For example, if you search for "Kentucky," you will get sets of Kentucky state maps, Kentucky flags, the Kentucky Derby, and various scenery of the state. As you drill down further into the results, you get to see more tightly refined sets of images based on what you choose.
With the holiday shopping season creeping up, you may have a child on your shopping list who longs for a special toy. However, you may worry that the toy you are considering is unsafe for your child and perhaps the environment. Thankfully, there are resources online that offer advice on which products may be unsafe to your child.
If you're a parent, this set of resources is definitely worth checking out.Keep Kids Safe
Consumer Product Safety Commission There is probably no better place to go first when looking for safe children's toys than the U.S. government's Consumer Product Safety Commission page.
When you get to the CPSC site, you'll be able to search for all the recalls and issues that have arisen with toys. You can also see some of the most recent recalls by simply clicking on the appropriate month above the search box. In either case, the site lists all the recalls during the specified period, why it was recalled, and information on how to return the item. The site also features images of the products to help you determine if the toy you've purchased is of concern. Even better, you can follow the CPSC on Twitter or Facebook to receive updates on new recalls as they are announced. The CPSC Web site, while poorly designed, is a must-see for any parent.
GoodGuide If you're looking for data on what you should be providing your kids with, GoodGuide is the place to be.
GoodGuide offers a listing of healthy foods, household products, and toys that are suitable for children. GoodGuide's Toy section lists the level of lead, mercury, chlorine, and other harmful chemicals in the toy. Green means the toy doesn't have contain the respective harmful chemical, while red means that there are high levels of a chemical in a toy. You can also dig down into each listing to determine if the company that created the product has a good reputation. I was impressed by the number of toys GoodGuide offered. I think any parent will like GoodGuide.… Read more
Perhaps in a sign of how the plague of social media has numbed us all to the value of legitimate human connections, the New Oxford American Dictionary has picked the verb "unfriend," or "to remove someone as a 'friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook," as its 2009 Word of the Year.
At the very least, it's a testament to the ubiquity of Facebook, which now has well over 300 million members around the world.
Facebook itself takes the process of "friending" and "unfriending" very seriously. It once sent warning notes to players of a third-party game called PackRat … Read more
The next time you search Google for life expectancies or number of Internet users in the U.S., you'll find the specific figures plus an interactive chart letting you compare the U.S. with other countries.
Since Wednesday, Google has been tapping into data from the World Bank to provide key details and interactive charts on specific topics along with its own search results. The goal is to better help you search for and compare certain types of public data.
The World Bank is providing Google with facts and figures on 17 key indicators, including population growth, fertility rate, gross national product, and energy use.
Enter one of the 17 indicators into a Google search. You can phrase it as the specific indicator, for example, "population world," or type it as a natural question: "What is the population of the world?"
At the top of the search results, you'll find a thumbnail chart along with the latest statistics. (According to the World Bank, 72.4 percent of the U.S. population is on the Internet as of 2008.) Click on the chart or accompanying link, and up pops a larger interactive graph where you can visually compare the U.S. with other countries by clicking on their check boxes.
You can embed the chart's HTML in your own blog or Web page and opt for the data to be updated automatically anytime the World Bank's information changes. Finally, a link for more info brings you directly to the World Bank's Web site where you can dig further into the results of your search.
This latest partnership with World Bank is part of Google's effort to offer data beyond that which it can grab from your average Web page. Back in April, the search giant started integrating stats and charts from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But the World Bank is the first source to provide global data for Google. The World Bank's figures come from its World Development Indicators (WDI), a collection of data derived from its own research and that of 30 other sources. The global data includes statistics on social, financial, and environmental areas encompassing more than 100 different countries.… Read more
Mint launched a new tool on Thursday that gives users real-time updates on the latest personal-finance topics hitting Twitter.
Dubbed Money Tweets, the personal-finance service's new feature tracks tweets about everything from investing and saving to the most popular finance-related topics at any given time. It also has a "question of the day" option where Mint poses a question and displays all the tweets that answer it.Mint was recently acquired by Intuit for $170 million.
To ensure Money Tweets doesn't list any tweets that might be offensive or contain links to potentially malicious sites, the … Read more
As someone who just celebrated his first wedding anniversary, I know what it takes to plan a wedding. Everything from the venue to flowers must be accounted for. It's no easy task.
Realizing that, I thought I'd use this space to make it a little easier for those planning a wedding. We have included some well-known resources as well as some sites you might not have heard about before but that could help you save some cash--or stress.
Before we get started, I should note that there are a ton of wedding resources on the Web. This isn't an exhaustive collection of resources, but it is a collection of some of the best.Get your wedding going
1-800-Flowers: 1-800-Flowers is best known for providing users with delivered floral arrangements, but the site is also a fine resource for those who want to get flowers for their wedding.
1-800-Flowers' wedding page lists several flower arrangements, ranging from centerpieces to bouquets for the bride. It even offers boutonnieres for the men in the bridal party. Although flower pricing varies in different areas around the U.S., I do know that 1-800-Flowers' pricing is far better than those in my area. Even better, the flowers are available on the same day the order is placed.
