free html hit counter January 2005 - Page 5 of 8 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Search Study Shows Gains for Most

By - January 13, 2005

A new study from Keynote shows gains for Yahoo and MSN over Google when it comes to various metrics of search engine usage. A write up from Chris over at SEW chews through it. Ask Jeeves also gained, Keynote says.

I think this is pretty predictable – search has been a very hot story for a year or two, and it’s starting to trickle down to the average consumer – hey, there’s more than one player out there! Also, MSN and Yahoo have made a lot of noise lately, and Ask has certainly gotten better.

I have not been able to review the actual study yet, but if/when i do, I’ll post more.

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Exalead: Another Search Engine Cracks a Billion Pages

By - January 12, 2005

ExaleadI’m a bit late to this, but there you have it. Exalead, a company that powers AOL France’s search (I was introduced to its founder by Alta Vista founder Louis Monier – yup, he’s French) announced today that its stand alone search engine has surpassed the 1-billion-pages-indexed mark. (The engine launched in October).

Why do I like it? Because when I do a vanity search, my interview with Richard Linklater and Douglas Coupland in Wired, way back in the mid 1990s, is the second result.

But seriously, it’s great to see yet another search play out there. Exalead’s CEO Francois Bourdoncle tells me that a desktop application is on the way, and the engine has all manner of neat features, including categories, bookmarks, related terms, thumbnails, and more.

SEW covers it here.

Gillmor, Media, Blogging

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GillmorAs nearly everyone knows, Dan Gillmor has moved to the entrepreneurial world, and I’m tickled he’s out here in the wild now, figuring out his next thing and just hanging it out and seeing what might come. Today there’s news that he has been appointed a fellow at Stanford Law’s Center for Internet & Society, and is organizing a conference on the idea of the citizen journalist. At the end of the day, I sense that the citizen journalist equates with my fundamental definition of a journalist, regardless of credentials: a person who both has the talent and the desire to report, investigate, question, and care about something that others in a community also care about. As an industry and over time, we may have forgotten this fundamental truth, but I see it every time I teach at Berkeley – students with an itch to communicate what they see, regardless of the outcome. Given the fall of icons such as CBS and the NYT, it’s a good thing that we can still honor such an impulse in our culture, and I look forward to seeing what Dan will do next.

MSN Riposte to MyYahoo RSS Coming

By - January 11, 2005

MymsnA birdy with an abiding interest has told me that MSN, through its MyMSN service, will tonight “quietly launch several new features for MyMSN, one of which is the ability to discover, read and search through blog and RSS content.” You will also be able to add RSS feeds to your MyMSN page, just like MyYahoo. Innaresting, no?

Apparently this will be powered by Moreover.

Meanwhile, Dave Winer has launched a conversation about standardizing this whole RSS “Add to” clutter…for more, see here.

Scraping Google To See What Happens

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Komatsu D575A Scraper Lg

Daniel Brandt, Google’s most relentless thorn, has released code which scrapes Google, sans ads. Techdirt covers it here. The Register (also a Google thorn) covers it here. Highlights:

Brandt fully expects Google to throw legal and technical resources at him, but says he welcomes the challenge if only to clarify copyright issues.

Google took people’s free stuff and made a $50 billion business from it, he argues.

“The commercialization of the web became possible only because tens of thousands of noncommercial sites made the web interesting in the first place,” he writes. “All search engines should make a stable, bare-bones, ad-free, easy-to-scrape version of their results available for those who want to set up nonprofit repeaters. Even if it cuts into their ad profits slightly, there’s no easier way to give back some of what they stole from us.”

OK, there are a lot of issues here, and I really must write the book. Really…must…write…aww hell. I’ll say this, in any case: Google hasn’t stolen anything from anyone. Has the company profited from innovation in assembly and the architecture of participation? Hell yes. But that’s OK, after all, those who innovate in assembling data, and those who take the patterns from the aggregate and make sense of them for the individual, well, they deserve the rewards of the marketplace.

But the question of public data as a copyrightable fact is an interesting one. It’s been around the legislative maypole (as noted here) and I don’t have time to get fully smart on it, but it is an interesting dilemma.

Think of the implications for the public domain material in the Google Print/Library project, for instance….

Randy Moss, Mark Cuban, and Video Search

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Randy MossI like Mark Cuban’s blog, it’s a fun window into the sports world, but as we all know, Mark is also a big fan of search, having invested in both and IceRocket. So I was interested to read his latest rant on Randy Moss’s silly (and fake) bare ass in the playoff game last Sunday. In it, he dresses down the media for making a big deal of the incident, then talks about the search implications:

We are about to enter an era where kids can do a search on google,, yahoo and other search engines and get all the video they want of TV broadcasts. Put in a topic. Boom. All the video you could ever want. Put in a name. There it is. Video and transcripts to go with it.

How much fun is it going to be to be sitting in a Sports Management or Journalims class starting next year when the Prof discusses “dealing with controversy” or “dealing with players in the spotlight”, or any derivation of the topic.

I can hear it now. “Ok class, I want you to pick a player that you think did or might have created some controversy in the past. Do a search and provide me video of the player and the controversial event. Then provide clips of how the media covered the event and we will discuss it.”

You know EVERY kid is going to pick Randy Moss….

….We do live in interesting times. We are the first generation to memorialize everything that we do on video. We are entering the first generation that will able to search through all of that video and find what ever they want.

Future generations will thank us for the entertainment we are offering them.

I tried to find video of Randy Moss’ BA using Yahoo Video Search, but struck out. And a cursory look on Feedster didn’t turn up much either, but I bet in a few weeks, it’ll find its way into the Index.

Come to think of it, this dovetails nicely into a conversation I was having with Barry Diller of IAC this morning (for the book and my column in Business 2.0). I asked him if he thought video over IP was an inevitability, and he answered with an emphatic yes. Diller and Cuban both agree: most video will be searchable, and relatively soon.

Lucene In Action

By - January 10, 2005

LuceneA long overdue props to Erik and Otis, the folks behind Lucene In Action, a recently completed book on the open source search app. Congrats to them both!

From Erik’s email to me, a cool approach to the ebook:

Here’s what the site is: a blog along with a “search inside” the book feature. I indexed per-section the book contents. There are two indexes under the covers, one for the blog and another for the book. Searches are searching across both indexes, so you’ll see book snippets (though only partial content) and blog (full-content) highlighted with the terms you searched on. We’ve got cool plans to expand this (take *that* Amazon “search inside” and Google Print!).

Good luck and congrats again on finishing the book!

Yahoo Desktop Search Launches

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Well, the embargo is off, and YDS has launched, or will Tuesday. Here’s where to find it. (I think – it only works with the PC)

Initial coverage here (Silicon Beat), and I am sure far more places will cover it as the day rolls on.

Meanwhile, Blinkx’ Mac version is now out as well, I have downloaded the client and look forward to trying it out. It’s called an “0.5 beta” so if it erases my entire hard drive….