Archive for Search Engines

LeapFish, Searches in Real Time

Quite recently the multi-media search engine site,, announced they’re developing a real time search engine. You can find the press release here.

Real time, I assume, means that when something happens on the web, anywhere, LeapFish will be able to find it for you. This will be quite a feat as even search engines like Google or Yahoo may take a few days, some times, to add or update content, though information from major sites may be updated more frequently.

Leapfish will be drawing information from Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other search sites and portals, and proving answers from any and all of these sites on a single page. This way you need not go to each of the individual sites to make a search. All you’ll have to do is go to, conduct your search, and results from all the other sites will be compiled for you.

Truthfully, sites like Yahoo and Google prioritize and categorize results differently. I’m sure you’ve discovered this on your own, and, despite your personal preferences, you may still find yourself visiting several search sites for the information or entertainment your need.

The current Leapfish site has a clean and simple layout. The home page shows information for the stock market, AP News, Youtube Video, and more. This can be useful if you want to see what’s hot on all these sites without having to go to the individual site. The new site should be something to see.

Speaking of which, if you’re interested in checking out the upcoming site in advance, you can request a private demo by contacting them at


D-Day or Tetris … You Decide

… or “Remembering My Grandparents on D-day”.

The past two days I’ve been trying to watch the movie Pearl Harbor (2001)  on cable. I had wanted to see this movie when it came out (despite the poor reviews) and I managed to catch the end last night, and the rest of it this morning … okay, this afternoon … when I woke up.



World War II is significant for my family in several ways. My grandmother was American and worked as a welder in the shipyards of Baltimore, and my Scottish grandfather served in the British Merchant Marines on a supply ship that crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Because of the war my grandparents from two different countries met, got married, and had a son, my father.

But I haven’t been thinking about playing Tetris at all lately, and I haven’t heard of anyone coming together over this game that is typically played solo.

“What in the world am I talking about” or “where am I going” you ask?

Well, after finishing the movie, and taking my laundry out to the cleaners, I turned on my computer and went online. My start page, as always,, and I am confronted by the Lego like logo today. “???” appeared over my head, shortly followed by “!!!”



Now, I know that Google uses a special logo design when they decide to signify some special event or occasion; so I just had to wonder what was behind the new logo. I clicked to find out and it took me to a page about Tetris’s 25th anniversary. It was launched on June 6, 2004 at the Soviet Unions’ Academy of Science by then 29 year old Alexey Pajitnov.

Of course, June 6, 1944, 65 years ago, was the start of the Normandy invasions by the Allied Forces that lead to the end of the war in Europe a little less than a year later. My grandfather survived the war, as did my grandmother. They married the year before the invasion, and my father was born shortly after.

Do a search for “June 6 1944” and D-day is all you’ll see in the results. No mention of Tetris.

Get Cash Back on Purchases

microsoft live searchcashbackI know, I’ve been absent again.  January is always a bad health month for me. Anyone care to pay for my deviated septum surgery?  … No?  Okay.

Microsoft’s Live Search service is offering cash back on purchases made when using Live Search. You can find great deals on the products you want. They have links to the stores you trust: J&R  (, Barnes & Noble (, Hewlett Packard (, and NewEgg ( And, yes, they even have my favorite, TigerDirect (

All you have to do is go to the Live Search site at and search for the products you want to buy, then each time you click a Live Search cashback listing, you’ll find great deals on the product you chose from a variety of topnotch online vendors. Your results will list the cashback savings you’ll receive off the store price, and your final bottom-line price that includes tax and shipping costs.

Here are a few of the cashback percentages you can find:

The list of stores connected to the Live Search cashback system is enormous. You can access a complete list of stores and the cashback amounts provided, and whether or not free shipping is included with your purchase.

When you search you’ll be able to compare and sort products by the bottom-line price, and then you can click the best deal to go to the store. Everything you buy during that store visit will be eligible for Live Search cashback.

On your first time using Live Search cashback, you’ll be asked for an email address so your cashback account can be setup for free. You can keep saving money each time you use Live Search cashback. Every time you make a qualifying purchase, they’ll send you an email to confirm your cashback savings.

Typically 60 days after your purchase you can claim your cash once your account has accumulated a minimum of $5.

Got Something to Sell?

If you have an online shopping service, you may be able to promote your products through Live Search. Find out more about promoting your products in Live Search.

Microsoft Scores

Nick Wingfield of the Wall Street Journal reported some significant news regarding Microsoft this past Friday, and agreed with what they had to say.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at CES 2009

First, let me tell you this were mostly business deals that will greatly benefit Microsoft. Two of them involved raising the profile of Microsoft’s Windows Live Search service, and the last bit of news concerned the next version of Windows, Windows 7, the successor to Windows Vista, due out later this year.

