Getting away from ads

Google tools are easy to use and very effective, but collect a lot of information about us. How much should we reveal about ourselves? This article has alternatives: DuckDuckGo for search, Firefox rather than Chrome for browsing, Zoho docs instead of Google docs, and Fastmail instead of Gmail – if you have to use a webmail service.

How to ditch Google for more privacy and fewer ads, Derek Walter, PCWorld (Sept 9)

If you’ve decided that keeping all your eggs in one online basket is unwise, there are viable alternatives. Some are arguably not as full-featured as what Google has. But using your email without ads or knowing that performing a web search won’t result in a ton of related advertisements may be enough to encourage you to go on a Google-free diet.

Importance of navigation

The best designed sites provide clear navigation structure (such as a taxonomy or table of contents) to direct users to content. That structure, as we learn in this article, informs and guides users, in ways that keyword search doesn’t. Keyword search requires that the user have knowledge and a specific skill.

Search Is Not Enough: Synergy Between Navigation and Search, by RALUCA BUDIU, Nielson Norman Group (September 7, 2014)

Navigation serves important functions: it shows people what they can find on the site, and teaches them about the structure of the search space. Using the navigation categories is often faster and easier for users than generating a good search query. Plus, many times site search does not work well or requires users to have a good understanding of its limitations.

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.)

Guide to Eurostat

Excellent guide to obtaining international statistics on economic and social activity through Eurostat – describes types of reports, how to search, aspects of the databases.

Eurostat’s Statistical Treasure Trove By Anja Chemnitz Thygesen, Online Searcher (Sep/Oct 2014)

As an excellent entry point to data on European matters, Eurostat (epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu) contains an enormous amount of information and statistics from across the European Union membership countries, plus a few other nations. In this article I use the example of researching the elderly population in the EU to illustrate some of the highlights of the Eurostat pages.

Explicit and Implicit Entities

Search engines today – especially Google and Bing – seek to identify entities and their relationships. This posting distinguishes between implicit and explicit entities. Explicit is known from structured markup; implicit is inferred from the text on the page.

Demystifying The Knowledge Graph, Barbara Starr, Search Engine Land (Sep 2)

Posting has advice for SEO people for optimizing their pages for recognition by the Knowledge Graph.

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.