My Activity at Google

There may be some advantages to being able to see your activity on all the Google properties – and on pages that serve up Google ads. This would especially be the case if you are researching a topic across media and need to keep a trail. Or you need to confirm something you found earlier.

Google’s new My Activity page lets you see all your Google history in one place, Napier Lopez, The Next Web (June 28)

Nonetheless, it’s a bit scary to realize that Google could track all activity rather than just web search and therefore deliver more ads. But it might also be true that the ads will be better directed. “Mainly, you can control which kind of ads show up everywhere, across various devices and websites.”

You can find this through “My Account” – or go directly to https://myactivity.google.com/

Google Patents for Display

Search today is less about keywords and more about entities as is made clear (again) in this examination by Barbara Starr of Google patents.
Structured Data & The SERPs: What Google’s Patents Tell Us About Ranking In Universal Search (Search Engine Land, May 29)

Google packs into search results knowledge panels, answers, images. Much of this derives from use of structured data and identification of entities involved. One patent quoted notes that, “In some implementations, search results are retrieved from a data structure. In some implementations, the data structure also contains data regarding relationships between topics, links, contextual information, and other information related to the search results that the system may use to determine the ranking metrics.”

Starr describes with examples four entity-specific metrics. “The patent provides strong evidence that semantic web technology is being used as background context for the definitions of the metrics and the environment in which they are framed.”

Lastly, we learn that thare are “different algorithms for different screen areas”; ie., different displays for different devices.

New Search Filters at DuckDuckGo

Bravo for DuckDuckGo – it is adding search filters to help searchers, and has done so through its partnership with Yahoo. (Which makes us wonder about its partnership with Bing.)

DuckDuckGo adds date filters & sitelinks to search eatures, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (Jun 2)

“Searchers can now filter the search results by date, and searchers will now also see sitelinks for some of the top search results.”

Also see DDG blog – New Features from a Stronger Yahoo Partnership

Title tag at Google

Who knew display of the title tag in search engine results could be so complicated?  Dr Peter Meyers has figured it out in Title Tag Length Guidelines: 2016 Edition.(May 31)

Bottom line – if you’re writing title tags on your web pages, keep to 60 characters; if you are a searcher be aware that Google makes some adjustments. Google will break a title at a whole word (this is good), but sometimes modifies a title by appending the brand name at the end (which may or may not be helpful).

Do Not Track Search

Hongkiat has compiled a list of search engines that don’t track your search activity — 12 Private Search Engines that Do Not Track You (May ). A list of these is always handy but,  as mentioned at Research Buzz,  “do your own due diligence”. Not all of these are top notch.

  • DuckDuckGo is an excellent search engine.
  • A couple on this list are using Google Custom Search – which is ok.
  • Yippy has some interesting features but is not forthright in showing the sources of its results and it truncates the results.
  • Hulbee looks interesting. It does some analysis of results to pick out key words that may represent concept or topic.

Omnity niche search

Researchers may be interested in a new search engine, Omnity, that accesses higher quality databases and analyzes text.

This new search engine could be way smarter than Google, Hayley Tsukayama (May 24)

  • “It draws from a number of data sets, including SEC filings, public news organization reports, scientific journals, financial reports and legal histories.”
  • “Omnity does an admirable job of focusing on both the highlights, as well as the larger tapestry into which those shiny spots are woven.”

Omnity describes itself as … “based on fundamental advances in associative semantic search technology, through which we create landscapes of meaning-based relationships arising from the semantic signatures of entire documents. In this manner, the knowledge contained within whole documents can be deeply inter-connected, solely through shared ideas.”

There’s a price of $99 / year to use this niche search engine.