Yahoo Search is better than Google

I wanted to use the title  ” is Google too distracted to make a better search engine?”. But
it seemed a bit long and “preachy” so I settled for this shorter and “funner” title. And it does fit well into my Yahoo Search is better than Google mini-series.

Lately I have been thinking and talking to friends about how Google is nowhere near as good as it used to be in it early days. I was telling a friend of mine who is doing research in Information Retrieval that she should invent a better search engine than Google because the world needs it, especially the French speaking world. We laughed at the thought but I was actually at least half serious, the world needs better search engines because Google is dropping the ball. I have to say I am one of the biggest fan of Google, the company, and the search engine and that is probably why I’m taking the time to point out areas where they could improve, hoping that search is still important for the company and that they are doing the very best they can to make Google search better.

Thank you for reading so far and this is where I finally tell you what actually happened and how Google disappointed me once again.

It all started with me setting out to discover the publications of a certain person of whom I approximately knew the last name. I figured, no problem, Google will figure out who it is that I am searching, I will even add relevant keywords to the misspelled name to help. But alas. I searched again an again, trying different spellings, keywords nothing worked. Then I had a chance to actually see the name written somewhere. Unfortunately I still could not remember it completely, I sadly don’t have photographic memory. But I figured that with my spelling now closer to the correct one Google should figure it out. Then after trying one keyword after the other I thought, without much conviction that perhaps Yahoo might understand me better. I didn’t actually believe it but I was hopeful because frankly Google didn’t get it. And lo and behold. With only the misspelled last name the second result from Yahoo was exactly the person I was searching for, no additional keywords needed. I could not believe my eyes, I was too happy! Google however, with the last name alone gives me results exclusively form an incorrect suggestion. You see, the problem is that I had substituted an e for an o and Yahoo guessed my error correctly but Google on the other hand guessed my misspelling wrong and substituted a k for an r changing the name completely thus giving me completely erroneous results.

For privacy reasons I am not telling the name of the person I was searching for but I believe that I have given enough clues to help people who know me and that person to figure it out.

I for one started using Google sometimes around 2000. I was looking for the datasheet of a LED chip. I entered the part number and the word datasheet and the very first result that showed up was the datasheet of said chip. I knew then that I had found the one search engine that I would ever need to use. Back then I had used all sorts of search engines, HotBot, Altavista, Northen Light, Dogpile etc… None came close to this level of precision. I even used Yahoo which was for a a while powered by Google and yet the level of satisfaction I got from using Google itself was unrivaled. I actually believe that Google, the search engine, is a gift to the world and that it changed the world in a major way. It may seemed like I’m exaggerating but if you hadn’t experienced it, try and imagine what you needed to do to find relevant content on the web before Google. But this is for another post.

In spite of all this, I still cannot make the switch to using Yahoo or Bing as my primary search engine. The first reason being that Google is still an excellent search engine and the second being the interface. Google search has the best interface of all Google web sites I have ever used. And this is also true for results pages. To be honest, I almost never use the homepage I just type my query in the browser most of the time. But Yahoo’s result page is atrocious, the same can be said for Bing’s result page. It might also be that I am so used to using Google that I have a hard time finding anything else visually appealing, yes that is possible as well.

Just to show that I don’t hate Google here are screenshots of the early days of the website taken from the Wayback Machine.

google.com on November 11 1998

google.com on November 11, 1998

google.com on December 2, 1998

google.com on December 2, 1998

google.com  on February 21, 1999

google.com on February 21, 1999

Please accept my apologies for such a poorly written article. Both Google and Yahoo deserve better but I haven’t blogged in so long that I need some time to get back to my best blogging shape.

Thank you for reading :)

American Idol Season 11

I was reading one of the many articles on the top 13 of this season’s American Idol. It made me laugh so much and I was reminded why I enjoy about American Idol. It’s not just the show, it’s not just the contestants it’s the whole chatter. The best part about reading and most importantly writing about the show is having people who either know the contestants personally or who know someone who knows a contestant come and contribute tidbits of information that you will not find on the official americanidol.com site or on any mainstream news media.

I decided that this year I was going to do something different. I’m going to link to blog posts about the show that I find interesting, especially the funny ones.

This post is on the Top 13 reveal. It’s originally from ew.com but i read it on cnn.com. It includes a photo from Fox which I included below.

AI season 11 top 13

Top 12 guys
My favorites were Phillip Phillips, Heejun Han and Colton Dixon. To a lesser degree I like Eben Franckewitz, Adam Brock and DeAndre Brackensick.

Top 13
My favorites are Shannon Magrane, Skylar Laine and Elise Testone (I like her because she’s older it’s harder for older contestants to make it through).

I must add that my favorites have nothing to do with how well or bad they sang.

On a side note I bet there are many people who don’t like Brielle Von Hugel.

