Google

Google unveils major upgrade to search algorithm

Google has unveiled an upgrade to the way it interprets users' search requests.
The new algorithm, codenamed Hummingbird, is the first major upgrade for three years.
It has already been in use for about a month, and affects about 90% of Google searches.

At a presentation on Thursday, the search giant was short on specifics but said Hummingbird is especially useful for longer and more complex queries.

Google stressed that a new algorithm is important as users expect more natural and conversational interactions with a search engine - for example, using their voice to speak requests into mobile phones, smart watches and other wearable technology.

Full article here.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #253

This week: THE BRAZIL INCIDENT

Yes, the repercussions from the NSA spying revelations continue. Now we are seeing looming growth in the fracturing of the Internet with the imposition of national boundaries. Even OCLC may be impacted by this. We take a few minutes to discuss the situation and its implications.

A brief news miscellany is also presented.

Related links:

Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis) (Free Lossless Audio Codec) (Speex), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net. Throw a paperback at us via this Amazon picklist.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.

10:29 minutes (9.63 MB)
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LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #249

This special edition deals with the Groklaw shutdown announced on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. Groklaw is hosted at ibiblio similarly to LISNews and librarian.net. History of the growth of the National Security Agency under both Republican and Democratic Presidents is also discussed.

Related links:

Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis) (Free Lossless Audio Codec) (Speex), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We also encourage the use of a service like gpodder.net. Throwing a paperback or two in the Stephen's direction off his Amazon wishlist remains possible as he tries to get out of unemployment.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.

7:29 minutes (6.87 MB)
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Ever Wonder How Third-Party E-mail Providers Work?

A brief discussion is posted about Schnail Mail and how it might not be such a good thing yet how it relates to the deal presented by GMail.

(h/t Glyn Moody)

How Google Rediscovered the 19th Century

When we read the past, we acknowledge that we stand not only, as Isaac Newton put it, on the shoulders of giants, but also on those of scholars of smaller stature who were no less passionate about their subjects and determined in their own way to contribute to the intellectual conversation. The 12th-century philosopher and educator Bernard of Chartres is said to have observed that we are all dwarfs when we attempt to climb atop gargantuan flesh. I am glad to have met more of them online, and to have profited from their vantage point.

25 million Mahler videos / obama likes books about waffles

PBS News Hour ran this piece - Performing Artists Compete, Move, Adapt in Tough Economy

At 4 minutes into the video they are discussing how recorded media replaces some of the need for live performances. To demonstrate that there is a lot of music available they run a Google search for "Mahler's 4th symphony" and then click on video and point out that there are 25 million hits.

Implication is that there are 25 million videos available of Mahler's 4th symphony.

Pet peeve of mine is when news organizations and websites run Google searches and then use the specious number of hits to conclude that the thing they searched is widely available or a widely held belief.

Did you know that President Obama likes books about waffles? Google - obama likes books about waffles - and you will get 21 million hits.

On The Death Of Google Reader And The Future Of Reading

You can't say they didn't warn you. On Monday, Google Reader will no longer be available. The search behemoth is putting its RSS reader to rest, leaving millions of dedicated users scrambling to find other platforms for organization of their news feeds and content exploration.

One of the leading contenders in the race to replace Google Reader is the recently relaunched Digg Reader. The man behind the effort is CEO Andrew McLaughlin. A former vice president of Tumblr, he also served as the White House's deputy chief technology officer and headed up global public policy at Google. As Wired magazine puts it in a recent profile, "Dude has bona fides."

Full piece

Does Google Have an Ethical Obligation Not to Spy?

Many Americans are outraged at the government for mining user data from Apple, Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants. What about the actions of the companies themselves -- have they met their ethical obligations to their customers and society as a whole? Do they even have any?

Full article

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #242

And we're back. The first episode after the production suspension has a series of brief essays followed by a news miscellany.

Related links:

Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis) (Free Lossless Audio Codec) (Torrent), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.

18:24 minutes (8.44 MB)
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Google Execs Say 'The Power Of Information Is Underrated'

Google executives Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen — coauthors of a new book, The New Digital Age — recently returned from a highly publicized trip to North Korea. In the second part of their conversation with NPR's Audie Cornish, they discuss the role of the Internet in more repressive countries. "We fear that the natural action for, in particular, autocratic governments experiencing what we describe as 'virtual urbanization' will be to balkanize the Internet," says Cohen, "filtering out content so that way the Internet experience in that particular country looks as much like the physical society as possible."

Full piece

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