Friday, July 13, 2007's SearchMash

Posted by magnus @ 09:23 PDT under General, Web Search Engines

Google has started a new site called SearchMash which seems to be intended to test out new UI ideas for search results. It’s AJAX-based and currently has web page and image search.

Currently they show images to the right of web page results and the green URLs are clickable menus. When you click on “more web pages” it expands in place, giving you a longer scrollable page instead of a new one, which looks good and is useful.
It appears that they will experiment there so it should be fun to go back every now and then. Nice to see more of AJAX and JavaScript.



What is unstructured data?

This blog is devoted to the study of unstructured data, or semi-structured data, or complex data, or whatever we are this week calling data that hasn’t been sledge hammered into an RDBMS.  I’m working on a position piece on the nomenclature; in the meantime, here are some thoughts from Josh Berkus of Database Soup:

As a database geek, the instance of Silicon Valley linguistic quackery which is my pet peeve du jour is "unstructured data," and its sibling "semi-structured data."  This was brought particularly to my attention last week when I started a data warehouse project which involves the digestion and analysis of a few million web pages, which was classified an "unstructured data archive," a name I quickly changed.  But a quick round of Google searches will reveal quite a buzz in the Valley around these vague terms.

To be perfectly clear: "unstructured data" is an oxymoron.   Unstructured bits, characters, and words are not data, they are gibberish.  Or noise.  Or, to use a data processors' term, garbage.  While the market for garbage processing seems rather confined to the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, somehow vendors of "unstructured data processing" have been able to raise millions in venture capital.   So to what, exactly, are these vendors referring?


An Imperfect Equilibrium

An Imperfect Equilibrium

The Nash equilibrium is a kind of optimal strategy for games involving two or more players. If there is a set of strategies for a game with the property that no player can benefit by changing his strategy while the other players keep their strategies unchanged, then that set of strategies and the corresponding payoffs constitute a Nash equilibrium. Players will choose the strategies that form the equilibrium if it is played among completely rational players ...

And therein lies the rub ... (From Wikipedia)