David Byrne, Kickstarter, Pennsylvania Roller Coasters, More: Sunday Morning Buzz, May 18, 2014

David Byrne thinks Google is Evil. Read the article and then wonder if Google will dare fling a C&D at him for the logo job.

Which UK and US universities are the most infuential on Twitter, according to THE? http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/top-100-most-influential-uk-and-us-universities-on-twitter/2013373.article

From Amit Agarwal – Getting more advanced GMail filters with Google Scripts.

Bing has added more “Snapshot” information, this time for food and drugs.

Copyblogger has posted an extensive article on its lessons from running a Kickstarter campaign.

What should you post on Pinterest? Apparently it depends on the day of the week.

Yow. Yahoo Likely to Slip Below 10% Search Share Next Month. “In July 2009 when the Microsoft-Yahoo search deal was first announced Yahoo had 19.3 percent of the US search market according to comScore data. Microsoft had 8.9 percent. Now the numbers are almost exactly reversed and Google’s share is 3 points higher than in 2009. So much for strengthening competition.” I guess the question “Is Yahoo a search or a media company” is pretty much moot; it better be a media company or it’s doomed.

Google Play, now with PayPal support.

Facebook continues its quest to belt sand all my nerves with the addition of an ‘Ask’ button. “Now, when Facebook users peek at friends in their network on desktop Web browsers, they’ll see an ‘ask’ button on a profile’s top-left ‘about’ box when pertinent information has been left blank. (These ‘ask’ buttons also appear when clicking through a user’s profile on mobile browsers.)”

Pennsylvania’s amusement park safety records are going online. “Just four inspectors in the department’s Bureau of Ride and Measurement Standards cover 800 ride operators. Reports last year showed flaws in how the department handles inspection records, said Michael Rader, executive director of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.”

The British Library wants your help tagging its comic art.

Google has released a Hangouts extension for Outlook. Good morning, Internet…

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19th Century Medical Books, Bing, Archives, More: Thursday Morning Buzz, March 27, 2014

Bing has launched product ads.

Twitter is going to let you tag people in photos. You’ll also be able to share multiple photos in one tweet, which is nice.

Library and Archives Canada has launched an initial set of Alberta Residential School photos. More are coming. “Some 150,000 Aboriginal children attended over 130 residential schools located across the country.”

The Wellcome Library has undertaken a huge project to digitize 25,000 19th century medical books. “As with the Wellcome Library’s own collections we are interpreting ‘medicine’ quite broadly, to include related sciences, consumer health, sport and fitness and food and nutrition, as well as kinds of medical practice – mesmerism, phrenology and hydrotherapy, for example – that have since fallen out of favour, but which were important in their time.”

OOoooh, Lifehacker! How to stream your movie collection anywhere with Google Drive. This article also goes into other media like music.

Fun from Mashable: 10 Amazing Google Earth & Maps Discoveries.

More Google: A new Web tool lets you search Google without being tracked: “Disconnect routes your searches through a proxy before the major search engines receive your request. This way, it looks to Google or Bing like the search request is coming from Disconnect and they never know any information about you.”

A bunch of new collections are available at Archives.com. “These birth, death, and marriage indexes from Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, and Montana contain more than 10 million records.” Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Bing, Twitter, Fold3, More: Wednesday Morning Buzz, February 12, 2014

Interesting: a Web service that aggregates quotes you gather across the Internet. It’s called Gloss.

Have you heard about OpportunitySpace? It’s developing online databases of publicly-owned land and buildings in various municipal areas, and has launched its first properties database, for Louisville, Kentucky. “The comprehensive catalog brings together property data from various government agencies and centralizes it in a single, searchable website that is free and open to the public. One of its current uses is for the city’s ‘Lots of Possibilities’ land use redevelopment competition for vacant properties, in which residents can submit ideas to repurpose a vacant lot in the city.”

Duke Digital Collections has added over 300 newly-digitized interviews to its Behind the Veil: Documenting African-American Life in the Jim Crow South digital collection. ” The new interviews are specifically focussed on North Carolina residents. Although several regions are represented, many interviews focus on the Charlotte, Durham and Enfield regions of the state.”

In recognition of Black History Month, Fold3 is making all publications in its Black History Collection free through the end of February.

Apparently Twitter is testing an interface design that looks a lot like Facebook. Because all Facebook users are just thrilled with how Facebook presents content, right? I think my head just exploded.

If this is true, ewww! Bing! Is Bing censoring Chinese-language search results in the US? “Searches first conducted by anti-censorship campaigners at FreeWeibo, a tool that allows uncensored search of Chinese blogs, found that Bing returns radically different results in the US for English and Chinese language searches on a series of controversial terms.”

More Bing: Bing is now offering Bitcoin conversion. (And Google apparently still isn’t?)

What a lovely idea for a Tumblr: curated public domain photos.

Old schoolin': apparently the Search Engine Watch forums have gone offline. But is it for good? Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Bing’s Buffet of Special Syntax

Monday was a historic day — I gave my first BingSquee. That is, I read an entry in a Bing blog, looked up the associated content, and my resulting “SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!” was heard for miles around. I’m fairly sure I broke windows.

