Category Archives: search

Lionel Richie is the Latest Google Search Easter Egg



Over the past several weeks a number Easter eggs have popped up in Google search, such as the “barrel roll”, “let it snow”, and “zerg rush” – if you don’t understand then do a search for each of those phrases, although the first two seem to no longer be active.  The latest one has to do with 80’s singing icon Lionel Richie and a line from one of his most famous hit songs.

When you search for “Lionel Richie” you will get a fun little result to the right side of the general search results.  I won’t spoil it here, you’ll have to find out for yourself, but if you don’t remember his hit songs then it probably won’t mean anything.  You will also need to spell his name exactly.  Google will correct misspellings, but will only show the basic results in that case.

What other fun Easter eggs are out there waiting to be discovered?  If you have one then let us know in the comments below.  As far as I know only Google is throwing these things into search, but if you see one in Bing or Yahoo then let us know that as well.


Google Expands Gmail Search, Is It Too Much?



Google today announced better search integration for Gmail, their popular web-based email service.  The new and improved version will have a more thorough auto-complete feature thanks to better crawling of the messages in your email.  Better search sounds great, but is it really better or is it just a more complete privacy invasion?

While I don’t have any real problem with Google reading my email, they have been doing it all along anyway, this seems like something that privacy advocates, already leery of the Mountain View search company, will latch onto as more evidence against Google.  After all, the better auto-complete comes via better reading of your messages.  Google admits as much in their announcement – “Now when you type something into the Gmail search box, the autocomplete predictions will be tailored to the content in your email, so you can save time and get the information you want faster than ever before.”

The new feature will be rolling out over the next few days.  For now it’s only available for English users, but Google promises support for other languages will be coming over the next several months.  You can read their announcement over at the Gmail blog.  How do you feel about this improved email search?  Do you think it’s just a feature to make the service more useful or are you genuinely worried about your personal data?


Opinion Time: What Do You Think of the New Bing?



Bing has rolled out their brand new interface, at least to U.S. users, and it has met with mixed reviews.  While the new interface feels faster and Microsoft claims gives better results, the social aspects, mainly Facebook results in the right column, are a big change that takes some getting used to and also feel vaguely like a privacy invasion.

Paul Thurrott, writing over at WinSupersite, said he had problems getting the service to work and had to try three different browsers before being successful.  Using Chrome I had no problems with the new Bing on the first try, but your results may vary.

By default, bing.com/new takes you to a search results page for the subject “movies” and you will find recommendation from your Facebook friends appearing to the right of the main search results.

On the whole I found the new interface to be a bit more appealing than the previous version, although if you use Google for the simple, clean look then this probably isn’t for you  So, have you tried out the new Bing?  What do you think?  Let us know in the comments below.


Bing Gains Market Share, Yahoo Loses Again



The latest search market share numbers have been released and two trends have continued – Bing is up and Yahoo is down.  The numbers have been posted by both Compete and ComScore and the trends shown by both are very similar.  Unfortunately for Microsoft, while Bing is gaining share on Yahoo, they are not getting anywhere in their battle against Google, who continue to be the 600 pound gorilla in the room.

Google, while maintaining their strangle-hold, has not seen an increase since late 2011, but that changed between March and April when their market share increased from 65.5% to 65.9% according to Compete rankings.  Meanwhile, ComScore showed a slight Google decrease from 66.4% to 65.5%.

According to Compete Bing increased their share from 18.0% to 18.3% and Yahoo dropped from 15.7% to 15.0%.  ComScore listed the changes as Yahoo being down from 13.7% to 13.5% and Bing with a slight increase from 15.3% to 15.4%.

While the slight increases for Bing sound promising it seems that most of the gain come at the expense of Yahoo and not Google.  That isn’t so good since Bing now powers Yahoo search.  Bing has recently released a series of updates that add better search results, functionality, and interface which could lead to another increase when the May numbers are released.  You can check out both share rankings posted below.

April-Search-Market-Share-Report

comscore april 12


Cultural Difference Image Engine Yields Interesting Results



This is a simple concept – a search engine that returns Google image results for the same search term from countries across the globe. The results are pretty compelling. Be forewarned – you could end up losing a decent amount of time to this site once you get started.

