September 20, 2007

Happy 25th Birthday to the Smiley :-)

Ready for some history? Let's go. In 1982:

- San Francisco d. Cincinnati (26-21) in the Super Bowl

- Martina Navratilova d. C. Evert Lloyd to win Wimbledon

- Michael Jackson's thriller was the top album (yes, album, NOT CD)

And something else happened--something that you might have even used today when sending an email or composing a web page:

25 years ago on Wednesday, the first email message with a smiley emoticon :-) was sent.

The sender: Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Professor Scott E. Fahlman.

25 years have passed, and emoticons have become an essential part of communicating online. What's more, The Associated Press tells us:

Emoticons reflect the likely original purpose of language - to enable people to express emotion, said Clifford Nass, a professor of communications at Stanford University..."What emoticons do is essentially provide a mechanism to transmit emotion when you don't have the voice," Nass said. In some ways, he added, they also give people "the ability not to think as hard about the words they're using."

This Carnegie Mellon page has much more.

Emoticon search: the next logical step

Here at we're happy to report that you can actually search for some of the most popular emoticons by simply entering the characters into a search box. Each result appears as a Smart Answer at the top of a results page, containing a definition of what the emoticon stands for, a link to an emoticon list, and much more.

Here are a few examples of what you can search for:






So, congrats and a big :-) to Professfor Fahlman at CMU.

Gary Price
Director of Online Information Resources

PS: it's not only emoticons that translates. We do the same for some of the most popular chat shorthand.


PPS: Speaking of applications--and Carnegie Mellon University--here's an embeddable map of the campus:

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November 21, 2006

Shedding Light on "Black Friday"

If there's one thing people like more than holiday shopping, it's holiday bargains--am I right, people? And no day is better for that than Black Friday, That mythical  day-after-Thanksgiving when all the stores lower their prices and brace for the onslaught.

In the real world, you bolt up from your turkey coma bright and early, stuff your purse with newspaper ads and department store circulars and gird yourself for the inevitable shopping crowds of this notorious post-holiday holiday. This year, however, there's a new wrinkle. Turns out online stores are publishing their Black Friday prices earlier than ever--often to the dismay of the big box stores and other chains.

Looking for the latest--and earliest--Black Friday sales? The blogosphere's lousy with 'em. Sites are leaking, blogging, and re-blogging them like crazy.

Start by typing "Black Friday" into's Blog & Feed search. You'll find blog postings everywhere about Black Friday sales. See a blog you like? Just hit that pull-down menu and subscribe to it on your preferred service. We let you subscribe via Bloglines, Google, Yahoo, even AOL…it doesn't matter to us. We're uniters, not dividers.

Because if there's one thing everyone can agree on, it's saving money at holiday time. Oh, and maybe sticking it to Best Buy. We can't vouch for that one though.

Happy Turkey,

--The Team

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October 14, 2006

No BAD Karaoke Here – Just Great Search

The team is having a great time in NYC this week at the DigitalLife consumer technology show. DigitalLife brings all the best products together from TVs, cameras, and printers to phones, games and, of course, Search.

In our booth, attendees are grabbing the extremely popular bags, bidding against each other in our Search Game Show, testing out our brand new Mobile, and learning how really is making search better.

There is a lot of buzz and energy at the show, and honestly, some of the worst karaoke performances ever. Simon  was overheard saying, “Your performance was so bad that your singing should be illegal.” A few of us agreed: Leave Break Away to Kelly Clarkson  or consider singing lessons (or even signing lessons) before breaking out of the living room for the public stage.

All jokes aside, we are having a lot of fun. If you are in NYC this weekend, stop by and see us. You can’t miss us. We are right at the front the entrance of the show - after all, search is the gateway to everything that touches our digital lives.

The DigitalLife Team

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October 12, 2006

Get out of my dreams. Get into my phone. Mobile is here.

Have you ever heard something repeated so often during the day that you start hearing it in your sleep?  And then it plays over and over again so you can’t rest at all.

Well, for a while now my much-needed beauty rest has been disturbed by the question I keep hearing from many of you:

“Why can’t I search better on my mobile phone?
Why can’t I search better on my mobile phone?
Why can’t I search better on my mobile phone?”

Well guess what—I’m dumping out the chamomile tea, tossing out my Ambien and setting my alarm clock for noon tomorrow, because NOW YOU CAN!   

Today we are announcing Mobile—a brand-new service specifically designed for searching the web from your phone.  Finally, your small screen and cramped keyboard won’t slow you down anymore. Mobile includes numbered shortcuts to access tools more quickly, remembers your recent queries so you don’t have to retype them, and “skweezes” web pages down to fit your phone’s screen so you can actually access and read them.

You’ll also find mobile-optimized Smart Answers and Zoom Related Search within our mobile web search results to help you find exactly what you are looking for as quickly and easily as possible. We’ve even made room for our popular Image Search, Weather and Area Code Lookup, Currency Conversion, Horoscopes, Time Zones, not to mention (ok, I just did) a link to Bloglines Mobile.

