February 28, 2006

Ask.com relaunch

So, after Bary Diller spoke at SES, a lot of attention has been on the newly relaunched and rebranded Ask.

My favorite change they made has got to be on their maps page. You can actually drag and drop begin/start markers and the driving directions (and its associated polyline ) dynamically update themselves.

…and for you maps hackers, it tries to do a reverse geocode address lookup. In otherwords, when you drop the marker, it gets the lat/long and tries to figure out the address to display.

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MSN Expo is Live - More Community

The MSN folks also tell me that Expo is live.

It is a place where you can see “local” information such as classifieds, events, and other customized content. Why did I add quotes around local? Well, the customized content is not local in a geographic sense but in a community sense. In other words, look at the top for which community you are in…without logging in, you should see “Everyone.” This default value means you are seeing all public information. Communities could be tied to email addresses, for example, to signify there is a group of people who all work together (and use the same email domain) or go to school together. You can constrain based on this information and just see classifieds and events having to do with this group. You can also set up multiple groups. Kind of like a cross between some of these free public services (i.e. Craigslist) with collaboration software (i.e. Zimbra).

Think about it…the same way some of these Yellow Page directories think you value your friends’ opinions/reviews more than a strangers, this application will help you purchase from more trusted sources (buy a car from the classifieds section from a coworker versus finding one in a classifieds from a stranger…if you have a problem, just stroll don the hall to the seller).

This also integrates IM so you can be notified by IM or by email when someone responds to your listings. Unlike Craigslist which keeps you anonymized only up until you want to respond to a posting, you can choose to remain anonymous when replying as well.

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MSN Maps provide Street Side

In addition to their Bird’s Eye View (which provides angled aerial views created by flyovers), MSN has added Street Side views to Live Local. The views show you what things would look like while driving from your car (as opposed to A9’s blockview which shows straight on pictures of the buildings/locations.

MSN Street-Side Preview

The new street-side feature augments the current map view,
aerial view, and bird’s eye view that the Windows Live Local site
already has today to provide users with an even more immersive way to
explore their local environment.

A preview will be available will be available shortly from what I am told (still not available as of this post).

UPDATE: Preview just lauched seconds ago. There is a Rac Car view, a sports car view and a walk view. The “car” you see on the map (or a black/yellow circle if you’re walking) is draggable. You can also drag the “view” to turn yourself and look in other directions. Whn I push the forward arrow, I “drive” down the street. Bonus points for making it work well with Firefox! Still a few kinks to owrk out (mostly around the flow which is still a bit jarring) but very cool. Only available for San Francisco & Seattale right now. Nice little amusing details (i.e. game controller on dash of both cars, navigation systems, etc). Turning around makes it look like you’re crashing into cars on some streets (looks like video was taken out the back of the car). Driving with your keyboards makes it almost seem as if you’re playing a video game. My biggest annoyance: not being able to resize the 2 panes…the bottom pane was almost non-existent so I had to resize the window (rather than drag the pane divider higher). Also, the side views are kind of hard to orient with the forward view…probably why they like to use the columns separating them to help mesh the pictures.
UPDATE: Scoble points us to the video demo

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February 27, 2006

MSN Search integrates Movies

Looks like MSN Search has integrated local movie results into their algorithmic web search.

The data is provided by MSN Movies (which, at one time…long, long ago, was powered by Citysearch). MSN Movies seems to get its info from Movietickets.com.

I tried some links and saw that they are defaulting to a location based on a technique that associates your IP Address to a geography (often used for ad targeting as well). The location/geography, however, doesn’t get carried over to the movies site…all I see is “No Location Found … change location.” I clicked on the link from the web search because I thought the localized information relevant…but I had to enter it again…Another problem: it’s a pain in the but to move navigate around when I’m not in Internet Explorer.

I expect to see more local and local event content integrated into web search on MSN.

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More evidence of Google Calendar

There appears to be more evidence of a google calendar, along with uncovered urls.

Google seems to have shut me out of the service but there are screenshots.

via siliconbeat

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February 24, 2006

More info about Google Base

The Adwords folks put up Google Base FAQ:

What’s Google Base?

The goal of Google Base is to improve the overall quality and breadth of Google Search results by collecting an even wider diversity of content. Allowing content owners to describe and assign attributes to the information they submit will help us use this meta-data to better target search results to what users are looking for.

They answer a lot more questions about it and recommend its use for SEO (as opposed to SEM) traffic.

They also make reference to a future feature that would improve user experience by accepting payments for items listed in Google Base which Garrett of ZDNet had reported.

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February 23, 2006

Fios availability mashup

I’ve mentioned FiOS before (great Internet speeds at great prices).

I just noticed that DSL Reports has a Google Maps Mashup of FiOS Availability and of its predicted availability.

As I expected, no Verizon FiOS in my SBC area (Burbank). :-(

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Move over Geocities, here comes Google Pages

Google is increasing user community and community-driven content by giving users the Page Creator (which is just an online HTML WYSIWYG tool).

They plan on hosting the pages at http://.googlepages.com

Unfortunately, due to high demand, I am unable to log in and do anything. My page exists on googlepages.com but returns a 404, not found.

Sounds like a Geocities (purchased a while back by Yahoo) crossed with Yahoo Members/Profiles.

More ways to keep users on the google site? Perhaps another place to place ads?

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February 21, 2006

What does a search engine see in your SWF Flash file?

Want to find out what a search engine probably sees in your swf file?

Then try the swf decompiler which will output the HTML of an swf file.

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So Long, Jeeves

Ask.com has decided to force Jeeves into retirement :-)

Jim linked to his retirement site that allows you to view what he plans to do next and you can contribute your opinions on it.

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