Private Search

Blur Private Search is a new search service for making your web searches private. It operates as a plug-in to your browser (home page says Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, or Internet Explorer), and can be toggled on and off. Requires registration and login to use. See Blur Private Search: How It Works

ReadWrite described the benefits and operation of  Private Search  in this article How To Blur Your Search Tracks On Google (Apr 17)

Private Search provides a new made-up identity for each individual search. It then funnels the request through an SSL tunnel, so that the search is encrypted—even Abine can’t see what you’re searching for. And every phrase or topic you search appears as if it is unconnected to previous searches, since each query is sent through Abine’s server with an entirely different IP address (which is yet another avenue by which websites can track people).

Books and Tips for Investigative Research

Matthew Gilley, at Press Gazette, has extracted  Ten ways for investigative journalists to check their facts when using search engines and social media,  (Apr 16) from a new book – The Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting

The first two tips are about using search engines about which we could say much more. Basically – learn the syntax and have several search engines at hand. I recommend using DuckDuckGo from time to time, and to being diligent in searching out specialty sites.

The next eight tips concern analysis of what you find – check and check again. There’s considerable mention of User Generated Content – or UGC – which will be helpful to journalists.

“User-generated content (UGC), like Youtube videos, can be useful to investigative journalists, but should also be treated with caution. If a video claims to show a certain place, a journalist can find satellite imagery of that location. Comparing landmarks (or road layouts) in the video and the satellite image can establish whether the video was indeed filmed where it is supposed to have been, and even the exact position of the camera.”

This is the second of two books with contributions from journalists, editors, and researchers on verification techniques and tools. Both are available online for viewing, downloading, or purchase. Must reads!

  1. The Verification Handbook: A definitive guide to verifying digital content for emergency coverage with ten chapters of tools and techniques.
  2. Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting: A guide to online search and research techniques for using UGC and open source information in investigation with ten chapters and three case studies.


Facebook – not so good for following

I don’t really “get” Facebook, but Tara Calishain at ResearchBuzz pays attention and she says — Please Don’t Like Us On Facebook (Because There’s No Damned Point) (April 22). Facebook has changed it algorithm for posting to your timeline – it will be more friends, and less “pages” that you have liked and wish to follow.

“Generally speaking, Facebook friends will get more exposure, Facebook Pages will get less. And it’s to the point that I feel I need to ask you to not “like” ResearchBuzz News on Facebook. “

I’m with her – what’s the point of setting up a page? Tara Calishain lists other, better, ways for receiving her updates on web resources for searchers.

Bing Image Search Excels

Bing has raised the standard for image search on the web with recent improvements that provide more information and more leads. Use Bing Images as a starting point for your next query to get ideas and find relevant pages. Has excellent aids for refining the search, as well as filters on colour, layout, date, size and license.

Be inspired, learn more and do more through image search Bing Blogs (April 9)

Google Search on a Timeline

This slideshow – A History of Google Algorithm Updates – reminds us of the ways Google search has changed over nearly 15 years. It’s quite stunning and we can only wonder – what next? The timeline was created by DPFOC, an online marketing agency offering SEO services.

New Arrangements for Yahoo and Microsoft

Yahoo and Microsoft have agreed to a new relationship by which Yahoo will be allowed to be less dependent on Bing for ads and search results – Yahoo will be able to draw from other sources including its own technology.

Yahoo-Bing Reach New Search Deal; Yahoo Gains Right To Serve Search Ads On The PC, Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Apr 16)

Yahoo, when it partnered with Microsoft for Bing search several years ago, gave up everything on desktop search. Now it’s reclaiming space for placing its own ads on 49% of search results, and of generating 49% of search results from sources other than Bing.

“Bing will continue to provide the underlying non-paid search results and technology for Yahoo. In the old agreement, Yahoo gave up the technology it had for ten years and pretty much just mirrored Bing’s results with a Yahoo look-and-feel. But under the new agreement, it now has the flexibility to generate about half its results using its own technology or even to partner with someone else, if it wants. Bing just has to be used for 51% of all search results.”

Is this in time for Yahoo to draw back search traffic?