Lately, when you search for certain measurements on Google -- say you're going to do some baking -- the search engine's calculator returns results with its usual estimable speed. But, for unknown reasons, the result is given in units of six-dimensional meters.
It seems like everyone in the twitterverse, the blogosphere, and tumblrdom is getting fed up with so-called content farms--those mostly-useless text generators that turn out articles based on the terms people most commonly search for.
It sounds a bit Google-ey, what with all the data mining across the Web and all that, but it's Microsoft researchers in Beijing that are crafting an online Chinese-to-English dictionary that could become a model for language learning tools bridging any two tongues. Engkoo.com pulls its database from the Web itself, cross-referencing sites that exist in both English and Chinese, searching existing online dictionaries, and mining other sources to create a rich resource for both learning and translation.
As scientists decode more and more genomes, the tree of life gets pretty complicated. It makes tough work for geneticists or other researchers who want to understand which organisms share which genes -- there are just so many comparisons. So there's a growing need for a better, easily searchable bioinformatics database.
A Chinese computer scientist has a suggestion: mimic the way search engines index Chinese characters.
Most Chinese citizens may still rely on homegrown Baidu for their Internet search needs, but Google's threatened pullout apparently worries the vast majority of Chinese scientists surveyed by the journal Nature. "If I lose Google, it will [be] just like a man without his eyes," one respondent said.
Google wants to freshen up those static search pages for queries the latest sports scores, weather conditions or mass cultural happenings. The Internet giant plans to roll out changes over the next few days that include a real-time feed added to their standard results page with instant updates from Twitter, Facebook and other news sites and blogs for instant zeitgeist readings.
Welcome to another installment of The Grouse's semi-annual lambasting of poor practices on the Web. When I compiled my first list of all things online and terrible six months ago, I thought I'd been fairly comprehensive. CAPTCHAs, tooltip ads, bottomless dropdown menus and audio ads were among the archaic and ill-conceived online "experiences" thrown on the fire. But just six months later, I find myself with a host of new grievances to air.