As some of you perhaps, I suffer from the online squirrel syndrome. I live across too many platforms, try to hold onto too many bits of content and am way too lazy to tag and keep track of them in a consistent manner. This relates to both content such as videos and reads I save on a host of platforms and ends in trying to dig out messages or event details from the gaps between my Facebook, gmail, and the like. Greplin might just make all of that go away.
Greplin is a startup that indexes most of your social streams and makes them all searchable from a single search box. They seem to have tapped into an (un)obvious gap in the search market and as a result the 5 guys behind Greplin have already scored $4m in a round of funding from Sequoia. If it works, Greplin really will shoot an ever-expanding user problem so many of us face online. While I’m definitely excited about the concept, I’m still ever so slightly nervous about handing over and having indexed all of my emails, Google Reader, FB items, etc, but from my brief look online it seems like I’m one of the very very few concerned about that side of the startup.
I love this meme. You know that feeling when someone ask you a questions that you know they can find an answer to in 3 minutes on Google? But, no, they want your 3 minutes it’ll take you to find the answer for them and then they want you to put it neatly into an email or whatnot communication form to deliver them an answer still warm and fluffy.
There are at least 2 services for people who come across those other people who can’t use or can’t be bothered to use Google. If you want to be somewhat polite and ‘educational’ you can use Let Me Google That For You, which creates a walk through Google search session. If you want to take it a notch higher, you can use Just Fucking Google It. The site is a display about using Google or rather how stupid it is not to be using it.
Search has been evolving for a good while, but in the last few months it seems to be moving at an even quicker pace. Things started hyper-budding at Google last year with its November introduction of SearchWiki, an added feature that allows ratings, comments and editing of personal search results. Since then Google has also started getting clever with data: the use of rich snippets allows Google to come up with extra information that falls into a search’s context. Another upcoming Googleism is Google Squared, a feature meant to appear in labs soon. Much like Wolfram Alpha, it’s meant to be a fact- rather than a site-search engine and ‘automatically fetch and organize facts from across the Internet.’ To go even further, Search Options (shown at the beginning of the post) and a new search engine Bing from Microsoft allow to divide search results into several categories ranging from timelines to whether a search item is user-generated or regular media.
Apart from the increasingly semantic features of Google search there are also really interesting social trends emerging through clever-headed digital start-ups. Glue is a semantic browser extension that adds several interesting new features that enable a social dimension to sites such as Amazon or Imdb through using services such as Facebook Connect and Twitter. The idea is really interesting and this could prove to be a very useful service, but as with many social services, unless it gains more momentum on the number of members, i.e. providing me and you with ‘friends’, it lacks its primary ‘social’ value. Another service on the social side of search is Aardvark, which ‘helps people find what they want online by asking others who know the subject matter best—and who are likely to weigh in with a helpful response.’
[Via ReadWriteWeb and Business Week]
Google is probably the single most common point of start for research in any sphere. Google’s mission of organising the web is still making our lives easier every day. Now Google is heading down the road of making public data searchable, comparable and available as visualisations. Right now the available data includes unemployment and population rates from around the US, but Google says it’s only a start on what’s meant to become available. The visualisations include interactive charts that allow sets of data to be included or excluded from comparisons. Amazing stuff.
I would love to see something like this become available for European states and developing countires, whether through getting hold of sets of government data or for a start through a compilation of public bits of research such as the CIA Factbook. The linguistic barriers can be a problem, but with the increasing accuracy of Google’s automated translation software, this seems like a viable future development.
[Via ReadWriteWeb and Google blog]