At times, I've found that Wikipedia's internal search engine is sometimes a little bit lackluster: on occasion, I legitimately can't find what I'm looking for. This will probably improve somewhat when Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launches his Wikiasari search engine. Though it's apparently going to be a search engine for the whole Web, not just Wikipedia, I'm betting that the technology could have an effect on improving the online encyclopedia's internal search capabilities.
There are a few niches of the "new Internet" that are just about full. Social networking that doesn't gear to a particular sub-group is one of them (though I'd argue that there's still ample room for niche social networks, like this one that we looked at a few days ago). So is broadband video. But start-ups in both those categories keep trying to find ways to stand out: one of those, I've seen, is by putting an emphasis on search engine optimization (SEO). In the video category, we saw this with Veotag. And on … Read more
Everyone's lost something. In most cases, retracing your steps results in either a quick find or the impromptu reorganization of your linen closet. TheFoundBin is a new service that helps both losers and finders come together through the Internet. Craigslist and LostAndFound have been doing this for a few years now, but TheFoundBin has some helpful features and a visual appeal that the others don't.
The weirdest Google competitor I've seen so far is ChaCha, an assisted search company. What that means is that you have a text-chat conversation with a person on the other end of the search engine, someone who's supposedly an expert, and they help you find the info you're looking for.
I tried finding a hotel in Austin for the South by Southwest conference by entering "sxsw," and I was connected to a nice person in the "conditions and diseases" category. A poor start to my ChaCha experience, but she did a yeoman's … Read more
A new study concludes that some eBay users are artificially boosting their reputations on the Internet auction Web site by selling items for practically nothing in exchange for positive feedback from the buyer. Sellers with good reputations can seek higher prices on items they sell, according to the study out of the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business.
Under eBay's reputation system, buyers and sellers can submit feedback to each other after a transaction. Some merchants are selling items at minimal prices, such as 1 cent. They then hope that grateful buyers will give them … Read more
A new Web site offers a way for people to get rid of their stuff without having to sell it at a yard sale or just dump it. Gigoit.org (which stands for garbage in, garbage out) is a nonprofit that offers a sort of online marketplace for people to exchange stuff that they don't want anymore but is still usable. You can search for specific items (for example, floor lamp, leather coat, coffeemaker) within so many miles of your ZIP code or see recently posted items in your area. There is no cost to post or acquire items. … Read more
It's pretty obvious: Everyone's talking about Apple's iPhone, from its touch-screen interface to the "close to the ear" sensor to the fact that it's actually called the iPhone (since Linksys did get there first.) But from our perspective, one of the most fascinating and least-talked-about aspects of the just-announced iPhone is Apple's collaboration with Web giants Google and Yahoo on some of the new device's features.
More specifically, Apple has teamed up with Google to bring two of its most popular Web applications to the iPhone: Google Search and Maps. Google's … Read more
Last August, I covered MyCroft, which was making a unique service that broke down tasks, such as translation, that could only be done well by humans. It spread out these tasks as challenges on advertising banners. Cool idea, but it was so way out there that it was unlikely to succeed. And indeed, is hasn't. The company has renamed itself inChorus and launched a new service with that name that takes the original MyCroft concept in a new direction. I got the skinny at last night's Silicon Valley New Tech Meetup.
Now, instead of challenging random users to … Read more
Google appears to have listened to criticism and pulled its controversial "Tips," in which it promoted its products above organic results on the company's Web search page.
For instance, searches for "Calendar," "Blogging" and "Photo Sharing" showed links to Google products like Google Calendar, Blogger and Picasa above the regular search results. Google's self promotion was roundly criticized in blogs.
There are a few big question-and-answer sites out there--including Microsoft's QnA and Yahoo Answers--which partly explains why the small Q&A site FunAdvice.com has only 26,000 answers on it, even though it's been online since 2003. But FunAdvice has one feature that's unique (as far as I know): a widget that lists your outstanding questions, or latest answers, or areas of expertise (your choice). See my question widget at right.
FunAdvice doesn't rely on a points system like the big sites to encourage participation, nor will it help you monetize your expertise … Read more