Last but not least, in order to help you find your way around, we’ve included our beloved Maps and Directions – including Walking Directions and Aerial Imagery – as well as Business Listings (with click-to-dial phone number display).

So break out your pink Razr or your new Chocolate phone and punch in (or just and we’ll know its you) and give it a try.  It’s what you’ve been asking for, all night long.

Emanuel Bettelheim,
Product Manager, Mobile

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October 09, 2006

Update: RSS Smart Answers are now available on international sites

Since the launch of our sites in German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Dutch, we do our best to make sure that many new features make their way into our international sites as soon as possible. Recently, our Blog & Feed Search  was launched simultaneously on US and UK as well as on our 5 other European locales.

Now, we are excited to introduce a new feature that allows users to surface feed content when searching from the main Web channel. This new feature, recently launched on in the US, is called RSS Smart Answers, and is now available on all of our European sites.

The new RSS Smart Answers make popular UK, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Dutch blogs accessible on the main Web search channel. From now on, you can expect to see the three latest posts of many of your favorite blogs and RSS feeds at the top of search results pages. New items appear almost instantly in the Smart Answer after the author publishes an article. Of course, you'll also find a direct link to the blog to see the entire post.

Here are some examples of popular blog searches on our European sites:

Germany: Shopblogger, Ehrensenf
UK: The Register, Slashdot
Spain: Barrapunto, Microsiervos
France: C'est moi qui l'ai fait! Pointblog
Italy: Beppe Grillo, Macchianera
Netherlands: Geenstijl, Bieslog

The first set of RSS Smart Answers, selected from the most popular blogs list of our RSS aggregator Bloglines, gathers a vast number of blogs about different subjects, sometimes serious, sometimes funny, political, technical or simply trendy. You can expect even more RSS Smart Answers that will bring the world of blogs within easy reach from's search results page.

The International Team

ps. You can also read this post in Dutch, French, German, Italian or Spanish.

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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

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September 19, 2006

Avast Ye Searchers

Talk Like A Pirate Day

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, we bring you a very special episode of our Top Searches.

Top 10 Searches That Pirates Performed on

Scurvy Be Gone
Grog chaser
Shipwreck news
Landlubber translator
Eye-Patch Be-dazzler
Parrot recipes
What yarr be callin Metal Detectors
Treasure maps
Which side is port?


The Dread Pirate Ask

Related Posts: Last Year's Talk Like A Pirate Day

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August 30, 2006

Search with a :-)

For a long time people have wanted the ability to search for terms and phrases on the web using non-letter (A-Z) characters. Put another way, searching using non-alphanumeric characters.

Well the time has come here at and we've started to roll-out some what we hope are useful and practical examples.

We now offer a growing list of emoticons (aka smileys) that can be found by simply typing the smiley into the search box. Look for the definition in a Smart Answer box at the top of web results page.

Examples include:

:-) - Find this emoticon's meaning

:-/ - Find this emoticon's meaning

:D - Find this emoticon's meaning

Of course, each Smart Answer also includes links straight to a dictionary for more emoticons and other net terms. We even offer a link to learn more about IM ettiqutte.

By the way, we also offer a non-alphanumeric result for a popular weblog/news site.

In addition to smileys, we're building a set of Smart Answers for instant messaging shorthand like
brb, lol and rotfl.

Again, we just don't give you the definition but also links to sites where you can learn more.

We plan on doing more with non-alphanumeric searching in the future.

All of this is about Smart Answers saving users time and effort in getting to the information they need.


The Smart Answer Team

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August 22, 2006

Treasure Hunted

In case you missed it -- last night was the Treasure Hunter's finale. would like to congratulate the Genius Team on winning the treasure, which amounted to 3 million dollars.

We really enjoyed being the official search engine for the show, and we're glad that our search engine and tools were there to help the contestants throughout its entirety - both on-air and in the online game.

For more on Treasure Hunters: Go to | Search on

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August 09, 2006

On Fire at SES

I'm taking a few moments away from attending SES to post some pictures from our party on Monday night. In contrast to some past parties where we had appearances by everyone from Boba Fett to William Hung, our goal this time was to just have a place where people could lounge around and have fun. Of course, we couldn't completely help ourselves, resorting to a minor pyrotechnic display toward the end of the night.

Here's a peek at the fun:

We're very glad to hear everyone enjoyed themselves, including Loren:

" hosted an awesome party Monday evening which lived up to total expectation of the crowd who have been pampered with marketing team craziness at many a Search Engine Strategies get together". - Fire Breathing at Party

Big props and special thanks go out to Usha Mishra & Jennifer Hallett for pulling off another great SES event.

PS: Requests have been flooding in, and yes, we'll post some photo booth pictures soon, too.

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