New search engine lets users look for relevant results faster

Researchers at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT have developed a new search engine that outperforms current ones, and helps people to do searches more efficiently.

The SciNet search engine is different because it changes internet searches into recognition tasks, by showing keywords related to the user’s search in topic radar. People using SciNet can get relevant and diverse search results faster, especially when they do not know exactly what they are looking for or how to formulate a query to find it.

Once initially queried, SciNet displays a range of keywords and topics in a topic radar. With the help of the directions on the radar, the engine displays how these topics are related to each other. The relevance of each keyword is displayed as its distance from the centre point of the radar – those more closely related are nearer to the centre, and those less relevant are farther away. The search engine also offers alternatives that are connected with the topic, but which the user might not have thought of querying. By moving words around the topic radar, users specify what information is most useful for them.

When people are uncertain about a topic, they are typically reluctant to reformulate the original query, even if they need to in order to find the right information. With the help of a keyword cloud, people can more quickly infer which of the search options they receive is more significant for them because they do not need to visit the pages offered by the search engine to find new search words and start again.

Michael Jordan comes around to Jimmy Fallon

I’ve been doing some reading on proximity operators which brought me to the question: Is there any proximity operators left in Google. The results I got seems to indicate that the old and little publicized AROUND operator is alive and well in Google.

Jimmy Fallon Variations in the use of the operator seems to deliver legitimate results, but that is just the way the current Google algorithms respond; only one is spot on.

For my example I used to current trending figures Jimmy Fallon and Michael Jordan.

Jimmy Fallon Michael Jordan
This search delivers basic results, with the Late Night interview of Jimmy Fallon with Kristen Wiig impersonating Michael Jordan at the top. The same basic results features for
Jimmy Fallon around Michael Jordan

Jimmy Fallon around(2) Michael Jordan
This search does not have the desired effect of placing the two names within two words of each other, nor does
Jimmy Fallon AROUND(2) Michael Jordan

Our only spot on query goes to
“Jimmy Fallon” AROUND(2) “Michael Jordan”

Interesting that the results also hint at
Jimmy AROUND(2) “Michael Jordan”
“Michael Jordan” AROUND(2) Jimmy
being equal to
“Jimmy Fallon” AROUND(2) “Michael Jordan”

The same is not true for
"Jimmy Fallon" AROUND(2) Michael
Michael AROUND(2) “Jimmy Fallon”

Seems like Jimmy is the man.

Forget about using the NEAR operator; a very popular operator in databases. Results may come close, but again, that is just the way the current Google algorithm responds. The results are very similar to using AROUND in lowercase.

These results were obtained using Chrome on a Windows OS and only considering first page SERPS. My apologies if the explanation seems unclear to novices, it was written for people with a general interest in Search, but I am always willing to answer questions on the topic.

Author: Quintus van Rensburg
Photo: Carniolus

Internet search engines drove librarians to redefine themselves

Although librarians adopted Internet technology quickly, they initially dismissed search engines, which duplicated tasks they considered integral to their field. Their eventual embrace of the technology required a reinvention of their occupational identity, according to a study by University of Oregon researchers.

The story of the successful transition — of accommodating a new technology — into a new identity is a good example for professionals in other fields who have faced or currently face such challenges, says Andrew J. Nelson, a professor of management and the Bramsen Faculty Fellow in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability in the UO’s Lundquist College of Business.

Librarians, the researchers found, have gone from thinking of themselves as the knowledgeable person with the best answer to a patron’s question to being an interpreter and connector who points patrons to helpful materials for their consideration.

Early on, the researchers wrote that: “Librarians initially described Internet search technology as a niche and emphasized their own unique (and superior) value.” The emerging technology was dismissed, Nelson said, “as something that wasn’t going to spread and be widely used.” But that idea began to fade as more than 70 online search engines emerged between 1989 and 2011.

Nelson and Irwin defined occupational identity as an overlap between “who we are” and “what we do” as they explored the “paradox of expertise” in which librarians failed to grow their informational prowess with an emerging technology. “What made us curious about what happened was that librarians had technical skills — many had been building online databases of their collections with search capabilities very similar to what search engines aimed to develop,” Irwin said. Yet librarians, the researcher said, had misinterpreted the possibilities of Internet searching for such information.

For her doctoral dissertation, Irwin had focused on technological change in American libraries over about 150 years. This project was a side road for her as part of the management department’s philosophy of pairing graduate students with non-supervising faculty for an outside project to broaden their education.

The research was able to document a four-step transition, beginning with librarians “dismissing the technology as something that wasn’t going to spread and be widely used,” Nelson said. Next librarians began to differentiate themselves, accepting Internet searches as a way to provide simple answers because they preferred to interpret web-based search information for patrons.

Eventually, Nelson said, librarians decided to capture the technology and offer their expertise in collaboration with companies that were generating search engines, but the companies chose to go their own way.

Finally, librarians “evolved their approach” by working to develop scholarly-based search engines, such as Google Scholar, and others tied specifically to library holdings.

How will Google Instant affect SEO

“The [Google Instant] changes are certain to fundamentally change the way people interact with the world’s biggest search engine. But what is less clear is how this game-changing update will affect search engine optimization and search traffic referrals to Websites.”

How Will Google Instant Affect Your Company’s SEO?

Stay Squared

Earlier this year Google announced the inclusion of Google Squared in their traditional search results. Google Squared “automatically fetches and organizes facts from across the Internet”.

Squared results are categorized in accordance with their relationship to other data. Another good reason why publishers need to adopt microformats and / or RDFa standards.

Google Squared