What was I squeememorating? This recent post on the Bing Community blog, noting that there’s now a guide to Bing query language. Now, there are few things I like more than a good collection of query syntax for search engines. And when I saw Bing’s, I was thrilled. Let me show you some of the highlights, but I also want to encourage you to explore the syntax for yourself.

The guide actually comes in several flavors for but I’m focusing on the HTML version, available at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff795667.aspx. Before you dive into the syntax take a look at the Operator Precedence page, so you can be sure you’re setting things up in the right order. Then click on “Advanced Operator Reference” for lots of fun, including:

contains: — Used with a keyword and finds pages that have links to a specific kind of filetype (as opposed to filetype:, which finds results of a specific kind of filetype.) For example, specification template contains:pdf.

inbody: — Searches for a specified words just in the HTML or metadata of a web page. For example, site:edu inbody:”key performance indicator”.

near: — A real proximity syntax! Use near: with an integer to specify two keywords and how close they should be to each other. For example, “web-based” near:3 dashboard.

norelax: — Apparently Bing has a pretty hard query word restriction: “Bing implements relaxcount for a 5+ word query by default; that is, the fifth word in a query and subsequent appears do not necessarily appear in results.” norelax: used with a query word means it would not be subject to this restriction. You can get a good sense of how this works by trying to query one two three four five snowblower avocado, which gives you about 6200 results, and the query one two three four five norelax:snowblower norelax:avocado, which has 3,920. (That still seems like a lot…)

This list isn’t, of course, all the syntax available, just what I thought was the most interesting. I was also intrigued by feed:, which was supposed to find RSS/ATOM feeds, and hasfeed:, which was supposed to find sites containing feeds, but I couldn’t get either of them to work. Most of the syntax I played with allowed you to stack it together (site:gov contains:pdf “proposed budget” or intitle:news contains:pdf site:edu norelax:autism norelax:study but I didn’t do exhaustive testing.

I knew Bing offered some special syntax but I wasn’t aware it was this extensive. If the feed: option worked I could see myself using that a lot. I will definitely compare the near: operator to the old trick I currently use with Google (“web-based * * dashboard”). Worth a look.

Bing Gets More Entertaining

Search engine Bing has been putting up several blog posts this week highlighting new elements of its search engine. I have mentioned a couple of these in Morning Buzz, but I think the recent update about new entertainment content deserves its own post.

If you want to browse through entertainment content, you can go straight to http://www.bing.com/entertainment, but you can also get content as well.

First up is music. You can now get a lot of music information from a simple search. The one I’m most excited about, though, is lyrics. There are about a jillion places online to find lyrics, but many of them are loaded with ads and its’ not easy to tell sometimes which ones are safe and which aren’t. Now with Bing you can do a search for artist songname and you’ll get a result that shows a song with a lyrics link. Click on the link and you’ll get the lyrics to the song with writer credits without leaving Bing. This even works when you’re doing a search for lyrics, though you may have to do some URL hacking to get there. Check out this search: http://www.bing.com/music/lyrics/search?q=sipping+a+cup+of+pity.

A couple of notes on lyric search: it doesn’t seem to be censored, and I didn’t see an easy way to set the filter. Some of the most innocuous searches will get you some pretty wild results — I don’t think I’d let kids use this search without supervision. Also, many lyrics are presented colloquially; if you’re trying to find Dierks Bentley’s What Was I Thinkin’ you’ll have to search for hood slidin’ like Bo Duke because hood sliding like Bo Duke won’t get you any results. Experiment.

You’ll notice this result also gives you a “play” icon for this particular song (Soul Sloshing, by Venus Hum.) When I clicked it though, I got a “coming soon” popup, as I did for Gov’t Mule, Modest Mouse, Jane Siberry, and other searches I tried. I didn’t explore this further.

If you get tired of looking at music you can play a game or two. Bing has information on about 35,000 games, which it notes includes reviews, cheats, and walkthroughs. I had mixed results with this feature. I got results for Final Fantasy and Super Mario Brothers but not for Civ IV or Civilization IV. I didn’t get results for Mario Kart but I did get results for Mario Kart 64. This is another arena where you’ll have to experiment.

Bing has also embedded about 100 casual games that you can play from the search engine itself including, unfortunately, Bookworm. (Just search for Bookworm and you’ll get a link to the game and an invitation to play. You don’t have to be logged in unless you want your high score recorded.) Drat you, Bing…

If playing games is too much work Bing now offers episodes from over 1500 television shows. You can browse everything that’s available at http://www.bing.com/videos/browse/tv/all?q=browse:tv/all#, which I recommend because it took me a while to find a show doing random Bing searches. I saw soap operas, dramas, lots of reality television, and anime. You can filter by recent or popular items, or narrow down your search to clips or full episodes. There are also a couple of different duration options.

Bing has gathered a good strong set of content here, and also has wisely emphasized the issue of safety. However I wish that aspect of it had been explored a little further with quick filters being available for lyric searches. Definitely worth an explore, though I’m going to try to avoid Bookworm. If you never see another post on ResearchBuzz again you’ll know why…