Quick comparison between the top boys and top girls.

Attire
Guys seem to be wearing their own clothes, they still have the guy next door look, not dressed for the big time, at least not yet.
The girls on the other hand are another story, they are so dressed up and made up that it’s almost ridiculous, and I say almost to be nice. I don’t want to be an AI female contestant basher.

Still using Yahoo Mail Classic

If like me you can’t let go of Yahoo! Mail classic you will understand why I’m still using it long after Yahoo’s deadline for making the big move. I believe they moved the date from September to October (is is a wonder that Yahoo has problem…). Anyway I kept it on my browser and I will do all I can to keep using it until it does not work anymore. Hopefully that time will not come soon.

Grimm on NBC – Palm product placement

>

It seems that before HP had decided to pull the plug on Palm and WebOS they paid what must have been an important amount of money to showcase their Palm Pre on the pilot of Grimm. As you can see in the snapshot below the main character is holding a palm pre in his hand. I want to say that it’s a clever product placement but maybe only Pre fanatics like myself noticed it. I assume the idea was to showcase the features of the touch screen. The character is seen ignoring a call by sliding his thumb from left to right on the screen. When the call came in I thought it was an iPhone because of the way the incoming call is featured on the screen than again maybe it was a call made from Skype because I’m not sure this is how incoming calls show up on WebOS. Then again I might be wrong I never owned a Pre and I have never seen the latest WebOS in action.

Palm Pre in NBS’s Grimm

Palm Pre wallpaper on Grimm

I don’t care if they don’t make them anymore. I want one!

In case you are wondering about the show itself I think the pilot was really good, one of the best I’ve seen this season.

TV Shows Fall 2011

Meh show

Person of Interest
Ringer
Body of Proof
Hart of Dixie
Chuck
Burn Notice
Unforgettable

The Good

Once Upon a Time
I’m a big fan of Jennifer Morrison and the kid is cute.
Revenge
Prime Suspect
Grimm
One episode and I’m a believer! What can I say it caught my attention.

The Bad
2 Broke Girls
Blue Bloods

The Unwatchable
How to Be a Gentleman
Fringe
Chuck
For some reason I cannot watch Chuck anymore.

Guilty Pleasures
Suburgatory
The Good Wife
Against the Wall

They got better
Pan Am
The Good Wife
Blue Bloods

From June 24 to now

End of Yahoo Mail Classic on Monday September 19, 2011

>Fellow Yahoo! Mail Classic users, You only have a week left to enjoy the “old” version of Yahoo! Mail before it is taken offline. Yahoo! Mail Classic users will have to use the latest Yahoo Mail interface which according to Yahoo! is faster (2 times), has better spam filtering capabilities, than the old version. What I really appreciated about Yahoo! Mail is the fact that even when new versions of the Mail came out Yahoo! never forced users of the Classic version to adopt them, until now that is.

I enjoy using Yahoo! Mail classic because it’s very easy to find my way around. I did not move to the New Yahoo Mail when it came alone because I quickly discovered that I could not create custom folders. For the volume and diversity of email I received everyday, custom folders are a must. Granted you could switch to the old version to create the folders and then go back to the new version to use them but I thought I was too much to ask for from users. I do a lot of email filtering and sorting using custom folders I find it to be more efficient than tagging emails.

I don’t have anything particularly to say about the latest Yahoo! Mail, my only problem with it is that I have to give up something I am familiar with. I am simply not ready to learn to use a new interface and find out how to do things I have been doing for every with this new version of Y! Mail. Hopefully I will not be to annoyed, it’s not my choice anyway. I also use Gmail, Hotmail/live, Facebook messaging, I still think Yahoo! Mail is the best, most convenient. It’s easy to use, has an intuitive layout and is very flexible. I fell in love with Gmail at first then I found it to be a bit to rigid in the sense that you had to manage your email the way Gmail wants you to, yo could not customize the behavior. Of course the one thing Gmail mail does offer that makes it more attractive than Yahoo! Mail, in my opinion, is IMAP support. Nevertheless, I forward my Gmail messages to my Yahoo! inbox because most of my email reading and writing is done in a browser.

The End of Yahoo Mail Classic

>or How the color Purple is killing an Internet Giant!

I created my first Yahoo email address about 12 years ago. I’m a long time Yahoo Mail user and a huge Yahoo! fanatic. I do have to admit however that Yahoo is no longer the company it used to be. With competitors such as Microsoft, Google and now Facebook, it seems that Yahoo’s best days are far behind it. But for someone who uses Hotmail, Gmail (I also had a usa.net address back then…) Yahoo Mail Classic has remained throughout the years my favorite web-based email.

