are on the internet (see image above).

Netspeak also gives example of usage when you enter in a phrase. This is a great way to make sure if the phrase you are using is relevant.

Do try out Netspeak and drop in your comments and views.

Link: Netspeak

Related: Online tool to check if your content is repetitive!

Search Engine Mixed With Social Bookmarking [SearchTeam]

The process of search for the end-user has not really changed over the past decade. Mostly we type in some keywords and get relevant results.

Search_Team_logo

Social search is forcing people to change the way we use search. With SearchTeam, a user can search on certain things, along with a team. I find it a very useful tool, especially if you are a group of students who are researching a topic and need to do it collaboratively. Collaborative search surely decreases repetitive work by a team.

SearchTeam Features

  • I needed to register to use the service. Registration or sign-up can be done with your Linked in or Facebook account. I used my Google Account and that works too.
  • When it came to search, I could create different search projects and save links into folders.

SearchTeam_folders

  • I could invite my friends to join and carry out collaborative search. My friends added to the search project could look up and edit all the links.

SearchTeam_invite_friends

Search Team’s Video Demo

I think this would work a lot better if you are in a study group and researching material together. It could be a great way to start a new research. Do drop in your comments.

Link: SearchTeam

Find Feeds with Search Engine for RSS – ctrlQ

As a blogger, to look up latest news on tech subjects is quite easy. Most times a simple search on Google can get you started. Also tech blogs almost always make it easy for people to subscribe or follow their blog with RSS feeds. But when it comes to certain topics like, lets say World War 2, we might not come across really good blogs all that easily.

CtrlQ is a search engine that looks up RSS feeds which are relevant to the search query.

ctrlq_RSS_Search_Engine

Features of RSS Search Engine

  • The results are usually linked to a URL of a page along with an RSS Link.
  • I could subscribe to the RSS feed directly from the results page.
  • The search engine also supports using Google’s search operators which can be useful to find different RSS feeds in one particular domain.

As a blogger and an information junkie, I am surely going to find ctrlQ very useful. Do try it out and drop in your comments.

Link: ctrlQ

Has Google finally got an alternative with Blekko!

Alright the heading is rather dramatic, but what we’ve got here seems worth it.

Blekko is a new search engine launched on 8th November 2010, which is attempting at renewing your regular search quest. Rich Skrenta, of the Newhoo fame (now Netscape’s Open Directory Project), has been working on this concept search engine since 2007. It works by categorizing the search words using slash tags (‘/’). These tags are used to arrive at more specific results. This reduces the spam and irrelevant results.

How does Blekko search?

Blekko has introduced the ‘vertical search’ concept which allows you to dig deeper into a topic. Google is based on a ‘horizontal search’ concept which makes your search wider than deeper.

When you search for a query on Google, lets say ‘Paris’ you arrive at a page filled with information about the French capital, followed by few suggestions for Paris Hilton, shopping, tourism, etc.

Try the same on Blekko, this time with a slash tag “/people”, this limits your results to people named Paris. Further ‘/movies’ to arrive at results with people named Paris in movies.  This method of slash tags reduces the irrelevant content which may have a similar name but is not what you are looking for.

Features of Blekko:

  • Has predefined slash tags which makes it easier to categorize.
  • Allows you to filter out any search result by marking it as spam with a single click. This ensures that particular site will never turn up in your results again.
  • Allows you to create and save your own slash tags after creating an account.
  • You can filter out adult content using a slash tag called /noporn. Ensures your results are filtered against pornographic or adults only content.
  • Does not distract you with unwanted Ads and sponsored links.

Here is a video that will give you a good idea of how Blekko works!

Well, I am impressed with Blekko though I doubt it will ever replace Google. Have you checked out Blekko? Let me know what you guys think of Blekko through your comments.

Link: Blekko

Secure Google Search: Now use Https While Searching

Facebook is always in news because of user privacy and another concern which keeps users in dilemma is security. We use lots of anti-viruses, Spywares and tips and tricks to keep ourselves secure. But the shortest way to keep secure is by using encrypted connecting like using https connection.

google-beta-search

This is one of the reason I love Google and this is one of the reason people love Google products, because they come up with things which users are enjoying. Google encrypted search is something which is a new beta feature added by Google. Now you can search Google over https connection. You can use https://Google.com instead of http://Google.com now. So now sniffer software like Cain and Abel won’t be of much use.

According to official announcement from Google:

When you search on https://www.google.com, an encrypted connection is created between your browser and Google. This secured channel helps protect your search terms and your search results pages from being intercepted by a third party on your network. The service includes a modified logo to help indicate that you’re searching using SSL and that you may encounter a somewhat different Google search experience, but as always, remember to check the start of the address bar for “https” and your browser lock indicators.

This feature is enabled for Google web search and not for other features like Google Image search, Google blog search and many more.  Just for the info this feature is in Beta phase.

Do let us know your views about this new feature from Google. Are you going to enjoy encrypted search?

5 Useful Search Engines For Students

search_engines

Google has become synonymous with search. But who knows better than a student, how many times Google has failed to produce the desired results. You are looking for a well researched article on High Strength Steel for your project and all you get by ‘googling’ is a Wikipedia link you can’t rely upon. You need an eBook for one of your engineering subjects, and what you get is a link to Google books with some sample chapters. These are just a few of the frustrating experience a student goes through.

So if Google can’t provide you with the relevant result, does that mean there is no such information on the web? Well there is. All you need is the right search engine to retrieve it for you.

Here is a list of a few of such search engines.

1) EBook Engine : This is ultimate resource to find free e-books. The website claims that “If your e-book isn’t here, then it is likely you cannot download for free anywhere.”

ebook-engine

2) Pdf Geni : This is yet another wonderful search engines for ebooks. You can download a firefox search plugin to use it directly from your browser. The search engine is also compatible   with iphone.

pdf geni

3) Wolfram Alpha: It is a “computational knowledge engine which aims to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone.” You’ll find it useful for complex math problems. And what’s more, you can download its mobile application to solve your problems on the go.

wolfram alpha

4) DeepWebTech: If you are looking for some serious articles related to science, business, medical or technology this is the place to go to. It searches for these articles from the “deep web”- the part of the internet that is not crawled by normal search engines like Google. DeepWebTech gets results from the databases of recognized institutes and organizations across the world, something which Google can’t do.

A suggestion- use this if you need in depth information, such as for your engineering project etc.

deep web tech

5) DeepPeep: This is another search engine working on the same lines as deepwebtech. You can get articles from the database of renowned institutes like MIT.

DeepPeep

Armed with these search engines, you will easily get through all your college reports and projects. And will stay a step ahead of your peers.

Is there some specific search engine you use apart from Google ? Share it with us through your comments.