Google Acquires Metaweb – Aims To Get Smarter At Answering Questions

Google Google has acquired Metaweb, a San Francisco based start-up, which has been working on building an open and shared database of the world’s knowledge. The Mountain View based search giant is hoping that access to MetaWeb’s technologies and metadata will allow it to gain a better understanding of the web.

Google is already quite good at throwing up pages relevant to the search query, but when it comes to directly answering questions, it still has a long way to go. Google is capable of answering straight forward queries like “India’s independence day”. However, for complicated queries like “actors over 40 who have won at least one oscar”, you will have to do all the legwork.

Semantic search is something all major search engines are currently working on. Wolfram Alpha is quite good at answering certain specific types of questions. DuckDuckGo also tries to tackle this issue by pooling in answers from various sources (including Wolfram Alpha). However, the biggest threat for Google is Facebook, simply because of the vast pool of user data that is available to the social networking behemoth.

Google Search Now More Dictionary Definition Friendly

Have you ever used Google to lookup meanings of words? Well, I have done it several times and have found it a bit of an hassle when it comes to searching dictionary meanings because of the way Google presented search results. However, I just came across a really awesome feature in Google Search which will make search for dictionary meanings a piece of cake.

google_better_dictionary_search

As you can see from the screenshot above, Google Search now displays dictionary definitions more prominently and also includes options to browse on more information about the words you are searching. This is not limited to a single word and can be used for several other words as seen in the screenshot below.

google_dictionary_search
This is definitely a very big improvement on what I used to see earlier and will make life easier for people who use Google to actually find definitions and meanings for words. Really very helpful. This is just one of the several improvements I have been seeing with Google Search. Earlier, Google had also introduced a Answering and Feedback system which would allow them to improve search results.

What do you think of the new Dictionary definition improvements in Google? Do you like them? Will you find it useful? Do let me know your thoughts.

Apple iPhone 4 Press Conference Steve Jobs Video

Earlier today, Apple held a iPhone 4 press conference to discuss issues with the . In that conference Steve Jobs announced free bumper cases for 4 and also an option to return the iPhone 4 and get a full refund.

Steve Jobs at the iPhone 4 Press Conference

In addition to that, Steve Jobs also demoed the Antenna "Death Grip" issues with several smartphones available in the market. If you missed the conference you can read the Apple iPhone 4 Conference Roundup we did earlier. In addition to that, Apple has now uploaded the July 16 iPhone 4 Press conference which was held at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, California.

You can watch the entire video of the iPhone 4 Press conference at the official Apple events site here. You may also be able to download the videos and view them offline on your PC or Mac OS X.

iPhone 4 Press Conference Live Updates, Audio and Feed

Watch iPhone 4 Press Conference in California online. Live Audio updates for iPhone 4 conference. iPhone 4 Conference July 16, 2010 live updates and feeds.

Apple is holding a Press Conference about the presumably to address concerns about the signal "Death Grip" issues, plaguing them since the 4 launched last month. Apple has sold over 3 million units since launch, and many if not all of them have an issue where the signal bar drops if you hold the phone in a certain way.

A bumper cases is said to resolve the issue, but is not clear whether Apple might be forced to recall the iPhone 4 units or provide free bumper cases to everyone. Also, it is not clear at this time whether Steve Jobs himself will be talking at the conference or not.

apple_logo

Apple has been dodging the iPhone 4 reception issues by asking users to hold the iPhone 4 differently and also addressing the public through an open letter about the reception issues. However, a recent Consumer Reports article which asked users to avoid the iPhone 4 has not yet gotten any response from Apple.

Many users thought that a software update may resolve the issues, however, which was made available earlier does not solve reception issues with the iPhone 4, however, iOS 4.0.1 does solve the signal bar issue to a certain extent. It will be interesting to see what Apple and Steve Jobs have to say at the conference.

Apple usually does not allow live streaming of the conference, but there are several other ways in which you can stay on top of the Apple iPhone 4 press conference on Friday, July 16, 2010 to be held in California.

Lucky folks from Engadget get to attend the conference live, which you can follow at Engadget Live. Mac Rumors may also cover the press conference live and you can view the updates at http://www.macrumorslive.com/. In addition to that our favorite site GDGT may also cover the event which you can view updates for at http://live.gdgt.com/. All Things D a popular site will also cover the conference live, which you can follow by visiting this link.

Audio streams for the iPhone 4 press conference will be available at http://live.twit.tv/, you can also follow the updates on by following @macrumorslive.

More options to get updates on the Apple iPhone 4 press conference will be added once they become available, we will also try to add some video streams if they are available later on.

Google Webmaster Tools Rolls Out Better Statistics For Search Queries

If you have visited your Google Webmasters account today, you might notice some significant changes in the way you will see statistics about your website. The new significant change in Google Webmasters is for the search queries, where you will see a new field called impressions and the number of clicks it got.

google_webmasters_impressions

Another significant change in Google Webmasters is the introduction of a Google Analytics style dashboard where you can see the stats and clicks for different search queries that were related to your site.

google_webmasters_search_queries_dashboard

The good thing about the new statistics system is that you can narrow down the queries for different periods or even view statistics for certain days only and then also determine your search and keyword rankings easily. I don’t see any other significant changes with the dashboard other than this, but rest aside, this is something that will definitely be very useful to webmasters. What do you think?

