Eric Enge explains Google’s RankBrain and machine learning in Why Google Uses RankBrain – Here’s Why #65 (Stone Temple, Apr 25). Two examples given illustrate how Google now understands “why is” and “without” both of which would have been ignored in the past. There are many more examples on improved search results in the Stone Temple report.
Smartphones have changed the search experience. Adam Dorfman in Search Engine Land shows that As search changes, Google changes.
“But, seemingly overnight, everything changed. Now, searching means utilizing a wide range of interfaces, including GPS devices, wearables, smart objects such as Amazon Echo and operating systems such as iOS and Android. Oh, and we’re not just lounging on our sofas at home when we search. We’re searching on the go.”
While mobile is where the action is today, the author identifies some areas where Google.com still excels.
Gmail and Outlook both receive positive reviews in this comparison –
Webmail Showdown: Gmail vs. Outlook.com from Lifehacker. Has many good tips. Myself – I’m happy with Thunderbird for desktop.
Finally – Supreme Court rejects challenge to Google’s online library (AP via Seattle Times, April 18). Authors Guild challenged Google on providing views of portions of digitized text in 2005 with multiple court cases and appeals. The US Supreme Court has said “no more”.
The appeals court said that Google’s “snippet view, at best and after a large commitment of manpower, produces discontinuous, tiny fragments, amounting in the aggregate to no more than 16% of a book. This does not threaten the rights holders with any significant harm to the value of their copyrights or diminish their harvest of copyright revenue.”
Sharpened your Twitter search skills with this article – Advanced Twitter Search Commands – by Tracy Z Maleeff in Online Searcher. Good guide to advanced syntax.
If you’ve been using the Internet for the past 20 years, what big changes in search would you mention? Danny Sullivan has been in the thick of it for at least that long. Read his list of 10 big changes with search engines over my 20 years of covering them (Search Engine Land April 17) Not surprisingly Google dominates. I think that the machine learning component to search today – Sullivan’s # 7 – is the most stunning. Privacy issues are much bigger today – our searches are recorded – an aspect that Sullivan didn’t pick as a big change.
Google has quality raters – actual people who look at search results and rate quality. Their guidebook has been updated to give more emphasis, says Jennifer Slegg, to emphsize local, and expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness. Slegg provides a detailed account of the 146 pages in Updated Google Quality Rater Guidelines: No More Supplementary Content, Emphasis on E-A-T, The SEM Post (April 4)
There are fewer and fewer e-publications with updates on scholarly resources and grey literature. The team at DocuTicker says Farewell – Docubase closed Februrary 2016. The “team” continues to run the for-fee subscription based jinfo – formerly Freepint (which stopped being free several years ago). It carries reviews of information products and other articles of interest to information professionals.
For receiving updates on an eclectic range of sources and materials, Gary Price (who had founded both DocuTicker and ResourceShelf in the early 2000s) and Shirl Kennedy are still doing excellent news roundups at infodocket, at the Library Journal. They describe the service as offering “…information industry news, useful websites, search tips and tools…and occasional commentary.” Follow the blog or pick up the Twitter feed.
The sister site FullTextReports that is mentioned as providing “new and free full text reports from think tanks, governments around the world, research institutes, academia” as of 2015 is no longer being updated. StatFountain for statistically-focused reports is also in pause mode as of October 2015.
It’s regrettable that these marvellous services for scholarly researchers and information professionals have fallen on bad times, but free as a business model doesn’t pay the bills.
The European Union seems to have it in for Google. Now it seems to want to tax Google (and other search engines) for using snippets to link to articles. Why? How could a snippet be a copyright violation?
“Google tax” on snippets under serious consideration by European Commission, Arstechnica (Mar 24)
The European Commission also says that the consultation is “part of its work to update EU copyright rules for the digital age.” It’s hard to see how an attack on the basic building block of the Web—the hyperlink—can be construed as a way of updating copyright to make it fit for the Internet.