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Google Scholar Launches: A Hint of Things to Come?

By - November 18, 2004

scholar_logoGoogle has, for some time, had a few verticalized, niche search solutions hidden in their Advanced Search areas, notably their “topic specific” search around Linux, the Mac, govt sites, and the like. Today the company launched another, more ambitious vertical search tool called Google Scholar. According to folks I spoke to last night at Google, the service was done by one engineer in his “20% time.” Anurag Acharya, the engineer behind the service, tuned Google’s crawler for academic papers and worked with universities to make those papers available to others on the web.

The services has the tagline “Stand on the shoulders of giants.” It includes a cross referenced citation link for each paper, which is very cool, and as we all know, the basis of PageRank (and the WWW) in the first place. Here’s a search for vertical or domain specific search, for example.

This move marks a trend toward making usually invisible (and useful) information more accessible, one that I could imagine spreads to other domains, perhaps ones more commercial in nature. (Scholar does not have ads in it, at least for now). The special ranking algorithm and policies for dealing with the nature of a structured document universe such as this clearly scales to other opportunities – ie, travel, automotive, business information and the like.

Here’s Resourceshelf’s take on this, and SEW’s.

Cnet coverage.

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RealNames Resurfaces

By - November 17, 2004

realnames.jpg The founder of RealNames, which rose and fell with the fortunes of the bubble and Microsoft back in the late 90s, has regained his domain, launched a limited search engine, and has plans for more…..here’s and excerpt from his blog

have recently reaquired the RealNames domain name – realnames.com. This is some 30 moths after we were forced to close the company.

It feels good to have 100% ownership back of a thing I spent 5 years creating. To be honest I’m not yet sure what I will do with it.

Anyway, I have all of the old data and have created – over a weekend – a new search engine based on the RealNames data. Yes I coded it myself – and it shows….

….For what it’s worth I believe there are enormous opportunities to innovate in search today. The crawl and index technology that has done such a good job in dealing with the staic web is very poor at daling with today’s web. New challenges mean lots of potential to innovate.

Additionally the problem addressed by RealNames – that is the poverty of the DNS as a naming and navigation system for the world’s internet users – remains unresolved.

Google’s direct navigation via Keyword feature [ in the Google toolbar], and Microsoft’s version of the same thing (try typing a natural language Keyword in the IE browser that does not have the Google toolbar installed] are both falling far short of what is needed – a standard, natural language, naming system, available through all browsers, and embedded as a sub-index in all search engines, with the ability to have names registered in all human readable scripts.

Dinosaur Disney Threatens to Sue Over Linking

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2364- PEWTER WEIGHT - MICKEY MOUSE BRONZE FIGURINEGood God, how much tin does it take to fill Mickey’s ears? Recall how worked up I got over the Kleptones mashup of Queen’s A Night at the Opera? Well, many others did too, including Waxy, which linked to various mirrors of it, as did I. In any case, Disney, which owns the rights to the original Queen recording, has now threatened to sue Waxy over the links. I know of one other organization that regularly threatens to sue when someone links to what they consider private intellectual property. They threatened me at Wired in the mid 1990s. Who were they? The Church of Scientology. Great company you keep, Mickey f*cking Mouse.

Link via Boing Boing.

News: Overture Testing Ads Rolled Into RSS

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FeedburnThis came across my desk tonight from a trusted source, and I checked it out, and it seems to be real: Overture is testing RSS ads in limited release, on small(er) feeds like this one from the MobileTracker blog.

MobileTracker notes the news in this posting:

If you’re an RSS feed subscriber you have probably noticed that the feed is now full text. That means you can read via RSS whatever you would normally see on the main MobileTracker page. If we add more content “after the jump” (like photos, which is often the case), you’ll need to click through to see it. You’ll also notice on the RSS feed that there are now advertisements. These are content targeted ads which means they should relate to the topic of the article. The ads are provided by Overture and powered by FeedBurner. We’re proud to work with both companies.

Here’s what the ads look like.

overturerss
This is what I’ve been on about for some time now – the inclusion of a major ad network play in RSS as a step toward the monetization of RSS, and the support of full text RSS as the way to go. It’s very exciting for bloggers, and marks the first major step for most of us beyond just running Adsense on our sites. As many already know, RSS is often half or more of our traffic/readership. I very much hope the tests go well, the learning is good, and this gets rolled out to the masses as soon as possible. In short, this marks Yahoo’s first big step toward the right side of the tail, where Adsense has lived and ruled for the past couple of years. Way to go, Feedburner, for playing such a crucial role in this important first step, and kudos to Yahoo, for making this move.

Update: Rafat noted this tie up first, back in early November!

Jobs In Search

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jobssearchNow here’s a fine idea. Why didn’t I think of that? Well, I did, but I’m simply too busy, or too slow, to do this. But it’s a fine idea, and it launched last month. Jobsinsearch.com. So far, not many jobs listed. But, still, a good idea. They even have a blog

Loads O Search

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Mark your calendars for next year in April: This looks to be a good gathering for the hard core search geek.

Perks at Work

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massagechariA Japanese massage chair completes the ambiance at the Google Zurich office. From Douwe Osinga’s blog:

Since today the Zurich office is a complete Google office. We have our own massage chair. From buying to actually receiving the chair, it must have taken more than six months so we really have something to be happy about. Not just because it is nice to have one, the massage chair is also part of the God given (well, at least Larry & Sergey given) rules that make an office into a Google office.

First Wave of GOOG Lockups Expire Today

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GOOG1All Wall St. eyes are on GOOG today as more than 39 million shares are released from lockup. Bloomberg story.

The possible increase of shares in circulation may ease a shortage of stock that helped fuel a rally since the company’s initial public offering in August. Shares of Google, the most- used Internet search engine, closed yesterday at $184.87, more than twice the IPO price of $85.

Before today, 27.2 million of Google’s 273.4 million shares were free for trading. The number of shares available will rise tenfold by mid-February with the expiration of more so-called lockup periods that restrict insider sales after an initial public offering.

Update: Here’s Google’s 10-Q, thanks to SEWBlog.

Safa's First Note on MSN Search: New Engine, Now Where's the Car?

By - November 15, 2004

rashtchySome interesting tidbits from Safa Rashtchy’s just published note on MSN Search:

We view the new MSN search engine similar to replacing the engine inside of a car, which was previously powered by Yahoo’s Inktomi. A better engine, even a far better engine, will only be one component (a necessary first component) in convincing people to buy a car that was previously not very popular. This is not a move that will give MSN a big market-share gain; instead, it’s a first step to stop the market share loss that MSN Search was experiencing. A new search engine was an absolute strategic necessity, but the hard work comes after the engine is perfected and fully launched to the entire population of MSN. This will include positioning not only the search site, but also MSN itself to customers, as a better web experience than Google. We note that consumer’s loyalty to Google is not just based on search accuracy but on a much deeper brand devotion. MSN’s desktop search effort may well be its most promising initiative as it’s potentially an advantage given that Microsoft has deep knowledge of the desktop file structure and applications, as well as the core expertise of Microsoft’s desktop group. The desktop search may well turn out to be the way MSN eventually gains market share, at least in certain segments of the population – most notably among information workers. This may still leave a potentially larger segment, Middle America, to the competition.

So far the full text is not on the site, sorry, it was emailed to me as a PDF.