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Monday, September 10, 2007

Amazon, Google and Users Help With Fossett Search

The BBC reports:

Images from Google Earth are being enrolled in the search for adventurer Steve Fossett.

Many people are scouring up-to-date satellite images of Nevada to try to spot Mr Fossett’s downed plane or wreckage.

The project is being co-ordinated via Amazon’s human-powered problem solving scheme called the Mechanical Turk.

You can help out at the Mechanical Turk task.

[Via Spiegel.]

Google Employee Explains Universal Search and Onebox

Over at Search Engine Land some days ago, Google’s David Baile provides you with an inside look into Google’s “universal search” efforts. As you may know, since some time Google is displaying the so-called onebox results integrated & ranked right within results, and not always on top. This adds more flexible weighting to results pages: if a onebox – like a News or video result – is important but not that important, it moves some ranks below into the middle of the page.

On a side-note, David also mentions that the term “onebox” did originally not refer to the specific results box on the result page, but to the unified search box approach (which these result boxes help facilitate because you don’t need to switch to other niche search engines if you’re looking for e.g. a News, or video results). By now, “onebox” commonly refers to those result boxes though, whereas “universal search” has become the term to describe Google’s unified results pages approach.

Updated Google Time Onebox

Google slightly improved their onebox that shows the current time in different locations around the world, across the different time zones. For instance, you can enter time in moscow or time in berlin, germany or usa time. For one thing, the new time onebox result now shows different possible locations if the query is ambiguous (e.g. for the query usa time, locations range from Chicago to Washington or Denver). Also, the clock icon is now dynamic and shows the actual time... in gray/ silver when it’s night, and yellow/ gold when it’s day, apparently. The old time onebox was icon-less.

It seems time difference calculations can not be triggered though. Entering time difference germany china and similar will not show any onebox, even though it might be helpful.


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