This week has given me two new toys to play with, and you could probably say both were bought at the dollar store. The first was Microsoft‘s release of Rebranded Live, aka Bing. Bing’s search results have been poor (for me), but not much poorer than Google‘s. Just enough poorer for me to see no reason to really switch, which is very bad for Microsoft. There are neat little features, like pop up feed links for blog posts and previews. I like it, but it’s not much. Where they shine is in image search, which incorporates similar image search already (Google still has theirs in Labs). Google Similar Images knocked my socks off at first, but then it just seemed like it should be renamed Google Identical Images. Not much diversity. Bing got this part right. The images are similar, not identical. There is a diverse collection and the navigation is great. Kudos, Live Labs, for that one. Is it perfect? Nope, but it’s better than what I was using.
The next toy was Google Squared, which inspired this tweet right after I tried it:
Further playing around with it convinced me that this would have been a nice tool to have when I was doing ridiculous term papers in high school. Term papers about crap I didn’t care about. Basically random stuff. G^2 is great for that, but really not very helpful otherwise. It was pretty awesome finding out the number of victims of 30 different serial killers all at once, though. As quality improves (assuming it does), this could be pretty useful. Quality has to get there though. 90% of time using it is trial and error trying to find something that works. I was able to add some sorting algorithms to a square, but couldn’t find a single column to add that actually had something in it (that wasn’t absurd). Wolfram|Alpha is still the winner in the knowledge engine department, methinks.