sábado, mayo 16, 2009

martes, mayo 12, 2009

Google adds new filters

Google adds new filters, visualized results
by Tom Krazit

Google introduced three new enhancements to its search engine Tuesday, giving searchers new ways to filter results and adding new types of data to the search results themselves.

Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and experience, led a parade of the company's product managers on stage at Searchology 2009 to demonstrate the new features, known as Google Search Options, Google Squared, and Rich Snippets. Search Options will be rolling out gradually on Tuesday, giving searchers ways to filter their results based on factors like timeliness, result type such as image or videos, or a desire to see search results in visual form.

The announcements "center around how can you find more, and what can you do with it," Mayer said. Google last held a Searchology event in 2007, when it introduced Universal Search, blending regular search results with images, video, and news results.

Building on Universal Search, Mayer and Nundu Janakiram, an associate product manager, showed how Search Options allows users searching for information on the Hubble Telescope, for example, to filter their results with a "Show Options" link at the very top of the search results page. Clicking on that link brings up a new page with a list of options on the side, somewhat akin to the current Google News user interface.

By opting for the most recent information on the space telescope, the subject of a current NASA mission, users will be given a mix of news and blog results. If they prefer, they can click a filter that will sort those stories with images pulled from those stories.

Other options include new ways to visualize search results, such as the News Timeline introduced last month, as well as something called Wonder Wheel that visually represents data as rays of a star spreading out from the center of a search result.

Google Squared is the newest addition to Google Labs. This project allows searchers to create a spreadsheet based on Web results. Users can filter the data accessed through the Google Squared search, request additional categories to create a custom spreadsheet with the results that matter the most to them, and even fact-check the results by accessing the source of the data as well as alternate sources.

The other enhancement discussed Tuesday is called Rich Snippets, which is a partnership between Google and certain publishers, including CNET, to display information from Web pages within the box that encompasses a search result. Google is backing open standards called RDFa markup and Microformats markup One of the two projects, News Timeline, lets people browse history through Google's eyes, with a sliding chronological framework that draws information from newspapers, Wikipedia, and other sources. The other, Similar Images lets people search for images that look like one they've already found.

Google's R.J. Pittman

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)Overall, Google wants more people to try its experiments, to "engage the user as soon as possible and get the products calibrated for success," in the words of R.J. Pittman, director of product management for Google's consumer-oriented technology.

Google generally would rather gather feedback quickly and adjust course accordingly than present the world with what it deems to be a completed product, even if that risks having to withdraw products or features that flop or misfire, he said.

"Launch early and launch often," Pittman said. "There's a growing backlog of interesting things coming from Google."

The new labs site, built on Google App Engine, unifies various other labs work, including Gmail Labs, and lets people rate and comment on projects.

"We're trying to create awareness so people know when we're trying out new stuff," Pittman said. "For us to be realistic about the products, to get adaptive, we have to have a fast iteration rate."

that allow Web publishers to highlight aspects of their Web page to show in the search results.

The CNET example used in the presentation displayed the number of stars assigned by a CNET reviewer to a GPS device in the search results for a particular product. Likewise, Yelp's user-generated restaurant ratings will show up in the search result for a certain restaurant.

11 Tips for Growing a Social Media Presence

CIO & IT Strategy
Peter B. Giblett

Peter B. Giblett (C-Suite Strategist) posted 5/8/2009
Having leveraged social media as a part of my job search over the past few months I thought I would pass on to others some of the things that I have found successful in building a personal social media presence.

1 - Become a Resource to Others

Alongside this blog on IT Toolbox I have also setup my own website, called CIO Perspectives which is focused on writing professional articles to help the IT Leader. Companies that I have previously worked for have charged large amounts of money for views I have proffered freely on CIO Perspectives, or even here.

2 - Have a Unique Personality

People worry that in writing they must lose themselves and become stiff and formal. Actually personality is important, that is what had made blogging a worldwide sensation. But also give powerful information as part of your value proposition.

3 - Invest Time in Social Media

I have heard it said so many time you get out of social media sites in proportion to what you put in to them. For example it is no good simply setting up a LinkedIn account, setting up your profile as a copy of your resume then that is the last time you use it. Make connections, get involved in the community, answer people's questions, offer your opinion. I have made a personal transition in this area and expect to continue to improve.

4 - Be Controversial (a Bit Anyway)

It is important to stand out from the crowd a little. Offer an alternative viewpoint that may not have been considered by other contributors. I find it helps not to be the first person to answer a question, then you can see what else has been said and identify something that has not been said.

