Posts Tagged ‘bing’

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Personal brand. I hate to say it, but it’s important

In Continuing Education,social networking,Uncategorized,Web 2.0 & all that on September 21, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve always disliked the term “personal branding”; it sounds, well, very impersonal, really. Makes me think of the Prisoner: “I am not a number, I am a free man” and all that kind of nonsense. ¬†Heavens, people have charisma, personality, charm…, not branding! No, I’d decided, nothing to do with me, thanks.

But then I read somewhere, and I really can’t remember where (isn’t that terribly rude, not to link to your sources? Oh well) that it’s useful to think of your brand not in terms of what cut of suit you like to wear, or scent you care to sport, but rather as what comes up when someone puts your name into Google (I should point out here that “other search engines are available”). Now I’m sorry to say that if you put my name into Google I don’t even make it onto the front page of results. Oh dear. I do though have a couple of entries in results 11 to 20. My Linked in profile comes up, which I’m quite chuffed about as I only put it in recently, as does my Bazian (my company) bio. If you put in me + health or me + bazian then you get more hits about me (as opposed to Alan Lovell the actor, or the CEO of Jarvis etc), and I have to admit that I’m relieved that my Twitter page rarely pops up, as that’s pretty pathetic really (I should either start tweeting properly, lock it, or delete it).

But it has made me think. If at work or indeed in my personal life I come across a new person that I might have some interest in, the first thing I do is Google them. And I think nowadays we all do this – it’s second nature. While it may be argued by some that we don’t really have much control over what comes up about us in Google (or Ask, Bing, Yahoo etc) I think that on the contrary we do – we can do search engine optimization of our own pages, e.g. on Linked In or perhaps on our institution’s site, or we can start our own blog or a static webpage with a personal/professional statement as necessary. We might not like it, but for many people in our professional life their first contact with us will be through a computer screen, and not in real life; and as we all know, first impressions count.

So I still might not like the term “personal brand”, but I do think we have to acknowledge that our “online” self is important, both personally and, particularly, professionally. My online self is not the same as me, therefore terms such as “charisma” or “personality” won’t cut the mustard. For example, next time I go for a job, the interviewers are bound to Google me. I need to take control of the information they’ll find about me. You’ll need to do the same.

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Similar sites and related articles

In search engines,Web 2.0 & all that,Website reviews on March 29, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , ,

I like “similar sites/related articles” or whatever it might be called from one site to the next – in Google, Google Scholar, PubMed, Scirus etc – as I find it a useful way to develop and “flesh-out” a search. I was therefore happy to hear about similarsitesearch.com. It does what you would expect it to do. You tell it the web address of the site you’re interested in, click the relevant button, and it gives you a list of similar sites; should you like you can install the Firefox extension. The “don’t get it confused with similarsitesearch.com” website Similarsites.com does something very similar, but looks nicer; should you like you can install the Chrome extension. (I’m writing this in Chrome as we speak, though I do like the themes in the new Firefox).

The trouble is, and it’s a shame to report it, but Google’s similar sites feature seems to give better results. Similarsites.com and similarsitesearch.com can get rather surreal at times. Mind you, if you like living on the edge this could be considered an advantage; you never know where you might end up.

It would be nice if Bing could try their hand at this, now that they’re hoping to be taken seriously.

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fefoo – not another search engine

In search engines,Web 2.0 & all that on July 3, 2009 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , , ,

I’m not sure why it’s called fefoo, but it’s quite a nice little tool. It’s not another search engine. Rather, it’s a tool through which you can search a whole range of different search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo, of course, but also many of those funny little ones you’ve never heard of, like Viewzi (fun graphical interface), Spezify (yet more fun graphical interfaces) and LexxeAlpha (no fun graphical interfaces, but rather powered by “advanced natural language technology”, though still returns Wikipedia first).¬† The search pages give a little tool bar at the top that allows you quickly to try your search in another search engine. You can also look for blogs, images, torrents, people, movies etc. It’s all quite useful, to tell the truth. And finally, if you’re truly hardcore, rather than specifying in the drop down menus that you want to search Yahoo, say, you can use command line searches, in this case, for a search on ‘Tom Baker’, “:yahoo Tom Baker”, though unfortunately it does not seem that you can combine command lines searches, e.g. “:yahoo :images Tom Baker” for, you guessed it, images of Tom Baker. Oh well. It’s a nice little tool nonetheless, and helps ensure you venture beyond just Google from time to time.

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Bing – But It’s Not Google

In Information industry,Web 2.0 & all that on May 29, 2009 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , ,

Attempts to topple Google continue. Microsoft are coming in with Bing (the name has already been criticised). Why do they bother, we ask? I really want to use other search engines, as I never like monopolies, but whenever I try Live Search or Exalead or Yahoo or Ask it always ends up, if not in tears, then a sad retreat to Google. It’s not that I don’t like Google, it’s just I wish somebody would give us a half decent alternative. Evidently, search is hard to do well.

Anyway, I have two thoughts. Firstly is that no-one is naive enough to think that Bing can topple Google, at least not in the short or medium term. But at the moment MS only get about 8% of the search market, and even if they can increase that up to, say, 16%, that’ll still double their income from selling search associated advertising, and that’s a pretty damned big market; the $100 million they’ve allegedy put aside for marketing Bing might not look like such a large amount once the new income starts rolling in.

Secondly, it appears they’re not fighting Google on the “who’s got the best algorithm” front. Google have, and they’ve got the know-how and momentum to keep it there. Rather they’re using semantic search through their aquisition of Powersoft a while ago and will target users after specific, query based information in the world of shopping, travel, health and locating local businesses. This could work, as Bing only has to be better than Google in one area to begin with. If, say, you decide that Bing is more helpful when trying online shopping than Google Product Search, then you’ll come back to Bing time and time again and slowly, maybe, after time you’ll start to use Bing for other queries, even if it’s only nearly as good as Google. New search engines going head to head against Google tend to lose, badly. I guess that’s why Microsoft are encouraging people to use Bing for specific types of query first, rather than just as a replacement of Google as your general search engine.

Well, we’ll see how it goes. I hope they do OK. I don’t really care who it is, but I’d like to see a choice to Google. Actually talking of search engines, has anyone tried Wolfram|Alpha? Nothing if not ambitious…¬† Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything.