Blog Archives

Norway, IFTTT, White House, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, January 17, 2014

The National Library of Norway has put over 135,000 in-copyright books online for free — and the authors get paid and everything!

Georgia Tech researchers have analyzed over 45,000 projects on Kickstarter and have developed a list of the phrases that pay (literally).

Happy 13th birthday Wikipedia!

PC World (WARNING! PC WORLD!) offers an IFTTT article 10 IFTTT recipes to make you more productive at work.

Mashable opines that the Yahoo comeback is smoke and mirrors. The comments on ad buying especially resonate with me. As someone who has been buying Google AdWords regularly for a few years (it’s one of the things I do at the warehouse), I’m astonished how much easier it’s been to develop and implement campaigns at Facebook and Google AdWords over time — even FourSquare. But as a small business advertiser, I’m still beating my head against Yahoo.

So Facebook is now offering trending topics — but you still can’t keyword search public posts from the site? AW, C’MON FACEBOOK!

The White House is covering all the bases for a social State of the Union address.

Techmeme is expanding its event listings. They’re still tech, and still expected to be fairly large in scope, but they are not necessarily expected to be Techmeme headline generators. Good afternoon, 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!

Yahoo, Twitter, OLPC, More: Wednesday Buzz, January 8, 2014

Yahoo has launched Yahoo Food and Yahoo Tech. “Like your favorite glossy magazine for the digital world, Yahoo Food and Yahoo Tech marry the elegant design and bold imagery of traditional magazines with immersive bite-sized stories, engaging videos, and stunning photos curated from Flickr and across the web.” I hope this is not a flip-off to the search engine…

Yahoo has also announced Yahoo News Digest, a twice a day summary of news sent to your phone. “Our Digests provide a definitive summary of all the need-to-know news so you can stay on top of what’s happening.” I’m not enthused; these kinds of digests are inevitably too broad for me.

Twitter for Researchers, part #22521: using it to measure how many people make resolutions about substance use and abuse. The last line of the article made me laugh out loud: “In related news, here’s how to set your Twitter account to private.”

More Twitter: It will issue its first quarterly report on February 5th and, naturally, take questions via Twitter.

One Laptop Per Child has announced (via press release) an XO-Learning app store.

Mashable is crowdsourcing attendee photos from CES.

Biz Stone has launched Jelly, which is a mobile app that sounds like a blend of social network and Q&A site. Anybody tried it? I’m intrigued but I have such bad luck asking questions on Quora. 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!

Google, Yahoo, Creative Commons, Genealogy, More: Morning Buzz, July 31, 2012

Now available: a map of storm surge data for over 400 storms worldwide: “Needham scoured more than 67 sources to create a database of storm surge heights along the Gulf Coast from 1880 through 2011, including more than 250 surges in the north Atlantic region.”

The Utah Historical Society is starting an online photo archive documenting Topaz, a Utah internment camp for Japanese during WWII. “It has 220 images, showing everything from schoolchildren saying the Pledge of Allegiance to a New Year’s Eve party to agricultural work crews.”

So apparently Google still has some gathered WiFi data after claiming over a year ago that all of it was deleted. The HELL, Google?

TechCrunch has an article about Mashape, which is an API — aggregation? Broker? Hub? Something.

Interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn has left Yahoo. Kind of surprised about that, unless he wasn’t planning to stick for anything but the CEO slot. And apparently he’s not the only one.

Wanna take a guess about how many Creative Commons-licensed videos are up on YouTube? Try over four million.

You can now Google Chat with multiple people (or you’ll be able to soon — Google’s still rolling out the feature.)

Ubuntu 12.10 has hit Alpha 3.

The National Archives has put up more videos of its genealogy workshops. They’re available at YouTube; there are 23 videos there now.

Now you can timelapse the Earth! “Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, working with colleagues at Google and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), have adapted their technology for interactively exploring time-lapse imagery to create a tool that enables anyone to easily access 13 years of NASA Landsat images of the Earth’s surface.” Good morning, Internet…

Maps, Yahoo, Rhode Island, More: Morning Buzz, July 17, 2012

A huge map digitization project is nearly finished. “The United States Geological Survey has nearly completed its project to digitize over 200,000 topographical maps and create a free, searchable online archive.” (Look at the maps in the comments.)

The Providence Journal has launched a new tool for tracking new businesses incorporated in Rhode Island.

Is Spool going to Give Facebook a “Read it Later” feature? One can only hope…

Google has added panoramic images of the Antarctic.

Coming in September: an archive devoted to “audiovisual memory in the Mediterranean”.

Congratulations to Googler (ex-Googler) Marissa Mayer for her appointment as the Yahoo CEO. I can’t wait to see what she does with the Yahoo properties. Good morning, Internet…

Gardens, Yahoo, Facebook, Type-History, More: Morning Buzz, December 21, 2011

A database of public and private gardens around the world: Over 1800 listed. There’s a database of plant origins as well.

Google has added to its personalized phone call from Santa, the ability to send a personalized video. It’s a lot more personalized than I expected. Sadly, not even Santa can pronounce my name correctly but I fell out when he said “Schmoopie”. put out a press release about its top searches for 2011. (Minecraft beat by Webkinz? Really?)

Yahoo gets more integrated with Facebook. (Press release.) Hmm. Y’know, if Facebook bought Yahoo….

