Twitter Search in Plain English

Twitter search and tagging is becoming increasingly relevant, especially in light of recent events in Iran. This timely video from Common Craft explains the basics of Twitter search, tagging, and trends. This may help people who are not currently on Twitter to understand it’s usefulness and relevance for capturing public thoughtstreams.

Google’s Influence

I am starting to see more and more interesting posts on Google’s massive dominance on our society. Of course, about a year ago, I noticed the prophetic EPIC 2014 (Rise of Google-Zon) presentation. That’s certainly an image that’s always stuck in my mind.

A few days ago, I noticed “Disturbing Facts About Google“. While I knew most of these already, seeing them all on one page kinda makes me cringe.

This morning, I noticed Google’s comparison to SkyNet, the fictional computer network in the Terminator trilogy. There are certainly some interesting predictions provided in this post. With Google’s recent activity, the speculation in this post seems reasonable to some extent.

I also noticed a recent contrarian view, a Slate article predicting that Google will fall just like all of the others that have been in their position in a particular market segment. “Lotus 1-2-3, WordPerfect, IBM PCs, CompuServe, Nintendo, Netscape, AltaVista, AOL, Dell, the iPod, and Microsoft all held, at one time, what seemed like impregnable positions in their markets.” With Google’s stock at $400, predicted to rise to $500 by the end of the year, this seems less believable than the previous predictions.

A while ago, Mark Evans followed by D’Arcy Norman led an informal search for a better alternative to Google’s search mechanism. While some alternatives were noted, I don’t believe any one particular search engine faired as well. In my own work and teaching, I am certainly guilty of promoting Google without even thinking about it … the term “just Google x” is one I use far too often. And including this more critical note, this will be my 42nd blog post (on this blog) related to Google in some way.

And if the good people of Google are reading this, I say welcome our new dark overlords, masters of our universe. For the rest of us, let’s continue to pay attention. The future of what we write, what we build and what we create — the very future of our ideas — may just depend on it.

Update: I just noticed a recent Wired article that describes industry’s fear of Google getting into just about everything in Silicon Valley. It certainly fits this theme.

Google Search Tips 2005

I do several sessions a year helping students better understand the power of various search engines, and the techniques used to make efficient queries. Google Search Tips 2005 presents some great tips on using some of the “hidden” Google features, and I’m blogging this partly so I have it easily accessible when such sessions arise.

On a related note, check out Soople.

Update: I just ran into Google Total, and it’s organized fairly well.

Google Fill-In-The-Blank

Today, the Google Blog reported a search tip that is either new, or just something I wasn’t aware of. It appears that the * (wildcard) can be used in a method where Google will “fill in the blanks”. For instance, the query “Bill Gates is the*” will bring predictable results, while a search for “Linux is the *” will bring you to the phrase “Linux is the optimum choice to replace Windows NT Server.” Seems pretty accurate to me!

On a more pedagogical/practical note, it seems to me that this would be a good skill that students (or teachers) may use in the classroom, at least for low-level fact-checking queries such as “Edison invented the *“, or higher-level, critique-based activities on opinions such as “the greatest soccer players in the world come from *.” The latter should read ‘Greece’.