I will not go over why I find Yahoo mail easier to use and much faster to load than Gmail. Hotmail has always had a spam problem. It’s much better now than in earlier years but I constantly get “spam” from people in my contacts on Hotmail who also happen to have Hotmail addresses. When you consider that my Hotmail address is a secondary address that I only seldom use, the amount of spam I get there is outrageous.

So why don’t I like the new Yahoo! Mail? Because, in my opinion, it fails in two major areas: speed and usability.

old Yahoo mailnew Yahoo mail
Old and new Yahoo! side by side. It’s the Purple’s fault.

Yahoo! promises that the new mail is faster and has an easier-to-use design. The truth is if you have a connection as slow as mine the New Yahoo mail will never be as fast as the Yahoo Mail Classic. It simply takes a little longer for the emails to show up, at least that’s the impression I get. I imagine that for people with a broadband connection speed is not an issue.

As for the design, well, I can think of one word to describe it: annoying. Yahoo decided to remove to leaderboard ad on the top and replace it with a vertical banner on the right side of the page when you’re checking and reading mail. I find it annoying because if my screen is not wide enough or if my resolution is too low, it leaves me with the feeling that the ad is eating up the reading space. Of course Yahoo allows you to collapse the ad but all it takes is for you to load another message and it’s back. And did I mention the fact that each email opens in its own “page” (in addition to the Inbox page) consequently, you need to close each one of them when you’re done. If you are like me and you seldom use the Previous and Next buttons to browse your email, this can be annoying. And have you tried to scroll down to browse you old messages? What a nightmare! Once again, if you have broadband (or only a few messages in your inbox) this may not be an issue for you. As for me, I haven’t deleted an email in ages!

I’m guessing that Yahoo gets paid for the ads it displays per impression and not per click. The reason I say this is because I’m also guessing that this new side ad gets fewer clicks than the top banner ad. Then again, I may be wrong, its not like Yahoo shares its ad data with me.

Users are invited to make the switch now voluntarily until we are all upgraded to the New Yahoo Mail.I still fail to see what the New Yahoo! Mail has that the Yahoo! Mail Classic doesn’t. Then again, I might just be the kind of person who resists change.

The following is the email I received. It was edited for privacy reasons.

Dear MJ,

Thank you for being a Yahoo! Mail user for the past 3 year(s). We look forward to bringing you an even faster, safer, easier-to-use Yahoo! Mail very soon.

In the coming months, we will ask you to upgrade to the newest version of Yahoo! Mail for your account not_my_actual_email@yahoo.com. All Yahoo! Mail customers will be asked to upgrade. But in the meantime, you don’t have to wait, you can have the newest Yahoo! Mail today.

Upgrade Now

What You Can Look Forward To

• Faster email
• Latest Yahoo! Mail spam-protection technology
• Easier-to-use design
• Unlimited email storage so that you can keep everything you want

Learn more about the newest version of Yahoo! Mail.

When you upgrade to the newest version of Yahoo! Mail, everything in your account (messages, folders, contacts, etc.) will be there.

You Can Upgrade Today

You can upgrade now to the newest Yahoo! Mail if your browser is Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3, Safari 4, or Chrome 5 or newer.

Upgrade Now
If you do not have one of these browsers, you must first update your browser (it’s fast and free), and then return to this email and click the Upgrade Now button.

If you don’t upgrade now, we recommend that you upgrade soon. Your current version of Yahoo! Mail will be available for the next few months, but eventually you will need to upgrade to the newest version of Yahoo! Mail , or review Yahoo! Mail Help for other options.

Thank you for being a loyal Yahoo! Mail user.

We hope you enjoy the newest version of Yahoo! Mail.

David McDowell
Senior Director, Yahoo! Mail Product Management

Did I mention that my browser of choice is Opera? Will this new Yahoo! Mail work with my Opera 11? I guess I’ll find out on September 19.

Are Scotty and Lauren splitting the country vote

>I have read it over and over again that Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina should team up and make a country album together. Apparently it is something that many want to see happen and would like to be able to buy in the near future. In the mean time, Scotty and Lauren are still competing against each other and the five other remaining contestants on American Idol season 10. In spite of the love that country fans have for both southern contestants it does not seem to heart either one of them when comes the time to get the votes. Neither Scotty nor Lauren were in the bottom three last night unlike Paul McDonald (see this Paul McDonald bio) for instance who did not seem to be sharing votes with any other contestants. To be fair the guy didn’t have enough votes to be safe let alone share them.

During the top 8 performance night Scotty McCreery sang I Cross My Heart while Lauren Alaina sang The Climb by Miley Cirus.

In the mean time people are finding resemblance between Scotty and many celebrities whether they are related to country music or not. Fans have also pointed out that Scotty seems to do a good job at picking songs that are just right for him.