5 - Give, Give, Give

Social Media is about giving. Whenever I make a new connection I always say "I am happy to be a part of your network" not "I am happy to have you in my network".

6- Try to Make One New Connection Every Day

In addition to making a new connection it is important to try to humanise that connection. Too many people leave the connection as a set of bits and bytes. This is one reason why I like to download their details into Outlook, then I send out an irregular update on what I am doing (OH! that reminds me it is time to do just that).

7 - You are There to Make Relationships (Please Don't Sell)

Social Media is about building trust and building relationships. Any selling that comes as a result comes after building that relationship.

8 - Be Consistent Across Platforms

You use LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, IT Toolbox, My Space, etc, etc. It is important to be consistent across all social media platforms. Now I have heard some people say that they use Facebook to communicate with friends. The irony is that friends can help you to connect to business prospects so it can be difficult to separate the friend relationship from the business one.

This also extends to the use of pictures, they are expected and need to be reasonably professional. I hated having my picture on the web, not I use it everywhere.

9 - Listen to the Community

In order to be successful in the business world it is important to listen. The same is true in Social Media, but it can be a little more public. I have always found this to be my biggest personal challenge and I pinch myself every time I make a mistake.

10 - Help Others Unconditionally

When you respond to others give advice even if you would normally charge $150 an hour for it. People will see the value in the advice that you give. The majority of my Social Media connections have come from the advice that I have given.

11 - Be Yourself and Have Fun

I hope this shows in the things that I write - I also try not to be too serious. I usually look out for the Sunday Question on LinkedIn from Mary Lascelles as it is normally a fun way to spend the relaxing day of the week.

domingo, mayo 10, 2009

World's Happiest Places

World's Happiest Places
A new report reveals where people feel most positive about their lives
Lauren ShermanDenmark
World's Friendliest Countries

According to a new report released by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, a Paris-based group of 30 countries with democratic governments that provides economic and social statistics and data, happiness levels are highest in northern European countries.

Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands rated at the top of the list, ranking first, second and third, respectively. Outside Europe, New Zealand and Canada landed at Nos. 8 and 6, respectively. The United States did not crack the top 10. Switzerland placed seventh and Belgium placed tenth.

The report looked at subjective well-being, defined as life satisfaction. Did people feel like their lives were dominated by positive experiences and feelings, or negative ones?

To answer that question, the OECD used data from a Gallup World Poll conducted in 140 countries around the world last year. The poll asked respondents whether they had experienced six different forms of positive or negative feelings within the last day.

Some sample questions: Did you enjoy something you did yesterday? Were you proud of something you did yesterday? Did you learn something yesterday? Were you treated with respect yesterday? In each country, a representative sample of no more than 1,000 people, age 15 or older, were surveyed. The poll was scored numerically on a scale of 1-100. The average score was 62.4.

Why did the northern European countries come out looking so good? Overall economic health played a powerful role, says Simon Chapple, senior economist from the Social Policy Division of the OECD, which put together the report.

While the global economic crisis has taken a toll on every nation, the countries that scored at the top still boast some of the highest gross domestic product per capita in the world. Denmark, which got the highest score, is not only a wealthy country, it's also highly productive, with a 2009 GDP per capita of $68,000, according to the International Monetary Fund. The United States' GDP per capita, by contrast, is $47,335. Though the U.S. got an above-average score of 74, it did not break the top 10.

Wealth alone does not bring the greatest degree of happiness. Norway has the highest GDP per capita on the list — $98,822 — yet it ranked ninth, not first. On the other hand, New Zealand's happiness level is 76.7 out of 100 on the OECD list, but its 2009GDP per capita is just $30,556.

According to a 2005 editorial, published in the British Medical Journal and written by Dr. Tony Delamothe, research done in Mexico, Ghana, Sweden, the U.S. and the U.K. shows that individuals typically get richer during their lifetimes, but not happier. It is family, social and community networks that bring joy to one's life, according to Delamothe.

The OECD data shows that another important factor is work-life balance. While Scandinavian countries boast a high GDP per capita, the average workweek in that part of the world is no more than 37 hours. In China, which got a low score of just 14.8, the workweek is 47 hours and the GDP per capita is just $3,600.

Low unemployment also contributes to happiness. "One thing we know for sure," says the OECD's Chapple, "not having a job makes one substantially less satisfied." Denmark's unemployment rate is just 2 percent, according the C.I.A.'s World Factbook. Norway's is just 2.6 percent. The Netherlands: just 4.5 percent. Many economists concur that a 4 percent unemployment rate reflects a stable economy. The U.S. unemployment rate is currently 9 percent.