Freebase moving to Wikidata

Freebase, one of the sources for information on entities in Google’s Knowledge Graph and Bing’s Snapshot, is to be closed and its data transferred to Wikidata. Volunteers at Freebase had built up 46 million topics – and the big search engines benefited. Google acquired Freebase from Metaweb in 2010.

Google To Close Freebase, Which Helped Feed Its Knowledge Graph, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (Dec 16)

Knowledge Graph team posted an announcement – Freebase. Maybe they think Wikidata is a better home for Freebase. I hope Google provides support funding as well.

Firefox Search Bar

Startling news – Yahoo will be the default search engine in the Firefox browser for US users rather than Google (and one presumes the same will be true in Canada). This means getting search results from the Bing index. It is possible to adjust the search bar to default to whatever search engine you really want to use.

Yahoo to replace Google as Firefox’s default search engine in U.S., Michael Liedtke, AP via Globe and Mail (Nov 20)

The five-year alliance announced Wednesday will end a decade-old partnership in the U.S. between Google Inc. and the Mozilla Foundation, which oversees the Firefox browser. The tensions between Google and Mozilla had been rising since Google’s introduction of the Chrome browser in 2008 began to undercut Firefox.

Mozilla has this handy guide with screenshots and screencasts – Search bar – add, change and manage search engines on Firefox

Paid ads vs organic results

If you think it’s getting harder to distinguish between paid ads in search results and organic results, you’re not alone. Wall Street Journal has said that search engines are ignoring the FTC 2013 directive. I agree. My practice today is to immediately skip over the first 3 to 5 results because they are usually somewhat disguised paid ads.

WSJ: Search Engines Ignoring FTC Rules About Labeling Search Ads, Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Oct 13)

DuckDuckGo and Apple

Only 7% in a survey of 521 people knew about DuckDuckGo. Let’s change that. This is an excellent search engine that is designed to return answers – and on many “knowledge” type questions does as well as Google’s Knowledge Graph or Bing’s Snapshot. And with DuckDuckGo you benefit from its policy of not saving search history. Apple has recognized  its value and has included it in iOS 8, the latest version of the iPhone operating system.

Could DuckDuckGo Overtake Bing? by Eli Schwartz, Search Engine Land.

With more consumer awareness of alternatives like DuckDuckGo, that tipping point might not be too far in the future. If ever this event occurs, it is entirely conceivable that the surge of new users could push DuckDuckGo ahead of Bing. (According to our survey, only 7.7% of respondents used Bing on a daily basis.)

Google Authorship vs Author Rank

Google Authorship always seemed arcane to me. Danny Sullivan describes it as “Google’s way to allow the authors of content to identify themselves for display purposes” and it was done through markup code. Well – no more – but Google is keeping “Author Rank”

Google Authorship and Author Rank aren’t the same thing. Here’s why Google Authorship can die yet Author Rank lives on., Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land (AUg 29)

How can all this be, when Google has also said that it’s ignoring authorship markup?

The answer is that Google has other ways to determine who it believes to be the author of a story, if it wants. In particular, Google is likely to look for visible bylines that often appear on news stories. These existed before Google Authorship, and they aren’t going away.