Mary Ellen Bates always manages to come up with some new search sites and tips that prove useful even to someone who follows the search world closely. Her main focus is on how we can “un-Google” ourselves. “It’s not about finding the information. It’s about what we do with the information—it’s our value add.”
She covered some of the same search engines mentioned in the earlier session by Chris Sherman—but in fact offered rebuttals to some of his comments. While he listed Wolfram/Alpha as one of the 4 major players, she said not to think of it as a search engine—it’s a great data visualization tool. In fact, visualizations of data—charts, graphs, clouds, etc.—were an important theme for her.
She also took issue with Chris over the usefulness of Twitter. She says that the 140 character limit bugs some people but she loves the distillation of comments – a great discipline she called it. She gave some interesting examples of how a Twitter search could hone in for local, e.g., “swine flu” OR H1N1 near:denver within:25mi.
Google Squared is another great tool for adding value—and it does it in the background. For example, for arthritis drugs it produced a useful table of extracted information on the fly that can be exported to Excel and edited. Clients should love this.
Some other favorites include OneRiot, Search Cloulet, University Channel, Bing Visual Search, and Google News Timeline. Mary Ellen’s always information and entertaining. Her site BatesInfo.com/il2009 has live links to what she covered.
Paula J. Hane
ITI News Bureau Chief