Grower's Box: Grower's Box is an online wholesale flower retailer that provides a slew of wedding packages. It's a fine resource for anyone looking to find flowers for their wedding.
When you first get to Grower's Box, you'll see several listings available to help you find the flowers you might be looking for. When you click the Wedding option, you'll see a listing of several "Weddings in a box." Those items include the ability to buy everything from bunches of roses, lilies, sunflowers, or just about any other kind of flower the bride might prefer. Even better, they're priced well, since you're only paying the wholesale price. In many cases the Grower's Box beats local floral shops by a wide margin, according to one bride-to-be I know who checked pricing in my area. Grower's Box has a slew of packages to choose from. The site even has a wedding guide if you want some ideas. If you're looking to compare flower pricing, Grower's Box is a great place to start.… Read more
The winter months are on their way. Soon, we'll be continually running our heaters and leaving the lights on longer. During these months, energy bills soar.
But there are online resources that can ease the pain. They probably won't chop your bills in half, but they do offer suggestions that will help.
Energy Savers The U.S. government's Energy Savers Web site provides some of the finest resources on energy efficiency of any tool in this roundup.
When you go to Energy Savers, you can learn all about energy conservation. The site has content on renewable energy, ways to reduce your energy consumption, and more. It also has information on how to perform home-energy audits to see what you could do to reduce your energy bill. All in all, Energy Savers is an extremely useful site if you plan to reduce your energy bill.
Energy Star Energy Star has quickly become a buzzword in the home-energy space, but its Web site is one of the most useful in this roundup.
When you get to Energy Star, you can do quite a bit. I used the site to find information on energy-efficient appliances. The content it provided was outstanding. Aside from that, Energy Star features tips on how to address some inefficient energy issues in your home. One of the site's best resources is its list of potential tax credits that you can get by acquiring Energy Star products. The page provides several links for you to find the products that help you qualify for the credit. I really liked Energy Star. If you're looking to find appliances that match your financial goals, this site is for you.… Read more
IBM on Wednesday announced a program designed to help educators and students pursue cloud-computing initiatives and better take advantage of collaboration technology in their studies.
The IBM Cloud Academy, announced at the Educause annual conference, includes a global roster of educational institutions as initial participants. Educause is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.
IBM will provide the cloud-based infrastructure for the program, with some basic collaboration tools available at the outset. IBM's LotusLive service provides the basis for the new offering. Participants will immediately be able to do some very basic tactical functions on the new system:Create working groups on areas of interest to the education industry "Jam" on new innovations for clouds in education-related areas with IBM developers Work jointly on technical projects across institutions Share research findings and exchange new research ideas
Shared research across universities and other higher-learning institutions remains a vital part of technological innovation, but many programs don't have formal tool sets in place. Cloud services are a logical place to run these types of programs, especially as international groups need immediate access to data from their partners. … Read more
Google has added new personalization features to Reader, its RSS feed aggregator, the company wrote in a blog post Thursday.
One new feature is dubbed Popular Items. Using algorithms, Reader will "find top-rising images, videos and pages from anywhere (not just your subscriptions)." From there, the app will lump all those pieces in the new Popular Items section. Based on a user's subscriptions and what someone is reading, Reader orders those stories by what it thinks a person likes best.
Reader's recommendations have been moved to the app's Explore section. Google also renamed it Recommended … Read more
This morning, Fred Wilson introduces us to one of Union Square Ventures' portfolio companies that is coming out of stealth and launching publicly. Tracked.com is a sort of re-imagining of a business information service that provides personalized information on businesses and the people associated with them.
The start-up is positioned to be a competitor to Google and Yahoo Finance, which are largely ticker-based, as well as user-driven information sites like CrunchBase, Wikipedia, and, to some extent, LinkedIn.
Conceived by Mike Yavonditte, formerly of Quigo, Tracked.com, of course, provides extensive information on ticker-based companies, including company financials, much like Google and Yahoo Finance do, but it's not just a stock service. Its strong point is that it also tracks privately held companies, gathering any available information on them. For all of these companies, Tracked shows a wealth of information and news as well as the people associated with the company, complete with fleshed out profiles on them as well.
Tracked helps you keep an eye on the companies and people that you find important in the business world. It has a completely customizable "My Tracker" section that allows you to pick what companies and people to watch. For public companies, it has more robust functionality than Google or Yahoo Finance. It even calls out a lot of interesting data like executive compensation. For example, you can view a list of the executives with the highest compensation in 2006. For private companies, Tracked might be the most extensive, publicly available database in existence (aside from Wikipedia) and it's sure to grow even more.
One thing that is notably different about Tracked as compared to Wikipedia or CrunchBase is that users cannot edit current entries or add new ones. This ensures that the data on Tracked is accurate since the team can check all of the data that comes in. The downside to this is that it cannot possibly include as much information as a user-driven site.
Overall, Tracked.com is a strong, customizable alternative that will pull some users away from Google and Yahoo Finance. It is a convenient and highly addictive way to browse through information on public and private businesses as well as people. The information is so extensive and interesting that you should plan to burn a couple of hours the first time that you check the site out.
You may notice that Tracked.com is operating a little slow right now with the surge of traffic from its launch. Hopefully, as they work out the kinks, performance will improve.