Posts Tagged ‘search’

Don’t make me search! (Cartogrammar)

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

[Editor’s note: Allowing multiple access points to browse into a dataset using spatial ideas from cartography (see also GeoName’s post on the relational ontology / the semantic web).]

Republished from Cartogrammar. June 1, 2009.

Searching Google Maps for

There’s a lot of information on the internet, if you haven’t noticed. Far too much for any mere human to wade through. And that’s why we find simple beauty in Google. Instead of overwhelming us with links and content, its home page provides a single search field. “Remain calm,” it says in a soothing but vaguely sinister voice, “just tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll bring it to you.” But God help you if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Okay, it’s not that bad. Research and debate about searching versus browsing behaviors have played out over centuries (assuming that measurement of time in this information age is something akin to dog years), and it seems safe to say that most of the time information can be accessed by either means. Back in the wild days of the 1990s, web usability guru Jakob Nielsen found that “half of all users are search-dominant, about a fifth of the users are link-dominant [browsing], and the rest exhibit mixed behavior” and argued that “[d]espite the primacy of search, webdesign still needs to grounded in a strong sense of structure and navigation support” for the sake of not only those link-dominant users but everyone else too (link). Most of the web seems to adhere to that principle, but it’s a search-based world out there.

And I kind of hate it.

Sure, it’s obviously crucial to be able to search for what I’m looking for, but I’m not always looking for anything in particular. I want to explore or, to frame it (perhaps more accurately) in terms of mental lethargy, to avoid having to think of something to look for. It’s like Christmas shopping for all my relatives: as torturous as it already is, if I weren’t able to browse store shelves and instead had to think of specific gifts to ask the shopkeeper for, I’d probably collapse and bust into tears. (I titled this post after Steve Krug’s wonderful “common sense” book on web usability Don’t Make Me Think, not that I’m quite what he was talking about.) It bugs the hell out of me whenever I go to check out the newest Coolest Web Tool or Visualization Ever, only to find that I must think of something to search for in order to see it in action.

Continue reading at Cartogrammar . . .

Google Now Indexes Flash Content

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

flash happyAdobe announced earlier this month that they have teamed up with Google and Yahoo! to enhance search engine indexing of the Flash file format (SWF). The newly published SWF specifications allow the search engines to better capture rich internet application’s changing states where much of the Flash file’s content is revealed as the user interacts with the file, not just the opening screen. Google has already rolled out this feature, Yahoo! will be soon. (Graphic from ArsTechnica. Thanks Gene and Laris!)

From the Adobe press release:

 “Designers and Web developers have long been frustrated that search engines couldn’t better access the information within their content created with Flash technology. It’s great to see Adobe and the search engines working directly together to improve the situation,” said Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief, SearchEngineLand.com. “The changes should help unlock information that’s previously been ‘invisible’ and will likely result in a better experience for searchers.” 

Read Google’s official blog entry on this new feature.

Now that we’ve launched our Flash indexing algorithm, web designers can expect improved visibility of their published Flash content, and you can expect to see better search results and snippets. There’s more info on the Webmaster Central blog  about the Searchable SWF integration.  

 ArsTechnica has a good read on this announcement as well:

 As anyone who has had the pleasure of doing web design and development through marketing agencies knows, Flash tends to be wildly popular among clients and wildly unpopular among, well, pretty much everyone else. Part of the reason for this is because Flash is so inherently un-Googleable; anything that goes into a Flash-only site is basically invisible to search engines and therefore, the world. That will no longer be the case, however, as Adobe announced today that it has teamed up with Google and Yahoo to make Flash files indexable by search engines 

Google says it’s able to do this by developing an algorithm that “explores Flash files in the same way that a person would,” by clicking buttons and manually going through Flash content. “Our algorithm remembers all of the text that it encounters along the way, and that content is then available to be indexed,” wrote the company. “We can’t tell you all of the proprietary details, but we can tell you that the algorithm’s effectiveness was improved by utilizing Adobe’s new Searchable SWF library.”

Of course, Google (and eventually Yahoo) won’t be able to index everything embedded within a Flash file—at least not yet. Anything that is image-related, including text that is embedded into images, will be invisible to the search engines for the time being. Google also noted that it can’t execute certain JavaScripts that may be embedded into a Flash file, and that while it indexes content that is contained in a separate HTML or XML file, it won’t be counted as part of the content in the Flash file. These are all issues that are being worked on, however, and are likely to change in the future.

New York Times published something on this, too.

What use is Adobe Bridge?

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Watch this informative video by Colin Flemming, a talented Adobe rep, explain the ins and outs of this sometimes forgotten (by me!) tool named Adobe Bridge. Your powerful searching, sorting, and rating (stars & bars ala iTunes) Adobe branded File Browser awaits…

This video is just the start of what the Adobe Video Workshop has to offer in tutorials. Spend some time checking out all their offerings; you might learn something new (Xing out of the Using Adobe Bridge video when done playing will show you the Video Workshop’s full listing).

Adobe Bridge Tutorial by Colin Flemming