Emoticons for punctuation

Emoticons – and now emojis – have a long history, as Reid Goldsborough explains in this LinkUp article — The How’s and Why’s of Emoticons (Sept).

The Emojipedia tells us that “Emoji originated in Japan. The word emoji means “picture letter” in Japanese. Each character has an official name, defined as part of the unicode standard.” We are most familiar with the round, yellow people faces with various expressions.

All these and the emoticons of early Internet days are used still in email, text chat, texting – anything text.

Of interest is that they predate the Internet — “Telegraph operators in the mid-19th century used acronyms such as IMHO (in my humble opinion) and FWIW (for what it’s worth) when communicating among themselves, according to the book The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage. Later, teletype operators used emoticons when chatting. In both cases it was to save time.”

Getting past barriers

Hola – a great Chrome or Firefox browser extension for accessing  web sites that would otherwise be blocked based on your IP number. A WebSearchGuide reader sent me this tip. Hola makes it possible to access Google.com from outside the United States and view anonymously (ie privately) the search results complete with in-depth articles – a feature still not rolled out to the rest of the world. Canadians will also appreciate that it  makes it possible to receive music played from US-based services.

From the FAQ:

Hola’s goal is to make the Internet faster and fully accessible to everyone. Install Hola on your PC, phone or tablet to make your Internet faster, more open and more anonymous. Hola lets you have unlimited access to information that is otherwise not available in your geography while protecting your online privacy. It also lets you stream videos faster than ever before. Hola is a collaborative Internet — it works by sharing the idle resources of its users for the benefit of all.

Worth taking some time to try out.

Patterns in Google’s Autocomplete

Next time you search Google watch the suggested searches that pop up – especially those for the first letter you enter. Host Advice has analyzed the autocompletes and created an alphabet according to Google. The letter A, as an example, is surely going to show Amazon first – likely worldwide; and there is a pretty good chance that E will be eBay.

The Phonetic Alphabet according to Google – 2015 by Eliran Ouzan, Host Advice (Jan 25)

There will be some variations depending on where you live. In Toronto, C is for Canadian Tire. These auto completes are influenced by current local search activity – how else would J be for Jian Ghomeshi? ut this will pass, and J might change to Joe Fresh, at least in Canada. Anyway – fun to watch.

Oh Yum

DuckDuckGo, a meta search engine that seeks results from best sources, has partnered with Yummly, a semantically smart search engine for food recipes. What a fusion!

Yummly Partners With DuckDuckGo To Serve Up Recipes For The Growing Search Engine, Amy Gesenhues, Search Engine Land (Jun 11)

Images from Yummly on recipe search at DuckDuckGo

Search at DuckDuckGo for recipes showing the Yummly banner

“By working with Yummly we are delivering the most useful and visually stunning recipe search experience out there. Yummly’s technology understands recipe search queries and we’ve worked together to create a great recipe instant answers experience,” said Gabriel Weinberg, founder and CEO at DuckDuckGo. [From the Yummly announcement ]

For Foodies

There are hundreds of excellent websites for people who enjoy cooking and eating. Sometimes choice comes down to recommendations from others. This list came from students in my last Mastering Web Searching course.


Allrecipes.com is a favourite – available also in French at allrecipe.ca. Allrecipes is likely the “world’s largest food website”, and provides many ways for exploring recipes, searching by ingredients, and creating menus. Kate wrote, “great selection and categorization of recipes, search functions well, videos are fun to watch, and flexibility of printing/saving recipes”.

SmittenKitchen blog is done by Deb Perelman who does her cooking in 42 square feet. She cooks for husband and child – which may explain the long list of cookies and all things chocolate. Amy recommended the Pear and Hazelnut muffins.

Bread lovers will like Tony’s recommendation –  The Fresh Loaf, “a community for artisan bakers and bread enthusiasts”.

Eat Your Books  is a make-your-own library of  books, magazines, blogs, and other recipes. Liz described it as AMAZING. “They have indexed the most popular cookbooks, cooking magazines, and cooking blogs for a one-stop shop search.”   Good way for staying up-to-date with new books and magazines.

For searching for recipes I’ve liked Foodly. It searches across recipe sites as a metasearcher, showing lots of pictures, and with good filters. Members can add recipes to to their accounts.

One of my most used sites is the recipe search at  LCBO Food and Drink – an excellent magazine from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. It’s easier to use the website than flip through the print magazine. And another excellent food specialty site is from PCC Natural Markets, an organic grocery store chain in Seattle Wa.