September 28, 2006

How's The Weather Down There?

Our office is a very busy place. This week we have two feature enhancements to alert you to.

We've revamped some of our Weather Smart Answers and Weather overview pages to provide you with even more info.

For a deep example of our new features, try a search for weather Washington DC.

Our new and enhanced page offers a new cleaner look, satellite and radar imagery, a seven day forecast, and real time alerts.

So, let's say Washington DC is undergoing a weather advisory, it will be listed (in real time) either right within the initial Smart Answer result or within the Weather channel up on the left side of the page.

Of course, all of our other weather-related Smart Answers remain available.

For example we offer:

* Current weather
* 12 month climate info (search by city name or Zip Code)
* Detailed Weather Reports provide not only a quick forecast but additional weather data. Again, search by city name or Zip Code.

Lots of our weather data is available on a global scale. So from Stuttgart, Germany to Regina, Saskatchewan to Christchurch, New Zealand, we have the information.

Now here's the scoop on the second feature we've launched today.

For quite some time has provided a real time feed of earthquakes happening around the world. A simple search for earthquakes brings up the latest earthquake info with location, date, time, and magnitude. You'll also spot a box where you can limit your search. For example, earthquakes Indonesia. Of course, you could also do this from the main search box. You'll also see links for "all earthquakes" (in a list form) and weather conditions at or near the location you've searched.

So, what's new today?

Now when you run a basic search for "earthquakes", click on the Area Earthquakes Activity link and in very short order, you'll have a map with each earthquake visible on the map as a red circle. On the left side of the page, a text list of each quake is provided. The location is hyperlinked. You can also get info about the quake by clicking the various numbers on the map.

Check these new features out and let us know what you think. We think they are pretty cool.

The Team

Posted by Blog | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 07, 2006

Ready Reference for Hurricane Season

Hurricane season for the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico typically runs from June 1 to November 30. has recently made some Smart Answer additions to assist in tracking this seasonal storm-related information.

A frequently used phrase in the library and research world is "ready reference." Its meaning deals with having resources to answer certain factual types of queries easily and quickly accessible. In the web age, this can also mean having specific web sites or pages at the ready.

Many of you probably keep frequently used and reliable information resources at your fingertips for quick and easy access. They might be on the bookshelf sitting right behind you at this moment or they could be bookmarks to important sites you use and have come to count on.

So, in essence it's about:

* Saving you time and effort. We could all use more time.

* Having some understanding of the quality, scope, currency and reliability of the resource often before using it.

To a certain degree this is what the Smart Answer and Smart RSS programs are all about. Quality resources, easily accessible, saving you time.

Those of you who read our blog know that we are rolling new Smart Answers out all of the time. Today, is no different.

It's hurricane and tropical storm season and now offers a hurricane and tropical storm Smart Answer at the very top of search results pages where our algorithm thinks it will be useful. If you type in hurricane warnings, you get both resources on the same page. has built a ready reference shelf for users with key and direct links from authoritative sources about hurricanes and tropical storms. A real time saver.

In a single location you can find everything from definitions from NOAA (National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration) to a storm tracker to direct links to the Red Cross, FEMA, and a great set of authoritative frequently asked questions also from NOAA.

That's not all.

A few weeks ago we also introduced RSS Smart Answers. These take real time feeds and place their content directly on web results pages when specific trigger terms are entered. Today, when someone enters the phrase "National Hurricane Center" not only get the web links they're expecting but also receive a real-time feed (at the top of a web results page) of news and advisories direct from these hurricane and tropical storm experts in Miami.

The Smart Answer Team

Posted by Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack