Welcome to the Party, MSFT!

Microsoft is taking its homegrown engine outta beta and going live today, adding a few neat bells and whistles along the way. I was under embargo till 9 pm tonight, but come on, the NYT is reporting it already. I can't offer a reasonable review of the site out…

MsnsearchMicrosoft is taking its homegrown engine outta beta and going live today, adding a few neat bells and whistles along the way. I was under embargo till 9 pm tonight, but come on, the NYT is reporting it already.

I can’t offer a reasonable review of the site out of the box, but a list of the new features is at least a start:

– Even more focus on “answers” via Encarta Premium content, which is now free (well, for first use anyway. The engine has added more Encarta content in general).

– Support for RSS search feeds.

– New design, and incorporation into all of MSN, the Messenger IM client, and the MSN Toolbar.

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How can the computer become more like your friend?

So asks Craig Silverstein, my favorite JAM* quotemiester, in this FT article. "It's clear that a list of links, though very useful, doesn't match the way people give information to each other," says Mr Silverstein. The question that he says Google – like others – is now trying to…

So asks Craig Silverstein, my favorite JAM* quotemiester, in this FT article.

“It’s clear that a list of links, though very useful, doesn’t match the way people give information to each other,” says Mr Silverstein. The question that he says Google – like others – is now trying to address is: “How can the computer become more like your friend when answering your questions?”

That means giving direct answers to questions, extracting data from online sources rather than giving links to web pages. It also means doing a better job of divining what the searcher is looking for, tailoring results more closely to what, based on past experience, appear to be the user’s particular interests.

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Conferences Ahoy!

Earlier this month we set the dates fro Web 2.0, the second edition. So mark your calendars – Oct. 5-7th, in San Francisco. Details to come! Meanwhile, I want to use this space to plug another great event. It's called eTech, and it's pretty much the kissing cousin of…

EtechEarlier this month we set the dates fro Web 2.0, the second edition. So mark your calendars – Oct. 5-7th, in San Francisco. Details to come!

Meanwhile, I want to use this space to plug another great event. It’s called eTech, and it’s pretty much the kissing cousin of Web 2.0. eTech is where the seeds of new and interesting technologies are first discovered, whilst Web 2.0 is where they take root in the soil of business. Of course you should go to both, but eTech is coming up first. It’s another conference from the great folks at O’Reilly, who I work with on Web 2.0.

In any case, Rael Dornfest, program chair and O’Reilly CTO, has graciously given me a registration discount code to pass along to you all for the event, which will be held March 14-17 in San Diego.

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Johnson and Search – No, Exploring

The ever wonderful Steven Johnson riffs in the NYT about a tool he's been using for a few years in his writing, one that we probably all wish we had. The raw material the software relies on is an archive of my writings and notes, plus a few thousand…

SjnytThe ever wonderful Steven Johnson riffs in the NYT about a tool he’s been using for a few years in his writing, one that we probably all wish we had.

The raw material the software relies on is an archive of my writings and notes, plus a few thousand choice quotes from books I have read over the past decade: an archive, in other words, of all my old ideas, and the ideas that have influenced me….



…The other day I ran a search that included the word ”sewage” several times. Because the software knows the word ”waste” is often used alongside ”sewage” it directed me to a quote that explained the way bones evolved in vertebrate bodies: by repurposing the calcium waste products created by the metabolism of cells.



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Catching Up

Man. Traveling for 28 hours straight, then staying up two nights in a row for a best friend's 40th can certainly get in the way of work. But I'm back, and much to report. I'll be chewing through old news over the next day or so, but honestly, won't…

Man. Traveling for 28 hours straight, then staying up two nights in a row for a best friend’s 40th can certainly get in the way of work. But I’m back, and much to report.

I’ll be chewing through old news over the next day or so, but honestly, won’t report much of it, as my book is due very shortly and I have another, final chapter to finish. However, a few things to note.

Cnet reports from a Harvard conference. Quote: ” “Google led the way in clarity in advertising,” said Mark Kroese, general manager of information services at Microsoft’s MSN. “We weren’t separating results (from ads) a year and a half ago, and since we’ve begun doing so, the response from both users and advertisers has been huge. Google proved that if you have clarity, people respond.””

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Davos

I'm on my way back from Davos, after four days of mind bending interaction. I'd love to do a long post, but I have to leave shortly to drive to Zurich, then fly to SF. So perhaps later. Suffice to say, search was all over this conference, in ways…

I’m on my way back from Davos, after four days of mind bending interaction. I’d love to do a long post, but I have to leave shortly to drive to Zurich, then fly to SF. So perhaps later. Suffice to say, search was all over this conference, in ways both subtle and overt. Larry, Sergey and Eric of Google were all here, I got to spend some quality time with Sergey today, finishing the last part of my reporting on the book’s final chapter.

The number of extraordinary folks here, combined with their diversity of view points and backgrounds – I met folks from all parts of the world – really does mitigate the otherwise rather unnerving reality of the world’s leaders all conferring in an exclusive ski resort in Switzerland.

Tonight I attended a Davos dinner on blogging, it was a great conversation, more on Davos in general here.

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