This Cultural Difference Image Engine (the site itself lacks explanatory info, so I’m making that name up) appears to be the work of a seasoned activist and tech veteran Aaron Swartz and accomplished artist Taryn Simon. The effect is to get a glimpse of what Google users in other countries see when they use the search engine. The results range from brow-furrowing to hilarious.

Based on the several dozen search queries I submitted, the clear winners for substance and style here are North Korea (spoiler alert – almost all results have nothing to do with what you searched for) and Syria, followed closely by France and Iran. Heck, they can all be pretty weird.

If you’re having a tough time figuring out where to start, you can get some pretty odd results from some foreign nations when you type in names of food. You’re on your own from there.

Image: Search Button from BigStock Photo


People Search For Facebook?



Experian Hitwise LogoBusiness intelligence company Experian Hitwise recently released the top 10 searched for brands in the UK. Top of the pile came internet giants Facebook, YouTube and eBay with four British brands showing; catalogue store Argos, fashion shop Next, news and media organisation the BBC and tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail.

Here’s the full top 10.

  1. Facebook
  2. YouTube
  3. eBay
  4. Amazon
  5. Argos
  6. BBC
  7. Google
  8. Hotmail
  9. Daily Mail
  10. Next

According to Hitwise, around 2% of all searches in the UK were for “facebook”, and variants such as “facebook login” and “fb” made three of the top 10 searches overall.

While it’s not 100% clear from the press release how the data was gathered and what search engines were involved, the research suggests that lots of people use search engines in preference to the address bar, even when the web page is simply the brand plus .com or .co.uk. You can begin to see why there is so much money to be made from advertising in search: every time one of these people goes to a web site, they’re using Google, Bing or Yahoo to get there.

Frankly, the one that really amazes me is “google” at #7. People are using search to find a search engine? This doesn’t make sense and my only thought is that large numbers of people don’t know that it’s possible to reset their default search engine (or home page). Consequently, they’re using Bing to find Google instead of changing the settings in their web browser. Amazing. If anyone has any alternative thoughts, let me know in the comments.


Why Google Search Will Never Replace a Library



LibraryThe other day, as I was working on editing the most recent novel I’ve drafted, I realized there was just something I could not find on Google.  I’m a big fan of “getting it right” when it comes to how people interact in a novel, and I needed to understand better how men interact with each other, how they talk to each other, what gets said and what goes unsaid.  Not being a man, I am a bit clueless.

So off to Google I went to search.  And there I stopped.  What the heck was I searching for?  What search terms should I put in, how could I word it so I could get the most appropriate results?  I’m a geek and a tech; I spend many of my waking hours in front of a computer screen.  I do much of my research online, and have for years.  I know good information from bad information, and know to check a URL and the “about” pages when looking at any information online to determine if it is legitimate information, or just opinion.

But this search was going to stump me.  There was no really good way to search for this online and get what I needed.  I grabbed the car keys, a pad of paper and pen, and headed the twenty blocks or so off to my local library.  We only have one library in our town, but it’s an exceptionally good one.  They even have a herd of reference librarians sitting at the ready for any question that comes along.  My steps never faltered, and I soon stood in front of the reference desk.  In three sentences, I described what I was looking for, and before I was done the librarian was out of her seat and leading me into the stacks.  She first took me to the relationship section, where I found books on how to talk to men, how men think, and why women and men have a different “language.”  Then she led me to the theatrical section, where she showed me books full of monologues from plays, even suggesting a few directly.  Lastly, we ended up in the “how to write a novel” section.

This search took less time than it took me to drive to the library in the first place.  And I walked out with a half-dozen very promising resources that I’ve spent the last two weeks going over.  I know more than I ever thought I would about men and how they talk to each other, what is said and what is often unsaid.  Eye-opening.

And while I may have been able to eventually find the information online, if I’d figured out how to search for it, it was much easier, and less time-consuming to just hit the original search source:  my local library and an educated reference librarian.

When was the last time you were in a library?