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May 20, 2012
Browsing On A Sunday: Changes to Google Search, Teaching Corporate Practice, e-Books, and Yet Another Social Network
Google made changes to its search engine last week. One of these is Knowledge Graph. Results about things, places, or people will now include a side bar with related information for the searched term. This content can include key dates, images, writings, and other facts. Search, for example, H.L.A. Hart and immediately to the rights of the results is a picture of Hart; a snippet from the Wikipedia page on Hart; dates for birth and death; links to books; and related searches.
At least one article in PCWorld suggests that Google is developing the Knowledge Graph as the basis of a competitor to Apple’s Siri product. It makes sense that Google would leverage its expertise in search for this type of service if, as the article says, Google could get the voice part right. It’s been a while now since Google added voice search to its interface. It should have a significant amount of experience by now with search by voice to make a credible leap to natural language queries.
The Washington Post is reporting about the law schools at Catholic University and Georgetown offering classes on in-house lawyering. The courses emphasis corporate law practice and bring in experienced corporate counsel along with business leaders as lecturers. American University and George Washington University are in the planning stages for similar courses. The initiative is to make graduates more attractive to small and mid-size businesses who would not have a legal department.
Hachette is starting a pilot program to make e-books available to libraries, according to paidContent. Hachette stopped selling e-books to libraries in 2010. There are no details as to the nature of the program or the technology behind it, at least not yet. Hachette is one of the publishers that settled with the Department of Justice in the price fixing case filed against Apple and five other publishers.
If anyone is looking for yet another site that lets users share web content, then take a look at Microsoft’s So.cl site. It’s pronounced “social.” Get it? So.cl has left the beta stage and is now available to the general public. The site helps a subscriber assemble links and other content into a “compelling visual montage.” The site FAQ suggests that it is not a competitor to other social sites. It is mostly a place to share search content with others. The beta phase took place at several universities where students naturally search the same content. Login requires a Facebook or Windows Live account.
The idea of analyzing search for similar content sounds a little like what Google is doing. Sharing is just another way to get people to participate. Is Microsoft working on a competitor to Siri as well? [MG]