DuckDuckGo – more instant answers

DuckDuckGo has a newsletter – part of the blog where they announce the new and brilliant features.

DuckDuckGo Adds Instant Answers For Nearby Parking, Online Courses & UV Index Risks, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (April 7)

One new feature is to find nearby parking to a place. Much to my amazement it had an answer for Roy Thomson Hall Toronto – though only one, not close, and very expensive – but it’s a start.

Will find online courses too – just enter topic + online course; eg., happiness online courses – there are many.

Dates in Google Answer Boxes

Watch for it – Google is showing more dates with search results – especially those handy Answer Boxes.

Google Begins Including Dates on Answer Boxes in Search Results to Show Timeliness, Jennifer Slegg, The SEM Post (April 6)

Some answer boxes are now displaying the date the content was published at the end of the content in the answer box to show how timely the information presented is. Especially on topics that are constantly changing, this means that a searcher can perhaps get a better idea of how accurate the information is based upon the date it was published

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.

Reading Level in Google Search

Google Operating System has reported a Google Reading Level Bug (Feb 18). Reading level is a hard-to-find and therefore easy-to-forget search feature on web searches. Find it by picking Search Tools > All Results > Reading level. When it works it helps you zero in on content that is “advanced” or scholarly, vs basic / elementary or intermediate.

Google is still identifying the advanced items but isn’t capturing them in the graph.

google-readinglevel-2015

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.

Online reference tools

Anyone doing intensive research online can be more productive with these tools for managing references.

Make Research Easier With These Five Tools by Brandi Scardilli, Information Today (Oct 7)

Several popular tools provide platforms that store articles, features that generate bibliographies, and functionality that encourages collaboration on projects.

Review the features and functionality of Endnote, ProQuest Flow, and Mendeley.

Google features

Google features come and go – almost always without explanation.

Jon Wiley, a search designer at Google, spoke briefly about this – mostly it is to avoid bloatware. Removing features, he said, “is one of the toughest but most important parts of designing products – deciding what to trim as you move forward”

Google Search Designer Explains Why Some Features & Tools Get Axed, Search Engine Land (Jul 28)

And – Google may have added a new timeline to the Knowledge Graph.

Google Testing Timeline View In Knowledge Graph, Search Engine Land (Jul 28)

“Google is testing a new knowledge graph interface for showing a timeline of data, facts and knowledge in the top carousel section of the Google search results.”

Google Instant Translate

Google shows a new “instant answer” box for translating passages. Enter translate as a keyword – followed by what to what – example: translate french to english. Google displays a box for entering (or speaking) the text. Can also hear the translation.

Google Translate as an instant answer box

Google Translate as an instant answer box

New Google Translation Tools: Edit Text, Change Language & Hear Translation Directly Within Search, Amy Gesenhues, Search Engine Land (Jul 16)

Pinterest navigation

Pinterest users in the United States can be guided by Pinterest to special interests within a category – such as Outdoors page might suggest Hiking.  I don’t see this in Toronto – not rolled out yet.

Pinterest Makes It Easier to Find What Just What You’re Looking For, by Kurt Wagner, Make Use Of (Mashable)

Pinterest already offered a categories tabs where users could search for pins by more general groupings, but now, those categories include more specific interests that users can subscribe to. For example, you can follow interests like hiking, camping or running under the broader “outdoors” category. Following an interest means those pins will now appear in your feed, saving you the hassle of searching for them.