Update: This information is not new and has been available for past two months, apologies for that. You can view more about it at the Official Google Webmasters blog.

Gulf Oil Spill Cap Placed Oil Spill Stopped Video

Tonight must bring a big relief for people all over America and also BP the oil giants after they were able to put a Cap on the well in the Gulf Oil to stop the oil leak.

The Gulf Oil Spill has been happening since past 87 days and millions of gallons of oil has been leaked into the ocean damaging water and natural surroundings in several states in US. However, the spill has now been finally stopped, at-least temporarily with no oil gushing out of the well.

It might take a few days or weeks before full recovery takes place and these are crucial, because this is the first time that the Oil Spill has stopped in 87 days and the well might have taken a lot of pressure. You can watch a video of a cap being placed on the Gulf Oil well and the oil leaking completely stopped below.

Yahoo Will Soon Test Bing Powered Search Results, Both Paid and Organic

Yahoo is soon planning to embrace Bing and power a percentage of live Yahoo search using Microsoft’s search engine. According to a blog post from Search Engine land Yahoo sent an email discussing some of the organic Yahoo to Bing transition topics that are on the mind of their advertisers.

Yahoo has confirmed that they are testing the Bingpowered results offline and soon they will be testing the same in the live search results. The email wrote:

Though much of our testing is already happening offline, this month we’ll also test the delivery of organic and paid search results provided by Microsoft on live Yahoo! traffic.

The testing will be impaired on both paid and organic search queries and Yahoo says that the testing volumes will fluctuate during this period. The paid volume will be low on the first weeks, this is to ensure proper ROI of the advertisers.

Hence, if you go to Yahoo and perform a search, chances are that you will see search results powered by Bing. The testing period will last for two months and end on September.

Seorountable found a thread at Webmasterworld which consists of a presentation video by Yahoo and Microsoft of the transition timelines for Bing to begin powering Yahoo on both the organic and paid side of search. Here is a slide from the presentation:

yahoo-bing-powered-results

The Bing powered results will be implemented on both paid and organic search queries and if the experiment goes as planned, Yahoo plans to power 30% search queries using Bing.

Next Generation Apple MacBook Air And iPod Touch Details Surface

Looks like Apple is not only concentrating on the iPhone 4 reception issues. Digitimes reports that Apple has been working on a new MacBook Air. The next generation MacBook Air will be featuring an 11.6-inch screen, andApple will be powered by an Intel Core i series ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) processor.

Along with the next generation MacBook Air, Apple is also working on the next generation iPod refresh. There is a very strong possibility that the next generation iPod Touch will feature a camera. According to Digitimes, the next generation iPod Touch will feature a 3MP camera, which is capable of clicking pictures and recording videos. The next gen iPod Touch will also be powered by the 1Ghz Apple A4 processor.

The MacBook Air and the iPod Touch will be manufactured by Quanta Computer, according to the report from Digitimes.

RIAA Spent More Than $16 Million in 2008 To Recover Only $0.391 Million

RIAA-Sucks If there is one thing that RIAA is famous for, it is suing people. Unfortunately for RIAA, their sue-happy policy doesn’t seem to be paying off. The Recording Industry vs. The People blog has uncovered that RIAA managed to recover only $391,000, after spending more than $16,000,000 in 2008 on litigations.

The statistics look even more dismal if you consider the three year period between 2006 and 2008. During this period RIAA spent more than $64 million and managed to recover only $1.3 million.

It’s ironic how a trust whose primary purpose is to look after the interest of artists is wasting money on litigations. The only ones benefiting from RIAA’s actions are the law firms. RIAA paid Holmes Roberts & Owen more than $9.3 million, Jenner & Block more than $7 million and Cravath Swain & Moore $1.25 million.

Well done RIAA!

Borders Has a New eBook Store, eReader and Apps

Recently, I told you how to grab plenty of eBooks from Amazon and read them in the free Kindle apps. I had also told you previously how to access thousands of free eBooks using FBReader. I’m not lying when I tell you that I have plenty of stuff to read. Despite that, I was pleased to see that the well known Borders book store was opening an online Borders eBook store. Can they compete with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Books-a-Million and maybe (in the future) Google?

borders-ebook-store

Borders has a little eBook reader named the Kobo, for about $150. It will let you shop, order and read the eBooks over any Wifi connection. It’s very cute and weighs less than 8 ounces. It’s size makes it easy to bring along anywhere you go. The 6-inch display should make reading fairly comfortable.

kobo-reader

This last Christmas, my daughter gave me a Borders gift card. At the time, I had no idea if I would ever use it. As soon as I found out that Borders went online, I went out and bought my Christmas present and started reading it in the free Kobo eReader app.

The eReader app isn’t complicated, it’s easy to use and it’s also available on several platforms: PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry and Android.

It’s not so cute, but it does allow you to shop, order and read all the eBooks in the Borders eBook store. Here you can see what it looks like on my Windows netbook (screen rotated by iRotate).

kobo-ereader-app

Will the Borders eBook store be a big hit? I can’t say for sure, but I’m enjoying it until my gift card runs out of money. I love to read :)