SpaceTime is a new tool for searching the Web in three dimensions. You can search using Google and Yahoo, or dig deeper into niche services like eBay and Flickr. Results show up in a swirling sky-like environment where you can sort through rendered pages in stacks, similar to Windows Vista's Flip 3D window-shuffling effect and the upcoming Time Machine in OSX Leopard. You can maneuver around any page, and zoom back and forth. To see any result up close, just double-click on it and it will revert to a customized browser window that's running a shelled version of … Read more
Here's a terrible idea that's a fantastic business: TelID. What the company does is simple. It creates Web pages or redirects for phone numbers. If you register your number with the service, when users go to the Web address telid.com/[yournumber], they'll get redirected to your site, or to a single page that TelID will host for you.
Ask.com tonight is launching a new interface and a few cool new features for its search engine, which it's calling Ask3D (see CNET News.com's story). The company's AskX experimental search interface previewed many of its features.
The first thing users will notice is an attractive new home page, with pretty buttons to narrow a search by type, such as images, maps, or blogs. Users can select one of several photos as a background image on the main search interface. (In the future, you'll be able to use your own image). When you begin to type in a query, a drop-down box gives you suggestions to fill it out.
The new interface splits up search result pages into three panes. In the middle, you get your ads (by Google) and your main links. If there's an editorially created "smart answer," as there is for a popular query like "Speed Racer," you'll get a useful little blurb above everything else. Ask.com's editorial team, like Mahalo's, creates content for the most popular results (Mahalo also curates search results, which is a useful additional service).
Many results have a spyglass icon, which will display a snapshot of the search result when you hover over it (like CoolIris.com does), as well as displaying useful stats such as the page size and the load time.
On the left of the main pane, you get links related to your search. For example, in the "Speed Racer" search, under "narrow," there are links to search on ringtones, facts, the Mach 5, and so on. These links do a very good job of conveying the context of the search you're looking at.
Sproose is a relatively young search engine that now allows its users to control search results via voting. Each search result gets its own vote count and the option to click "I like it," which brings the result up to the top of the heap. The obvious comparison here is Digg.
Sproose searches through videos, using Blinkx, although these results cannot be re-ordered or voted on. Users can also opt-in to have their votes recorded on their profiles for others to see and vote on. All results get their own comment area, where users can talk--although I doubt … Read more
Loki, the location aware browser plug-in updated its service for use on Macs and mobile phones earlier this week. Previously, Loki users were relegated to Windows. The new Mac version of the Loki is in fact not a toolbar like its Windows counterpart. Instead, users get contextual menu support, and pop up notifications of third party sites that have been Loki-enabled using the developer API. Loki's creators insist that people who use these services enjoy having them available all the time, just not taking up their browsers real estate--which I agree with.
Google Image Search can now tell the difference between a picture that has a face in it and one that doesn't. But don't get too excited. it can't tell one face from another.
Technically, what Google can now do is similar to what some digital cameras do: Recognize faceness. Cameras do it to lock in focus; Google does it to separate pictures into "people" and "not people" buckets.
This feature is not in general release yet, but you can play with it. Here's how: Do an image search. For example, try a … Read more
On stage at D5, on what will later be known as Google Day, Walt Mossberg asked Google CEO Eric Schmidt about the the $1 billion Viacom lawsuit against YouTube. "It was probably just a mistake," he said.
Schmidt began his upcoming legal defense on the stage: "It's really about the DMCA. It's pretty clear that there's a safe haven for sites like ours."
Walt asked if Schmidt believed in intellectual property. He does, but said that the law says that in this case responsibility for enforcing copyright should be shared, and … Read more
Want to know the origin and popularity of your name? Wonder why you love certain names and hate others?
Nymbler provides shorthand to figuring out what names you might like, based on 6 names you choose for inspiration. You can type in your own suggestions or choose from a list to start. You can then change your inspiration, as Nymbler makes suggestions.
Nymbler uses an algorithm that identifies patterns in personal taste, then makes educated suggestions based on those through its "Hunch Engine." Names are analyzed for things like ethnicity and historic popularity, as well as consonance and … Read more
Google has acquired Panoramio, a community Web site that allows people to "map" their photos on Google Earth. The technology links the exact geographical location of where the photos were taken with that location on the map. Users can also view the photos in Google Earth and search and browse others' photos.
Panoramio has been a default layer in Google Earth since the beginning of this year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but there is a bit more information at the Official Google Blog. The company will move its operations to Zurich, where Google's European … Read more
In a world filled with Google alternatives, this search tool is different even from them: it's powered by humans. Instead of a server farm that crawls through the entire known Web so it can automatically match Web pages to the queries you type, Mahalo's search results are created by humans, in anticipation of the queries its users will type in.
How can this possibly work? Because, Calacanis says, the top 10,000 search terms account for 24 percent of all searches. If you can create great results for the top results, users will learn to appreciate the difference between machine search results--which are often thrown off by spam and poor-quality links--and human-powered search pages, lovingly created by caring search editors. For the obscure "long tail" queries that make up the 76 percent of search terms, Mahalo will serve up Google results.
In the demo I got last night, in advance of Calacanis hitting the D5 stage today, he showed me a few results that were demonstrably better than what Google would return, both in content and presentation. Searching for "Paris Hotel," for example, gave a list of great links, clearly chosen by someone who knows the difference between a link farm and a real travel site. Also, the links are categorized in the way a human would set them up: by general price category. A search on "Corvette," had similarly good links, as well as RSS feeds from appropriate car fan blogs, a stats box showing information about the current Corvette model year, a list of links to cars that Corvette buyers might also be looking at, and other sections of relevant links and info.