MSN Video gets a Bing facelift.

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Microsoft ups their video search offering by launching an all-new Bing video search engine which replaces the MSN video search. According to a recent release by cynopsis: digital via contributor Wayne Karrfalt,

“the new Bing Video site provides a straightforward interface that points users to videos that are gaining steam or are new to the web. Partnerships with Hulu, ABC and YouTube give Bing access to over 900 TV shows in all. The new Bing also now includes results from its recent licensing deal with next generation search system Wolfram Alpha

I checked out the new Bing Video section, and was impressed by the clean Hulu-like design. Here’s a link from CNET if you want to read more or just click on the video, which weirdly features the MSN video logo and not the Bing logo. What’s up with that?

Want to find something? Ask a librarian.

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Most search engines rely on constantly crawling the web for the purpose of mining keywords, titles, phrases and links. The search engine then indexes the data it collects so that when you search for a topic, it can algorithmically spit back information based on what you typed in the query. As the information on the web increases, weeding through results that weren’t relevant to what you were looking for will occur more and more. The process of asking a question and expecting an answer is fast becoming an inefficient way to find answers, according to a recent technology review post published by MIT. The article suggests a process that is more akin to how you would interact with a librarian. For example, let’s say you asked a librarian to help you find information on Florence. She may ask you to further specify; Florence art, culture, history, Travel? Thus a more efficient way to search online would involve asking a question, then being asked another question for the purpose of specifying what you are looking for, then getting a more targeted answer. To experience this type of search, one has to go no further than a visit to WolframAlpha.com.

Wolfram Apha howls.

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Have you heard about the latest Next Big Thing? It’s called Wolfram Alpha and it is the new darling among digital geeks and the digerati. It’s unlike Google, Wikipedia or any other search engine in that it’s not a search engine at all; it’s a computational knowledge engine. At least that’s what its founder, Stephen Wolfram, a well respected computer scientist and the founder of Wolfram Research is calling it. So how does it work? Wolfram Alpha takes a question you type into a query box and gives you back a computational answer from reliable resources found throughout the web. What’s really cool is that it computes the answer on the fly and spits back charts, graphs, diagrams and links to other related questions and sources in the blink of an eye.

According to www.seobook.com (May 03), The major difference between Wolfram Alpha and existing search services is that it answers questions, as opposed to returning a list of pages. You mean it actually answers questions? How novel. So this is different from Google, in that Google shows you a list of websites based on your keywords, whereas Wolfram answers specific questions and also provides the data to back it’s “answers” up. If I squint real hard I can almost see HAL 9000. Although according to a blog post by the notable computer scientist Nova Spivak, “Wolfram Alpha is not HAL 9000, and it wasn’t intended to be. It doesn’t have a sense of self or opinions or feelings” . Darn, I was hoping Wolfram Alpha could share its feelings with me whilst I searched for the the latest information on Search Enging Optimization. Mr. Spivak goes on to say, “there is no risk of Wolfram Alpha becoming too smart, or taking over the world. It’s good at answering factual questions; it’s a computing machine, a tool — not a mind.

So far, the Wolf hasn’t even been released to the public yet, although the launch is being announced sometime this May. You can get a taste and see how it works by clicking here. Will Wolfram Alpha be just another wolf in the pack, or if will it dominate the herd. I can’t wait to find out.

Enzo F. Cesario