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.
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…
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…
A database of public and private gardens around the world: http://gardengatewaysphototours.com/. 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”.
Dogpile.com 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…
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 http://clues.yahoo.com/.
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!
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.
Yahoo has announced a new site to cover the November 2010 midterm elections in the United States. It’s called Ask America and is available right now at http://askamerica.yahoo.com.
Once the Flash intro loads (zzzz) You’re asked to choose a topic, and then to vote on a question related to that topic. Once you’ve voted, you’re invited to leave a comment. (You have to log in to Yahoo to leave a comment, of course.) I took a look at a few issues and the comments left. The issues that are most at the center of
partisan debate seem to have the most inane comments (“It’s Bush’s fault!” “No, it’s Obama’s fault!”) while the ones that are not currently in the spotlight seems to have somewhat more articulate comments.
(Here’s my standard: “It’s so-and-so’s fault” is an inane comment. “It’s so-and-so’s fault because of these thought-about arguments” is generally not an inane comment. I might not agree with it, but I won’t consider it inane.)
You can choose states instead, though not every state is represented. I chose Virginia and the first voting card read: “Are stories like the Salahi gatecrashers distracting the public from more important issues?” Apparently it wasn’t distracting the public enough because I had no idea what that card was talking about. However underneath that card there were links to top news stories from sources like Yahoo and The New York Times. So now I know who those people are though I don’t feel like much of an informed American because of it.
I like the design — once it loads — and it’s clear a lot of effort has been put into creating sets of relevant questions both for topics and states. The question is, what is the Yahoo community going to do with this lovely design and potential for deep discourse?
Yahoo announced last week that its search suggestions will now be sensitive to where you are. Read the blog post for examples of why searching for santa in one place will get you different results from searching santa in another place.
I dunno. I tried it and it didn’t do that much for me. I started typing airport and I got suggestions for JFK airport and the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Neither one of those is anywhere near me. I started typing North for North Carolina, and got the suggestion of Northwest Airlines. Yay.
After a few more searches I admit I could not see where the geographically-sensitive part was kicking in. But on the other hand I’m not deeply disappointed; if I’m looking for something local I either a) know enough about it to be able to search very specifically or b) include a location in the query itself.
As you’ll see if you read Yahoo’s announcement there’s apparently no way to turn this off, but frankly I’m not sure you’ll even notice it. But a note in the comments if you’re having more meaningful experience with this new feature.