Interesting stuff from around the web 2008-09-29

Yay! It's official we're 'doing the web right' BBC programmes and playcount data joins the Linked Open Data cloud.
Yay! It's official we're 'doing the web right' BBC programmes and playcount data joins the Linked Open Data cloud.

Interesting new approaches to search coming out of Yahoo!

Yahoo! Glue – a new web search interface
When you perform a search on Yahoo! Glue you get a sort of Topic Page – automatically transcluding relevant info onto a single page with a clean URL. For instance, a search for ‘yahoo’ would be at: http://in.glue.yahoo.com/page/yahoo. Curiously these pages are being indexed by Google. There are currently 159,000 ‘glues’ in the Google index – that’s more than knol.

BOSS (Build your Own Search Service) Yahoo!’s open search web services platform [yahoo! developer network]
Use Yahoo’s search API to build your own search UI. Useful and it might be a smart move in the fight with Google, but more likely it won’t be causing Google to loose much sleep.

Whether or not Captcha is broken, it is a human problem

Captcha is broken – now what? [The Guardian]
“Ultimately Captchas are useless for spam because they’re designed to tell you if someone is ‘human’ or not, but not whether something is spam or not. Just because something came from a real human being doesn’t mean it isn’t spam, which is why content-based solutions like Akismet are the only long-term solution to the spam problem.”

The new guardian.co.uk infrastructure is letting them do some interesting stuff, the right way

guardian.co.uk are doing a really good job rebuilding the site – the new user pages are now at lovely semantic URLs
The main page of a user’s contributions (at http://www.guardian.co.uk/users/username) now contains a list of the most recent comments and clippings they’ve made, while the sub-pages /clippings and /comments contain exactly what their names might hint at.

Just down right scary…

Web of Debt – It’s the derivatives, Stupid! Why Fannie, Freddie and AIG all had to be bailed out
The dominos go down in a cascade of cross-defaults that infects the whole banking industry and jeopardizes the global pyramid scheme. The potential for this sort of nuclear reaction was what prompted billionaire investor Warren Buffett to call derivatives “weapons of financial mass destruction.” It is also why the banking system cannot let a major derivatives player go down, and it is the banking system that calls the shots. The Federal Reserve is literally owned by a conglomerate of banks; and Hank Paulson, who heads the U.S. Treasury, entered that position through the revolving door of investment bank Goldman Sachs, where he was formerly CEO.

Don’t know what’s going on here – but these two are bonkers [news.bbc]
And how they didn’t die is a mystery.

Links for 2008.01.08

» Search Wikia has just been launched – but why?
It isn’t as good as Google but they are make their index freely available. And that’s cool.

» Blue-ray wins
Warner Bros would no longer support Toshiba’s HD DVD high-definition disc format, and would instead throw all its weight behind the rival Blu-ray

» Google, Facebook and Plaxo Join DataPortability.org [ReadWriteWeb]
Good bye customer lock-in, hello to new privacy challenges. If things go right, today could be a very important day in the history of the internet.

Search for… not visit…

Jakob Nielsen previously (1999) suggested that we are likely to see the end of domain names as more and more people used search engines to find what they are looking for:

It is likely that domain names only have 3-5 years left as a major way of finding sites on the Web. In the long term, it is not appropriate to require unique words to identify every single entity in the world. That’s not how human language works. […]

New addressing schemes are likely to be introduced with better support for ambiguity and the ability to find things without knowing the exact spelling. Search engines and directories are an early attempt, but we can surely do better.

Obviously this hasn’t happened yet – and companies continue to pay large sums of money for domains and advertise their products and services via the URL on TV, posters and radio. And until last night I had never seen anyone try anything different.

But last night a TV advert was run by the UK Department of Transport to help people reduce their Carbon Dioxide emissions. The campaign is called ‘Act on CO²‘ and the advert ended not with a URL but with the instruction:

Search the web for ‘Act on CO²’ for more information”

Which returns on Google, Yahoo the campaign’s site top of the search pile and on Ask, A9 and Microsoft’s Live Search the site in the top few.

This is really interesting. They could have gone and registered a new domain (and risked link rot) or publicised the URL (www.dft.gov.uk/ActOnCO2) – but I guess they realised that its not a great URL to read out (nor remember) and in any case most people will search for it – so why not just reinforce that behavior and tell people to that instead.