Speaking of Facebook, it’s going to put “Sponsored Stories” in its news feed starting next year. Ewww…

Silly: Google won’t give you walking directions to Mordor.

Wow, I love the idea of the Type Heritage Project. “The Type Heritage Project [THP] discovers and documents the histories of digital display fonts originally designed between c1800 and World War I…” Not much going on yet, though. Good morning, Internet…

Yahoo Clues Shows Demographics Behind Searches

In a move that makes Google Trends look like a sick chicken, Yahoo has announced Yahoo Clues, a tool that allows you to see the demographics behind Yahoo Searches, from gender to age group to location to income. (Yahoo explicity states the income information is used by matching zip code data to information from the Census Bureau; I suppose the age and gender information is gathered from logged-in users. You can try Clues at

This is not a Web search tool per se, it’s more a tool to see how other people do Web searching. Looking at how other people phrase queries and develop searches will help you increase the flexibility of your brain and your search queries, so this is a good thing. (Though on the other hand not entirely comfortable sometimes, as you’ll see shortly.)

Start with the query box in the upper left corner; you can enter one search term or two search terms to do a comparison. I chose World of Warcraft.

Yahoo Clues defaults to a 30-day view for query information, but you can also look at a 7-day or 1-day view. The popularity of the query is presented on a 1 to 100 point scale; no absolute numbers are given.

The information screen starts with a query popularity graph, then moves to information about the age and gender breakdown for the query. If you click on a group, you can also find out what other related queries are interesting to that group. (The fact that world of warcraft cakes was a populary query for several groups is interesting, but I really did not need to know about the popularity of sexy world of warcraft art.) Toggle links let you show just the gender and age breakdown for a query.

Beneath these stats you’ll also get information on the income of people making the queries (gained from the Census Bureau as described above) and the popularity of the query across various US states (Yahoo makes sure the state populations are weighed so that the most populous states do not constantly show up in the list of states with the most queries.)

Yahoo notes that “Currently, only Yahoo! Search information originating from the United States is available,” which sounds to me like there are plans for more locations over time.

Finally underneath all that are a list of related searches and a “search flow,” showing the evolution of a query (users searched for this which led to this which lead to this query….) The search flow is great for you as a searcher; it helps you get an insight to how people think when searching. (The more ways you can think, the more ways you can search, and the better you’ll be at finding stuff.) At the very bottom are links for you to share your search via Facebook or Twitter.

The thing that occurred to me immediately upon using this was: where’s the state or metro area restriction? Say I’m a used car dealership in Ohio. I want to be able to get the demographic information for my state (or better yet, metro area.) If I know that the demographic breakdown for people searching on “used cars” is heavily slanted toward one gender and one age group, maybe I can take that information and use it when deciding my target demographic when creating, say, a Facebook campaign to promote my dealership. However since the initial search covers all the US, I can’t get demographic information for an area important to my state (though maybe I’ll play with that discovered demographic anyway when developing my FB ads.)

I encourage you to play with Yahoo Clues. Think about how you would approach a search problem, plug in your query, and see how other demographic groups are handling it. Warning: this can turn into a real timesink!

Yahoo Adds Search Features

Ever since Yahoo hooked up with Bing I figured that was the end of Yahoo’s search enhancements and changes. I figured everything would be Bing Bing Bing. That appears not to be the case; late last week Yahoo announced yet more enhancements to its search engine. As I understand it these changes are currently being rolled out to users in the US and will be added to additional markets in 2011.

Yahoo said in its announcement that the best way to learn about these new enhancements would be to search Yahoo, and invited users to start by searching for topics such as “Lady Gaga.” But it’s funny; I meant to type “Lady Gaga” and I ended up typing “Engelbert Humperdinck”. Go figure. But it worked, anyway.

Engelbert had a tab of his own at the top of the screen showing an album, with links to immediately start playing some of his music. Within seconds I was listening to Handbags and Gladrags. The tab had other tabs further to the right, showing me a collection of Engelbert images and tweets. (Well. One tweet.) Curious to see if more recent performers provided more information, I started typing “Lady Gaga” again but this time I ended up with “Laurie Anderson.” Hmm. Laurie Anderson had additional tabs at the top of the screen, including an “Overview” tab and a tab for videos. The video I wanted to look at didn’t play in-window like Engelbert did; I had to go to MySpace to get my ration of O Superman.

Yahoo also suggested searching for movies, put my attempt to type “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” ended up as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” (I don’t know WHAT is wrong with this keyboard…) While it was as extensive as the multitabs, I did get a poster, critic ratings, and a brief summary. (Yahoo’s Movies property has a page with even more information.)

The tabbed information windows at the top of the page are not limited to musicians. I got tabbed pages for people like Andre Agassi and Steve Ballmer (though not, strangely, for Bill Gates.) Currently-active athletes (I tried Brett Favre and Coco Crisp) don’t have tabs but do have information about their current sports statistics.

New additions to Yahoo aren’t limited to the Web site. The image search now has a slideshow across the top of its results, and I understand if you connect your Yahoo account to your Facebook account, you can also access public Facebook albums from Facebook friends.

Nothing Yahoo did in these upgrades is going to set the world on fire, but it’s a pleasant organization of information. I like the way the audio was integrated into the search results page but that makes me just want to see more.


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