Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Entry for November 29, 2005
I have been a big fan of Google Maps since the time they launched it but about a week or so ago, I started using the new beta version of Yahoo maps. So far, I think Yahoo maps is better than Google in terms of features. Google is faster in terms of downloading the page, while Yahoo is still a very slow – almost drags.

The concept behind Yahoo Maps is the same as Google Maps – they both use Ajax, it has the ability to zoom in and out and drag around without reloading the page. Yahoo also uses Flash – probably the main reason why its slower than Google. But Yahoo Maps Beta adds traffic information, speed and road construction details and like Google, it ties into Yahoo Local to show you where business’ are. Yahoo also has a mini map in the upper right hand corner, which I still have to find use for.

My biggest gripe is that Yahoo Maps don't support Firefox, at least not Firefox on Linux. So, until then I am sticking with Google.


This Blog was written using word processor www.openoffice.org on Ubuntu Linux operating system (www.ubuntulinux.org) and the Internet Web browser used was FireFox (http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/).

Do senior management at companies think laterally?

What surprises me is that none of the big and small search engines are launching products for Linux. By products I mean, desktop search tool, latest messengers, photo management and editing tool like Picasa, etc.

Almost everyone agrees that Linux has about 3% marketshare on desktops and much more on servers. Almost every geek uses Linux either at home or office. So why not try and please this crowd? How much would it cost Yahoo or AskJeeves to launch their desktop search tool for Linux users? Not much, I am guessing. So why don't they put some money in development and create a strong brand loyalty?? It beats me.


This Blog was written using word processor www.openoffice.org on Ubuntu Linux operating system (www.ubuntulinux.org) and the Internet Web browser used was FireFox (http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/).

Monday, November 28, 2005

In the last five years, I have purchased four Palm Pilots – most of them used. That’s mainly because I like to keep a backup, in case I loose data on one and my desktop at the same time.

But I recently started used Airset– www.airset.com – after reading an article in the Wall Street Journal. Now, I synch my Palm desktop with Airset. And the Palm desktop is synched with my handheld. So, now I have three places to access and store information.

This Blog was written using word processor www.openoffice.org on Ubuntu Linux operating system (www.ubuntulinux.org) and the Internet Web browser used was FireFox (http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/).

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Yahoo's APIs are terrific. Check out below.

Search for flights:



Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I am in France this week and my wife asked me how many countries use Euro? I was stumped by that question. I knew that 11 of the 12 countries in the EU were going to start using the Euro in 1999 or 2000. But didn’t know how many more countries had adopted it since then. So, I decided to use five search engines and see which one gave the best result. The search words were: How many countries use Euro. The criterion was simple: I will click the first (second if the extracted text was interesting) result and see which one came close.

Yahoo was by far the best of the six search engines: Google, Yahoo, Clusty, Askjeeves, A9 and Live.

Yahoo’s first result was atrocious. It gave a link to a site that gave currency exchange rates.

AskJeeves was probably a distant second with a link to the Euro’s main Website.

Microsoft’s Live came in third with a link to Wikipedia

Clusty was fourth with a link to Wikipedia (the link to wiki was third while in Live it was first).

Google was fifth with the first link giving incorrect information that 12 countries use the Euro.

A9, was last.

These are the states I have visited in the U.S.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

I think a personalized Zeiglist (Yahoo's Buzz) would be great. Meaning that if I have a Yahoo or a Google account, I should be able to monitor trends in search words.

For example, the custimoziation would allow me to know about how many times the word "Linux" was searched today, a week before, a month before, etc. on a particular search engine. Better still, I would be able to compare that to another search term. At the same time, customization would allow me to do more sophisticated searches that I could run as a sort of cron job i.e. how many times the word "linux" appears with "operating system". So,basically market share monitoring.

Yahoo does offer these features but only to corporates and at a price. I personally don't thin k it's a big technological challenge and am surprised that no one has implemented this.

I emailed this request to someone I know at Google but he never responded. Then emailed the same request to Yahoo and even to couple of other search engines. Yahoo obviously may not be interested since they already offer this (for paid users).

As far as other search engines are concerned, here's my hypothesis: Google is interested in big things and other search engines are trying to implement features Google has. What that means is that if Google does not implement a particular feature, no one else will.

The customization feature could allow users to track up to 10 or even
100 different search terms.

Let me know what you think of this suggestion.

A friend of mine helped me write a Python script that uses YAhoo'a API to find out how many times a particular keyword appears on the Web, Yahoo News and Yahoo podcast. It's fantastic. I am mainly using this for finding out the penetration of open source, so keywords include Linux, GNOME, Linux Ubuntu, OpenOffice, etc. The goal is to gather this data once or twice a week and see the trend over a quarter or so.


One of the things that I like about www.clusty.com is the clustering technology. For about a month, I was searching for Python programming turorials using my two favorite search engines: Google and Yahoo. I found about three good tutorils after doing nearly 100 searches and spending more than five to six hours on this projects. With clusty, it took me couple of searches and may be in 20 minutes I was about to come up with three additional free tutorials. I will try askjeeves over the next week or so and see how good it is in finding the information I am looking for.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I think Google base is a great concept. But I think this service could lead to some consolidation in the industry and create a formidable competitor. How formidable, I don’t know. Because in the past 18 months, the only company that seems to understand the Web and done everything right is Google. But still, Amazon, AOL, MSN, Yahoo and ebay will be looking at ways to take on the Base – which I think is a terrific idea – Geocities with ability to organize and search. As long as we have google, Web will always be an exciting place.

Another very interesting search engine is A9 by Amazon.com. They use Google search as the backend but combine Web, image, and even wikipedia on one page. What’s even better is that Amazon would give you something like 1.5% rebate on Amzon.com shopping. I got a rebate after using this site to do 4 or 5 searches in one week.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Couple of days ago, I was looking for the home page of a hotel in Paris I was going to stay for a week. So I typed in the name into Google and Yahoo and came across various Web sites that mentioned the name of the hotel but couldn’t fine the homepage.

That’s when I tried clusty. I first came across this search engine about four months ago after one of the leading magazine votes is as one of the best new Web technology.

The search engine is quite new but very powerful and uses the clustering technology to sort results. I like the clustering bit and have been using it as my second main search engine for the past two days. Google still accounts for 40% or more of my search queries followed by clusty with about 40 and the rest is Yahoo.