202 search tool now available

Hello everybody,

Our promised 202 search tool is now available on

You can enter a query and the tool will perform 4 different searches against the corpus of 202 lecture slides. The search algorithms are:

New Google search features: real-time updates, cellphone photos as search query

Google introduced a number of new features today, most notably real-time updates and searching by an uploaded photo. Real-time updates means that Twitter and Facebook statuses will immediately feed to Google search.

On DEVONthink

And now, a word about DEVONthink. They describe it as a "smart information assistant", although you could think of it as a sort of MyResearchBits.

Google gets a break with lucky.

I apparently got cookied for a Google experiment that removes the long-running "I'm feeling lucky" button. Interestingly, it also defaults to removing nearly all elements from the page - the only remaining items are the Google logo, a search box, and the words "Press Enter to Search." A mouse-over brings back some links, minus the "I'm feeling lucky" option. See the pictures for details.

Google "Wonder Wheel" Visualizes Search Results

Apparently this launched back in May, but I just noticed it when playing around with Google for this week's discussion.

The "wonder-wheel" takes the input query as the center of the wheel and produces a set of expansions and related terms as petals. Clicking on a related term moves out from the origin node and shows a new set of expansions - the original node shrinks in size and gets fainter. You can repeat this multiple times to branch out over a conceptual space. Search results show on the left (where the ads normally are). Here's a sample search for flower:

Using Semantic Search for Advertising

Hakia is a company that uses semantic search, taking into account word context and a hiearchy of categories that a search term might fall into.  Supposedly Microsoft's Bing's category designations are based on Hakia.  The company also recently (about a month ago) came out with a commercial ontology product called Contexa to help advertisers better connect with relavent web content.

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