Kiam Choo’s Blog

June 17, 2009

Why Searchme needs to go back to kindergarten

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — kiamchoo @ 6:11 pm

searchmecom

Sure signs of a search engine that hasn’t focused enough on the basics: when I tried Searchme today (after a long absence), and was surprised to find that loading the homepage stalled for dozens of seconds–showing nothing–while the bottom corner of my browser announced that it was loading Google Analytics scripts.

Sure enough, looking at the source for their home page, the first thing that happens in the body is the loading of those Google Analytics scripts.

Response time is incredibly important in search, and I am really surprised that they haven’t done the homework to pin it down.   If you want people to use your search engine a lot, you need to make sure that the homepage renders quickly, and focus is set to the input box really quickly.

Hunch — The Ultimate Web 2.0 Search Engine?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — kiamchoo @ 6:03 am

hunch-logo

Hunch from Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake is a “decision engine”.  After asking you some 20 questions to get to know you, you get to pick questions to ask it.  It then asks you a series of multiple choice questions to determine your preferences before giving you recommendations.  Examples of a top-level question (called topic on Hunch) are “Where should I go on vacation?”  and “What should I plant in my garden?”

The interesting thing is that all these topics are created by people — so in a sense it is the ultimate Web 2.0 search engine.   I found that it worked quite well in recommending designer suits for my wife and restaurants near my area.  Where the system breaks down is that it doesn’t take into account the fact that certain criteria are more important than others.  For instance, I played the topic “Should I get an iPhone or a Palm Pre?”  One of the questions was if I wanted to be able to multitask.  If this need completely outweighs all other considerations, then the answer is dead simple, and no other questions are needed.  But there is no facility for that.  So in its current form, it works best for “fuzzy” or subjective decision-making.

This puts it in the same market as Aardvark, which lets you ask real people subjective questions on IM, the difference being that with Hunch, the answers are pre-canned, and it is supposed to learn about your preferences as it goes.

June 16, 2009

Going Green on Twitter to Support Iranians

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — kiamchoo @ 4:48 pm

Lots of twitter users have turned their profile pictures green in support of Iranians over the current situation in Iran.  Best of luck of Iranians.  Is there a simple online tool that will turn pictures green?

iran-green

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