In spite of Thia Megia’s ely elimination from the finals, I think that younger contestants are usually favored in the competition both by the judges and the voters. Therefore I think they are going to be rooting for Lauren and since she is only one of two females left that should help her as well. I think the reason they didn’t like Thia as much is because she acted and behave with what seemed to be more maturity than the average 16 year old (except when she gets criticized) I guess American Idol prefers Lauren because even though she looks older with all the makeup she still acts like a silly teen ager.

American Idol Season 10 Top 9 Performances

>We are in studio 36 at CBS Television City, the tension is growing and nine performers are about to make history at the American Idol: The Search for a Superstar Show. Steven Tyler introduced the American Idol show while standing inform of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Steven gave a quick rundown about what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is all about. Contestants had to do songs performed by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. With a “Long Live Rock and Roll” Steven Tyler scream, Ryan Seacrest quickly takes the stage and the show begins, Live!

First up was Jacob Lusk. He chose “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson. Jacob sang the song at a slower tempo than the original which allowed for a softer soulful rendition. The co-writer Siedah Garrett and 3 background signers accompanied Jacob. Jacob showed off his showmanship by grabbing the microphone and prancing around the stage in a white vest and pants. The audience screamed “We Love You!”

Jacob Lusk Top 9 American idol

Next, Haley Reinhart was to sing Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart”. Before she performed they showed her rehearsing and Will I. Am suggested that she put more emotion into her singing. This song is difficult to do properly because no one does it better than Janis. Janis Joplin’s style of singing was always powerful and over-the-top. But Haley did a good job singing “Piece of My Heart.” The audience response was a bit better.

Casey Abrams performed next. He chose to sing the Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.” Casey sported an upright bass and a piccolo player. All the judges loved his performance. Lauren Alaina was up next with her soulful R&B version of Aretha Franklin’s hit “Natural Woman.” Standing middle stage with red floodlights in the background, Lauren gave a sultry performance considering that she is only 16. Next to take the stage was James Durbin. He sang George Harrison’s song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” He was accompanied by 2 female violinists and a female cellist. At the end of his song the crowd applauded with extended cheering and screaming. The judges liked seeing the “other side.”

Then it was on to Scotty McCreery. Scotty sang “That’s All Right Mamma” by Elvis Presley. Scotty rocked the song while sitting on stairs with background singers. Then he stood up and commanded the song. At the end, young girls from the audience ran up onto the stage and hugged him! A new Scotty, loved it and flavor where some of the terms used by the judges to describe his performance.

Pia Toscano changed her predictable style of singing ballads by singing the Tina Turner song “River Deep Mountain High.” With a horn section and background singers she gave a good performance but the judges suggested that she study the great performers to improve her singing skills. Then Stefano Langone took the stage and sang “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge. His interpretation was smooth and cool and was received well by the audience and judges.

Surprisingly, maybe the best performance was given last by Paul McDonald with Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” Paul was told to sing “crazy” during rehearsal. And he did just that in a black suit and a wild hairdo. The bottom 3 for the April 7th, 2011 American Idol Results Show are Jacob Lusk, Stefano Langone and Paul McDonald. Tune in to the FOX Network and see the American Idol Results at 8/7c PM.

The result show was a bit of a surprise not only because Pia was eliminated but also because punk rocker Iggy Pop performed live. The Pia Toscano bio will tell you all you need to know about this songbird who auditioned multiple times for American Idol and who, until last night was thought to be a front runner this season.

American Idol: 10th Anniversary - The Hits Volume 1

Top 12 performances in brief – American Idol season 10

>Pia Toscano is so composed. The kind who would play the mean popular girl in high school. Except that she wears glasses. She’s very strong vocally and probably one of the reasons people didn’t vote for Ashton….She’s being pimped so… I hope it won’t push people away from her. A contender but maybe only for 2nd place because it doesn’t seem like she can sing many different types of songs, power ballads yes, something else… not so sure it gets boring after a while on reality TV it only works for established stars.

James Durbin is surfing. You can tell he is in his element, he’s comfortable and yet he is trying hard to show everybody night after night that he deserves to be there. He is doing a good job. I don”t know if he has star power like David Cook or even Adam Lambert but he has got something. A contender.

Steven Tyler is fun to watch, he’s funny even when, especially when he doesn’t say anything just his facial expressions…

There is something about the ones who look right into the camera during their performance. Paul McDonald does that really well. It’s like he’s looking right at you and I’m sure that look gets him tons of votes. That’s something Stefano Langone does not do. Speaking of him have you read about Stefano Langone DUI scandal?

A seemingly effortless performance by Scotty and you don’t have to try or be a country music fan to enjoy it. It was good, not the best ever but efficient and good, at this stage in the competition it’s more than enough for him to advance. I hope he can wow people when the time comes. Much more enjoyable than Stefano’s performance.

Naima is looking right into the camera and Jimmy Iovine loves her, she’s in the pimp spot and has quick a$$ special effects they really want her to make it yes.