Google’s Cultural Institute

History buffs and students – depending on  subject interest – will be pleased with Google’s Cultural Institute, a digital archive that is visually rich with photographs, historical documents, and videos.It began with 42 collections, and is partnering with museums and cultural organizations for more.

A time line on the front page scans from 1905 to the present. Many of the topics relate to the Second World War and aftermath  or to South Africa – Nelson Mandela.

Partial view of timeline at Google Cultural Institute

Time line at Google Cultural Institute

A fuller view of content may be obtained from the Explore option where projects are listed. Among these are:

  • Art project – collections, galleries and artists around the world.  Art Gallery of Ontario has some artworks on display.  Browse the Art Project by museum or artist. People with a touch screen will have an advantage. Unfortunately, notes on individual artworks are scant.
  • World Wonders has segments on regions, nature, archaeology, architecture  – more.- shown through photographs, videos (of mixed quality ), and Google Earth 3D views.
  • Dead Sea Scrolls was a partnered project with the Israel Museum through which five scrolls were put online.  In the last week, another 5,000 images of scroll fragments of biblical sections have been released. Details were well covered in the press: Dead Sea Scrolls online library launched by Google and Israel (Dec 18 – MSNBC) and  Google puts Dead Sea Scrolls sacred text online (PCWorld).  Access the site directly at the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library.

The  Cultural Institute opened in October 2012 and was described in this CNet article – Google Cultural Institute brings dozens of new exhibits online  (October 10)

Bing’s Strengths

Bing may be a worthy alternative to Google again. This fluctuates, and Bing in the last year or so has removed page previewing and some special displays for topics such as recipes.

However, lately I’ve been struck by relevancy of its search results:  I haven’t thought – “oh surely there must be better results” and flipped back to Google. Bolding of terms in the snippets is good, although those snippets have become very short and there is no page preview.

But what happened to Advanced?  It is not entirely lost but is definitely hidden and limited. To find it –  run the query, look at results, click in the search box again to get more suggestions – then you see the link to Advanced Search.

Advanced Search at Bing

Bing Canada shows  choice for language  and region (to quickly restrict  to Canada) on all results pages.

On Bing.com web search pages, you’ll see a filter on time: past 24 hours, week or month.

The Advanced Search is an extra panel with choices for domain, country, language and terms.  Note that you cannot search for words in the title of a page using this form.

Advanced Search options in Bing

Aaron Couch at MakeUseOf has identified several features at Bing.com that he finds attractive   – Greater Than Google: The Best Bits Of Bing (December 20).

These features can be found at Bing.com (not Bing.ca and not likely  other country versions).

  • Travellers will appreciate the tips on flights and hotels. Access this from the Travel tab – which if you don’t see in the Menu bar can be found under More.
  • Entertainment in your area may be found through Events – enter the city or region and the type of entertainment. It can find events in Canada.
  • There are various social features for search, news, and recommendations if you connect Bing to your Facebook account.
  • Bing also has strong image and video search capabilities.

Give yourself some time to explore Bing.com (the US version).