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FT Honor

By - September 20, 2005

B612D9F2-A6A7-11D9-A6Df-00000E2511C8The Financial Times was kind enough to excerpt The Search in its weekend edition – they gave it quite a bit of space. Then I found out about this honor. The FT has included The Search in its list of finalists for “Book of the Year,” along with The World Is Flat, Freakonomics, Disneywar, and several others. I’m flabbergasted.

Update: Apparently, you can vote for your favorite. Now, I’m not suggesting you vote for me, of course, but if you feel so inclined…

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Plans and Discount….

By - September 18, 2005

Late last week my publisher arranged a discount on The Search for all Searchblog readers who care to buy it at Barnes & Noble – it’s 35% off. You have to use this link…..it’s good till the end of September.

I’m down in Santa Barbara where I’m giving a talk to the folks at Commission Junction’s CJU, an annual event for affiliate marketing. Then I’m going to NYC for a few days of book related stuff there. I’m planning on having a MeetUp of sorts while in NY, so stay tuned for more info….probably will know more by the end of Monday.

No Laws Broken, But…

By - September 16, 2005

A WSJ investigative piece alleges that insiders profited from the madness running up to Google’s initial public offering. WebPro has a summary here.

SEW Review

By - September 15, 2005

A few weeks ago I was “quoted” by the Onion in a spoof on Google, and I thought that pretty much capped my entire career as an observer of the internet world. But today I was reading through my emails as I was awaiting my turn on yet another radio show, and up popped Search Engine Watch’s daily email. “Search as the Great New Game” was the title, which sounded interesting, so I pulled it up.

I was stunned to see that it was Chris Sherman’s review of my book, and not only that, he really liked it. And Danny also filed a blog post which had really kind things to say as well (and a few corrections and disagreements, which I will get about addressing in the next edition).

Now I can truly say that my work was worth it. I’m deeply honored. Thanks, Chris, Danny, and Gary, it means the world to me, it truly does.

Book Signing in SF Today

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I’ll be at Stacey’s Book Store in SF today, at 12.30. Come by and say hello if you are in town!

581 Market Street

San Francisco, CA 94105

415-421-4687

Yahoo Launches "Instant Search"

By - September 14, 2005

This is an evolution of Yahoo’s “search shortcuts” idea – will be available (you have to install it) from next.yahoo.com in a manner of minutes (I am told). From the release:

Today Yahoo! launches Instant Search, an early beta feature that makes the search process faster by providing a way for users to get instant answers. As users type, Instant Search immediately displays the most relevant result for the most popular queries directly beneath the search box. In many cases instant facts and answers are provided in the form of Yahoo! Search Shortcut results and, when a shortcut is not available for a query, Instant Search supplies the top Yahoo! Search web result for the most common searches.  Users can immediately access answers by clicking a ‘CTRL Enter’ hotkey once results are displayed.

My favorite line in the release (full text below):

Why feel lucky when you can be right?

Meeeeyowww, the claws are out….

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GOOG Prices Secondary – Is This a Pound of Flesh, Or Normal…?

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Goog9.14GOOG had a bad day today, it closed down 8.68 points at 303. But after hours, Google announced it had priced its secondary offering at $295 (release below), another eight buck discount to its current price. Can any Wall St. mavens out there educate us as to why? Is this a trailing three month average, perhaps? Or a hedge to make sure the banks can do what they usually do, which is distribute underpriced shares to preferred clients, who make out on the “pop”? Google choose not to do an auction this time around, and auction pioneer WR Hambrecht is not a listed manager on the deal, as it was on the IPO.

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Snap Adds Shopping Search

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Quick note: Bill Gross’s company Snap has added shopping search. The engine is driven by cost-per-action, not CPC…will be interesting to see how and if it gathers steam….

Jeremy Asks: How Do You Learn to Search?

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Last night at a book event at Books Inc in Mountain View, a fellow asked me a question that made me think – in short, he asked why there was so much useless information on the web. Put another way, he was expressing frustration with search results – so often we can’t find what we are looking for. I responded that – while it’s possible he might not like this answer – we as users of search need to get better at searching. And by that I don’t mean smarter about how to use advanced features, or how to find the perfect query, but rather at critical thinking, at reviewing and critiquing a set of results, learning from what is and is not there, and refining our searches as a result. And that the only way that is going to happen is if our educational system values critical thinking skills over rote testing.

Today as I was waiting between interminable radio interviews (yes, I am being a cranky author now, after all, I got up at 3.30 am, I’m allowed), I read this post from Jeremy. From it:

….I wished that someone could have been watching the query stream and stopped the user to say “hey, I see what you’re trying to find…. try this instead.” I felt like there was a missing link.

I think education and training are that missing link.


We search engines try to make the world look all simple, uniform, and tidy. There’s a little text box you type into and a button you can hit to get what you want back. Except that it doesn’t always work that way. Many times people don’t find what they need on the first try or two. But they don’t know where to go next, how to refine a query, or what their options are. There’s no librarian to help. Few of them will ever see our Advanced Search page or realize they can restrict searches to a subset of languages.

The question I started this ramble with is largely rhetorical, since I know that the vast majority of folks have never been “trained” to search in any way. But I suspect many would benefit from even 10-15 minutes of education.

Are schools handling this yet? Or do they mostly assume that the search box is self-explanatory?


It made me think – perhaps it is just a matter of some simple training. Or maybe it’s a bit of both, as the more one learns how to search, the more pointers one gets, the more one might develop critical thinking skills essential to good searching. I wonder, is there an opportunity there somewhere?

In any case, it sure would be cool to watch as master searchers went on journeys of discovery and explorations. I wrote about this in the book, referencing V. Bush’s Memex as the basic principle. … OK, back to the radio now…

Gary on this….