Google’s Real Time Exposes Real Frustration of Web Searching

January 18th, 2010 llcowell Posted in design theory, learning spaces, search engines, teaching & learning, web 2.0 tools No Comments »

I have to say that while the concept of Google’s “real-time” search results in seductive at first (and a bit awe-inspiring to watch)…it’s real value in the classroom probably lies in its potential for illustrating the rapidly cycling, ephemeral quality of information on the web.  The updates cycle so quickly when “latest” is chosen, it’s difficult to remain oriented.  Considering that orientation with information has proven, already, to be a challenge for learners, I can’t imagine how this is going to make things better.  Some things are just too “gee-whiz.”


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BING : A Review

September 30th, 2009 llcowell Posted in search engines No Comments »

After trying out a few sample searches on BING, I want share these thoughts on the tool, as it has been developed to date.  These comments are, of course, offered through the lens of an educator.

Web Search: Clusters results, as well as suggesting related topics.  This may prove useful to students who struggle with narrowing broad-topic research projects.

Images/Video Search: Offers more refined results than Google images search, which any regular user can tell you will harvest many (sometimes more) only vaguely related images.  USE THIS over Google!

Shopping: Interesting and useful, how Bing allows you to narrow results by type of product, price range, or brand.  Afterall, each of us has different priorities.

News: Doesn’t really live up to it’s potential.  Narrowing by location seems useful (the engine recognized my general location), but the categories and related searches are sparely populated and somewhat vaguely connected.

Maps: Search seems to want to take me to related businesses. Will provide a “birds eye view” of the business, if you are looking to recognize it as you drive by.  Might be useful as it becomes populated. BUT, will it include non-commercial locations, such as hospitals, public centers, important landmarks, LIBRARIES?

More: Wish they’d put some of these categories on the front page! The Reference search mines some great resources.  Students will find this useful!

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Wolfram|Alpha Computational Knowledge Engine

May 21st, 2009 llcowell Posted in search engines No Comments »

Noted as “the first step in an ambitious, long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone,” the engine allows researchers to enter a question or calculation, “using its built-in algorithms and growing collection of data to compute the answer.”  Underdevelopment new algorithms are coming, which should make this tool even more powerful.  Data at our fingertips…quite literally.


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