Friday, November 10, 2006
Up first is adding friends. Most people are excited to hear that their Gmail contacts are automatically loaded into their Friends list, but it's also easy to add new people to chat and talk with. Check out the video and give it a try.
Online Operations Coordinator
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
A few of us from the Google Talk and the orkut teams got together a while back and started teaching orkut how to talk. After all, orkut users are already a very social bunch -- so we thought they might enjoy talking to each other. Read more about the new feature on the Google Blog.
This is just one more milestone for making Google Talk easier for you to talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Many of you have told us that it would be useful to be able to add Subscribed Links to your Custom Search Engines (CSEs). That way, you could include all sorts of real-time status data and helpful answers in your customized search results pages, and take advantage of the wide variety of special search features already available from otherSubscribed Links creators.
We thought that was a good idea too, so we implemented it. Now you can list the Subscribed Links you want to add in the XML specification of your CSE, and just like that, they'll appear in your customized search results. Our documentation tells you how and illustrates with an example.
Some special search features you can add this way include:
- Real-time flight status information from FlightStats or subway train times from TrainCheck.
- Article snippets from Wikipedia and Answers.com.
- News from Digg and IGN.
- Demographic information from CityTownInfo.
Browse our directory to get an idea of the things Subscribed Links can do to enhance your results. Or make your own and share your expertise with your own users and other CSE creators while you design the best results for queries in your domain of knowledge.Last but not least, we also wanted to mention that a number of advanced Co-op users have requested the ability to download all their annotations, including those created using the Google Marker. You can now do so by going to the advanced tab of your control panel and get your annotations in XML or in a tab delimited format.
Monday, November 6, 2006
Last week, Ethan Zuckerman wrote a great article explaining why Custom Search Engines would be so useful for communities such as the Global Voices network. He built a CSE to search over 3000 blogs from across the world. This is exactly the kind of application we built our platform for -- not just because of the scale of his search engine, but also the cause it serves and its collaborative approach. Unfortunately, as he explains in his article, queries on his search engine for some of the terms he's interested in didn't work very well.
After a week of some serious engineering, we believe we've made searching on Ethan's Custom Search Engine -- and all CSEs, for that matter -- much, much better. In particular, Ethan's search for Ghana, which originally returned only three results, now retrieves a much healthier number. All around, you should see much better performance in the quality of the search results.
The reason is fairly complex. Custom search engines are based on approximation algorithms that aim to search over the entire contents of the sites you specify. As with all approximations, there is always room for improvement. We're constantly working on our algorithms, and your search engines will continue to get better. If you see any anomalies or problems, please let us know. We want to hear from you about what is and is not working.