Online news from Amazon

Jeff Bezos has big plans for delivering curated news on a tablet through his acquisition of the Washington Post.

Jeff Bezos’s New Plan for News: The Washington Post Becomes an Amazon Product, Brad Stone, Bloomberg Busienss Week (Oct 6)

For the past few months, a group inside the Post has been working on a new application that will offer a curated selection of news and photographs from the daily newspaper in a magazine-style, tablet-friendly format. The application will come preinstalled on Amazon’s newly updated Kindle Fire tablet, expected to be launched later this fall with the larger 8.9-inch screen, according to people with knowledge of the Post’s plans.

Google Scholar’s Size

Coming up with an estimate on how many documents are indexed in Google Scholar isn’t easy. One bibliometric team in Spain puts the size at 160 million +/- 10%.

Just how big is Google Scholar? Ummm by Jia You, Science Insider (Sept 30)

… “the researchers report in a study posted to the arXiv preprint server earlier this year and updated this month. The number: 160 million indexed documents (plus or minus 10%), including journal articles, books, case law, and patents.”

Subject Operator in Google Books

Dan Russell describes use of the subject operator in Google Books in his October search challenge (Oct 1). Google Books includes subject headings from Library of Congress or BISAC subject headings from .the Book Industry Studyy Group.  He doesn’t say how or how well items in Google Books are indexed with Library of Congress subject headings or BISAC subject headings. However, the technique does provide context for your query, and will usually yield better results.

He expands on this in the sequel, Answer. You Make Up the Challenge (Oct 3), demonstrating with examples its value in a topical search, and as a browsing tool.

Alternatives to Yelp

Yelp is in hot water. One would think that such a web-savvy company would watch its own reputation. Seems not, if the items in this Make-Use-Of report are true.


Yelp Can’t Be Trusted: Try One Of These Alternatives Now
by Joel Lee, Make Use Of (Oct 1)

Alternatives for local restaurant recommendations in Canada include: FourSquare, UrbanSpoon, TripAdvisor, and Google+ Local. These are mostly international. There are also several others that are for the US.

Searching Social with Mary Ellen Bates

Mary Ellen Bates  has tips for Seriously Searching Social in this latest slideshow presented at Websearch University, September 29. First – be reminded that online social networks are to be used strategically . She shows settings to use at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. Next she covers the Dos and Don’ts of searching social and reviews several strategies.

RIP Yahoo Directory

The Yahoo Directory, which in the early years of web search was the most valuable service, is to be closed.

Searching the Yahoo Directory (2008)

Searching the Yahoo Directory (2008)

This is not a surprise – it began as a guide to better sites, turned somewhat commercial – maybe very commercial, had an overhaul or two that integrated it more with web search (and made it less useful). Directories have been falling away over the past few years – especially the good ones such as the scholarly Intute in the UK. Open Directory still limps along – desperately in need of a new look. In a time when personal curation is so popular – Pinterest as one example – and it is clear that we benefit from reviewing the selections of others, can no one make the subject directory viable?

Yahoo feels no obligation to make it work, and in its announcement hardly acknowledged the importance of the directory.

“While we are still committed to connecting users with the information they’re passionate about, our business has evolved and at the end of 2014 (December 31), we will retire the Yahoo Directory”

The Yahoo Directory — Once The Internet’s Most Important Search Engine — Is To Close Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land (Sept 26)

Sullivan attributes the decline to Google’s success at delivering relevant results to a search query. But I’ll add to this that keyword search suits most searchers and their queries better. In many cases they want an exact answer, not a list of sites that are “about” a topic. However, someone could have designed an amalgam that provided the advantages of handpicked sites, classification, and keyword search. Turns out it wasn’t to be Yahoo.