Google has added the UK to its list of Local Search countries (previously just the US and Canada) at http://local.google.co.uk/. You type in what you are looking for e.g. double glazing, restaurants and the location, which can be a town or postcode. Google then combines information from its web database with Yellow pages. A map is produced alongside the list of results with the locations of the businesses marked on the map. The businesses nearest your location are listed first and subsequent pages of results move further out. When you click on the location on the map, the address pops up and you can also ask for directions. The route from your starting point is marked on the map and there are detailed written instructions, for example “Turn left at Playhatch Road – go 0.6 mi”…
It is not perfect, though. My search on restaurants in Caversham missed three excellent eateries in the centre of the village that are in both Google and Yellow Pages.
If you are fed up with having to register to use free sites try this service. Type in the URL of the site and BugMeNot “lends” you a user name and password. The site claims to have log in details for half a million sites. For Firefox users there is an extension at roachfiend.com BugMeNot. When a site asks for a password, right click and select BugMeNot from the menu. The user name and password fields are automatically filled in.
An interesting tool that runs your search on both Google and Yahoo at the same time. It displays your results in two fames alongside one another in your browser so you can view both sets at the same time. Actually – its better to look at them one at a time; I started to feel seasick trying to compare the results in both sets. If you just want to compare coverage and results between Yahoo and Google for a particular search strategy then use Thumbshots Ranking.
Gigablast Related Pages
This is not like the Google related or similar pages where you start with a single relevant page and ask Google to find other pages similar in type and content. The Gigablast offering works at the search level: you type in your search strategy as usual and near the top of the results list there is a “related” pages section displaying a few extra pages with a more link to other “related” pages.
I found that they do not always appear, especially when you type in a complex or more detailed strategy. Also, I am a bit suspicious as to how these so called related pages are selected. Gigablast gives an example of searching on Colorado activities:
“You will see many webpages which are contextually related to the original query terms, but have no obvious direct connection to them. Many show the word Colorado, but not activities or activity, yet the pages all seem to fit well into the descriptive two-word query Colorado activities.”
“Upon searching for the original query terms within several of these pages, one is left wondering how the Gigablast software code is able to distinguish them as being relevant in the first place. The answers? …proprietary, of course.”
After running a few of my standard test searches, I have the impression that a lot of these pages could be paid-for placements and not many were relevant to my searches. But perhaps I am being uncharitable. More useful to me is the Giga Bits section, which shows alternative search strategies and they are relevant.
ProcessLibrary.com – The online resource for process information!
If you have ever wondered what on earth all those “processes” that appear in Windows Task Manager after you hit Ctrl-Alt-Del are doing, this is the site for you. Type in the full name of the process, for example dragdiag.exe, and ProcessLibrary will tell you what it does and whether it is legit, spyware, a virus or a trojan.
The database is free and maintained by a company called UniBlue. They sell a program called WinTasks Pro which helps deal with any nasty processes that you may have on your computer so they have a vested interest in providing the database. If, though, you are not sure how to remove the bad guys from your system or they just keep popping back up, it may be worth investing USD 49.95 in the program. In any case, the ProcessLibrary is still a very useful resource.
Google News Sources
Google does not provide a list of sources for its News service, but this site runs a php script that captures the Google News home page every 15 minutes and then logs the news sources it finds. You can view sources for all countries or select an individual country from the drop down list. However, the country option does not appear to be very accurate so probably best to stick to the “all” option. As of April 5th, a total of 2990 sources were listed.
The default listing is by source, but you can change that to Frequency- that is by the number of articles per source. According to this site, the top 10 so far are:
El Universal (México)
New York Times
Another gem from Phil Bradley’s blog (I don’t know where Phil finds these sites!). You put in your search strategy and then BananaSlug adds a random search term. Alternatively you can select a category for your random word – e.g. animals, great ideas, random number, themes from Shakespeare.
The idea behind this site is to promote serendipitous surfing. By adding a random term, which may or may not be relevant, you pull up pages that are buried way down in the results list and which you would probably never see. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
BananaSlug uses the Google APIs and is limited to 1000 queries a day. If the site is past the limit, you are diverted to Google with your search term and random word.
Ask Jeeves Blog: The Future of Search Arrives: Introducing The Jeeves9000 (BETA)
Ask Jeeves has joined in the April 1st spate of beta launches with their Jeeves9000 humanoid search robot. The claim is that this is a product that is both cool and useful. Forget about web search, Jeeves9000 can do really important things like operate light switches, door knobs, and garage door openers. “This innovation brings search to previously unimaginable levels of relevance, speed, and ease of use.”
“The Jeeves9000 will initially retail for $399.99. We will also introduce a free, ad-supported model, which will spontaneously offer product demonstrations on behalf of our sponsors.”
Google April Fool’s Search
Search 401,000 pages covering anything and everything to do with April Fool’s Day. You may also be interested in the lunar job under the Work at Google link!
Another great service from Google – but still in beta – and launched on April 1st:-)
Designed to “quench your thirst for knowledge”, Google Gulp is “a line of “smart drinks” designed to maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, and less thirsty.” Plus “it’s low in carbs! And with flavors ranging from Beta Carroty to Glutamate Grape, you’ll never run out of ways to quench your thirst for knowledge.”
The FAQ tells you all you need to know about Google Gulp from how it works (“to comprehend the long version of this answer, you’d need a PhD (from Stanford, natch)”) to when will Google Gulp come out of beta, to which their response is:
“Man, if you pressure us, you just drive us away. We’ll commit when we’re ready, okay? Besides, what’s so great about taking things out of beta? It ruins all the romance, the challenge, the possibilities, the right to explore. Carpe diem, ya know? Maybe we’re jaded, but we’ve seen all these other companies leap headlong into 1.0, thinking their product is exactly what they’ve been dreaming of all their lives, that everything is perfect and hunky-dory and the next thing you know some vanilla copycat release from Redmond is kicking their butt, the Board is holding emergency meetings and the CEO is on CNBC blathering sweatily about “a new direction” and “getting back to basics.” No thanks, man. We like our freedom.”