Google Ditches Answers.com, Raising Questions About the Dictionary’s Future

One of my favorite uses of Google is as a dictionary.

Seriously!

I don’t need it so much as spell-checker–it fulfills that role too–but if I want to look up the definition of a word, or make sure I’m using it in context, I turn to Google.

Well actually, I turned to Answers.com–which used to supply the definitions if I clicked on the top right link in the search results:

It’s no coincidence that I used the word “screwed” in the above screen capture. That’s what Answers.com will likely be, now that Google has decided that those links should go to its own dictionary:

Bing.com Demonstrates How to Blow $100 Million

Step 1: Spend ~$100 million on an advertising campaign.

Step 2: Let your site go down:

Screen shot 2009-12-03 at 9.53.42 PMReally? Not anything? Sad.

UPDATE: Around 30 minutes later, the big shark is back:

Screen shot 2009-12-03 at 10.14.33 PM

Now we wait to see if Bing provides an explanation or pulls a “Tiger Woods” on us. ;-)

UPDATE 2: Bing explains the outage. Read it, and see if you can tell what’s missing from its statement:

Bing.com was down between about 6:30 and 7:00 PM Pacific Time on Dec 3, 2009. During this time, users were either unable to get to the site, or their queries were returning incomplete results page.

The cause of the outage was a configuration change during some internal testing that had unfortunate and unintended consequences.

Bing Wants In with the In Crowd

bingsadTwo years ago, Microsoft bought a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240M. In exchange, Microsoft Live (and now Bing) provided web search for the most popular social network in the world. Two months ago, the two companies entered another deal with Bing to integrate public updates on the social network into Bing search results on real time searches.

Okay, this time, it’s not really that big a deal, but Bing and Facebook are here yet again, reminding us all how buddy-buddy they are (and thus how cool Bing is, really, guys, can I play now?).

As part of their continuing $100M marketing blitz, Bing is running a contest with Facebook. The theme is “hometown pride.” (I’ve got this great picture of my son. . . .) and the winning image will be featured as the Bing background on January 6.

Bing Revamps Maps—Now with Twitter!

bing tweet mapIsn’t everything better with Twitter?

All right, let’s admit it: we had to see at least part of this coming. Microsoft Live search had maps with bird’s eye view and even the equivalent of Street View in some places, and we all had to know that eventually that product would get rolled over to the Bing brand, too. Well, now that’s happening: but Bing wants to take it to the next level.

And, of course, the best, most obvious way to take maps to the next level is to add Twitter. Everything is cooler with teh social, right? Now in beta, Bing Maps uses the same Silverlight technology that Microsoft Live Maps did, including directions, street-level views and even museum tours—but now with Twitter’s geolocation API, they have a “mash in” to add Tweets (so not only can you see the mummies, you can also read 19 Tweets saying how boring they are).

AOL’s SEO “Strategery”

AOL Running ManIs this a classic case of “meet the new boss, it’s the same as the old boss” (hat tip to Roger Daltrey and the boys)? It is being revealed that AOL has a plan to bring itself back to prominence and it is oddly reminiscent of the company’s past AND its CEO’s past as well.

How you ask? Well, apparently there is a concerted effort underway to generate as much ‘craptent’ (that’s crappy content for those of you who need an assist) as possible to try to gain some ground in the search engine results. Techdirt has a little fun in helping us remember the days of mailboxes full of AOL CDs. How patently ‘ungreen’ of AOL. I don’t miss those days, do you?

Google Removes “Distractions” from Homepage; Bing, Are You Just Gonna Take That?

I love a good search engine "smackdown"–even if I have to orchestrate it myself! ;-)

While Bing.com is making sure everyone knows that its homepage is not the boring, bland, search box that you’ve become accustomed to, Google is heading even further in the opposite direction.

Announcing its new "fade in" homepage, Google takes a shot across the bow of Bing:

…the "fade in" is an elegant solution that provides options to those who want them, but removes distractions for the user intent on searching.

Hmm, distractions like bloody great big sharks?

Now, let’s compare Bing’s homepage with Google’s new design:

"Opposite" meet "contrast."

Which do you prefer?

News Bailout Next?

Auto Bailout“You gotta be freakin’ kidding me!”

That was my reaction to a Reuters article that I came across. I am still a little taken aback, as they say, about the even the threat of the US government looking into ways to bailout the struggling newspaper / old school media industry. Right now it’s more talk than anything else but if someone said it in a public forum then you know there are greater rumblings going through Washington with a similar stink on them. I guess you can guess where I stand on this one, huh?

The Reuters article starts off

A top Democratic lawmaker predicted on Wednesday that the government will be involved in shaping the future for struggling U.S. media organizations.