Microsoft has taken some action to limit users of Cortana, the digital assistant in Windows 10, to using the Edge browser and Bing search engine. These three are tightly integrated – something that may very well annoy people.
Danny SUllivan writes about it in Microsoft blocks Google Chrome & other browsers from Cortana in latest Windows 10 release, Search Engine Land (Apr 28). Sullivan offers a way to hack the search engine setting, but it still seems pretty locked down. Competing digital assistants – Google Now, Apple’s Siri, etc – do the same.
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has a collection of podcasts in which LAC staff “showcase treasures from our vaults; guide you through our many services; and introduce you to the people who acquire, safeguard and make known Canada’s documentary heritage.”. LAC provides a transcript, the audio, and a follow-along series of images at Flickr.
If you are concerned about privacy when browsing, it will be worth while reading about the control center in the Firefox browser regarding protection against tracking and adjusting permissions.
Control Center – manage site privacy and security controls
The Control Center panel opens when you click the Site Info button button in the address bar. It lets you manage security and privacy settings for a website in one place. Use the Control Center to view information about a site and to make choices about site permissions, trackers or insecure content.
Browsers save a record of the pages you have visited, downloads you’ve done, and much else. Reviewing this history is useful if you’d like to retrace steps. This page describes the history function in Firefox – what is collected, how to review, how to clear, and how to disable.
Delete browsing, search and download history on Firefox, Mozilla Support (April)
Eric Enge explains Google’s RankBrain and machine learning in Why Google Uses RankBrain – Here’s Why #65 (Stone Temple, Apr 25). Two examples given illustrate how Google now understands “why is” and “without” both of which would have been ignored in the past. There are many more examples on improved search results in the Stone Temple report.
Smartphones have changed the search experience. Adam Dorfman in Search Engine Land shows that As search changes, Google changes.
“But, seemingly overnight, everything changed. Now, searching means utilizing a wide range of interfaces, including GPS devices, wearables, smart objects such as Amazon Echo and operating systems such as iOS and Android. Oh, and we’re not just lounging on our sofas at home when we search. We’re searching on the go.”
While mobile is where the action is today, the author identifies some areas where Google.com still excels.
Gmail and Outlook both receive positive reviews in this comparison –
Webmail Showdown: Gmail vs. Outlook.com from Lifehacker. Has many good tips. Myself – I’m happy with Thunderbird for desktop.
Finally – Supreme Court rejects challenge to Google’s online library (AP via Seattle Times, April 18). Authors Guild challenged Google on providing views of portions of digitized text in 2005 with multiple court cases and appeals. The US Supreme Court has said “no more”.
The appeals court said that Google’s “snippet view, at best and after a large commitment of manpower, produces discontinuous, tiny fragments, amounting in the aggregate to no more than 16% of a book. This does not threaten the rights holders with any significant harm to the value of their copyrights or diminish their harvest of copyright revenue.”
Sharpened your Twitter search skills with this article – Advanced Twitter Search Commands – by Tracy Z Maleeff in Online Searcher. Good guide to advanced syntax.
If you’ve been using the Internet for the past 20 years, what big changes in search would you mention? Danny Sullivan has been in the thick of it for at least that long. Read his list of 10 big changes with search engines over my 20 years of covering them (Search Engine Land April 17) Not surprisingly Google dominates. I think that the machine learning component to search today – Sullivan’s # 7 – is the most stunning. Privacy issues are much bigger today – our searches are recorded – an aspect that Sullivan didn’t pick as a big change.