These news bits were all connected to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s keynote address at this past week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This was Ballmer’s first time delivering Microsoft’s keynote address at CES. Previously it has been done by Bill Gates, but Bill Gates stepped away last year from day-to-day matters to become more involved in his philanthropic projects.

verizonVerizon and Windows Live Search

Steve Ballmer announced that Microsoft had a 5 year deal with Verizon Wireless to make Windows Live Search available on Verizon’s mobile phone network.  Microsoft and Google have supposedly been in a bidding war to provide their search services on the network. The deal is estimated to cost a minimum of $650 million with Microsoft paying on a per phone/handset basis.

windows-liveThis bodes well for Microsoft, as they have been trying earnestly to get an advantage on Google. For example, Microsoft’s efforts to acquire Yahoo!have been reported for a long time in the news. Microsoft is the third most popular search service after Google and Yahoo!, but the Verizon deal will get them more visibility.

The Verizon deal will take off in the early half of this year.

dellDell and Windows Live Search

Microsoft also secured a Dell, I mean deal, to have Windows Live Search and the Windows Live toolbar setup as the default search service and tool on Dell’s line of consumer and small business computer systems for the next three years. Microsoft already has similar deals with Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Lenovo.

The Microsoft/Dell deal displaces an existing deal between Dell and Google. Windows Live Search will start appearing on new Dell systems starting in February.

Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft Sr. VP

Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft Sr. VP

Microsoft Senior Vice President Yusuf Mehdi admits that Microsoft needs more deals of this sort to truly compete with Google, but that “These two partnerships are very significant for us, because it…gives an opportunity to put our search offering out before a broader audience now in a pretty mainstream way, and I think you should think about it as the first step of us slowly bringing up the dial on how we start to promote our product.” 

Windows 7

windows-7Steve Ballmer’s other big announcement was that a “test version” of Windows 7 — the successor to Windows Vista which is expected to be released late this year — is now available. The test version, also known as a “beta” version in the computer industry lingo, is available for consumers to tryout on their systems.

Let me warn you that test or beta copies are far from being final, and that bugs do exist in these programs, and that harm could be done to your system and files. Do not use it on your primary computer. The purpose of beta versions if to help Microsoft determine what bugs exist and how to fix them.  It is strongly recommended that should you decide to “try it out” that you back up your entire system first, and, I repeat, don’t use it on your primary computer system.

Microsoft has setup a page discussing things you should know about the beta version, and they have another page for information on the upcoming Windows 7 and its features.

The beta version expires on August 1, 2009. You will need to install a prior version Windows on your system before that date.

Tune in tomorrow morning when I discuss the new features of Windows 7, as well as my theories on how it will be received.

Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form.

Cuil: The New Search Tool

Cuil's logo

Cuil's logo

A new search engine site launched recently: Cuil (pronounced ‘Cool’ from the Old Irish word for ‘knowledge’). The new site experienced some much ballyhooed problems, some due to a huge rush of traffic to see and tryout the new search tool, and some ‘problems’ where users didn’t get the results they expected.

And that’s the whole point.  It’s not Google; it’s cool, er, Cuil; and its all about knowledge.

What sets Cuil apart is it focus, it’s appearance, and the absence of ads.

Just The Facts

If you’re looking for information, real solid information uncluttered by poor writing and unproven facts, then Cuil is a great place to start looking.  Many people today might rush to to find information, but if you’re in the know, you know that Wikipedia’s articles aren’t necessarily fact because anyone, and I mean anyone, can write in Wikipedia.

Google Results

Google Results

Go to Google and search for information on any subject, and a Wikipedia article will probably pop up in the first 5 rows. Not so at Cuil. Is that bad?  Is that wrong? No! Because Cuil knows that Wikipedia’s articles can be more opinion than fact.  The potential for misinformation at Wikipedia has harmed the grade point average of many student’s of all ages.

For example: I did a search for “New Jersey” at both Cuil and Google.  Google listed Wikipedia’s entry at number 2, but it didn’t even show on the first two pages at Cuil.  Check out the pictures attahced.

Another thing you’ll notice about Cuil’s results: They look great, and they’re loaded with good information before you even think to click a link. Cuil displays about twice as much text from the target site, and displays it in a highly readable fashion.

By default, Cuil uses a three column layout, but you can switch to a two column view in the lower right hand corner of the screen.  Again, the two or three column view puts more information on your screen so less page scrolling is needed.  (You’d be surprised to know how many people never scroll, and how many don’t even know they can.)

Cuil Results

Cuil Results

Check out the attached pictures for a closer look at Cuil’s layout and design.

Another thing you’ll notice with their results. Look, ma! No ads!  Go to either Google, Yahoo!, or Windows Live! and conduct a search, and some where you’re going to find ads.  Ads can be great if you are out to shop, but I don’t know many people who turn to ads as a substitute for an education. Do you?

Once again, the absence of ads tells you that Cuil is all about information and knowledge. If you’re shopping or searching for opinions, go to the other guys, but if you want solid information, Cuil will take care of you.

As an aside, you might remember the time, all those years ago, when many of us starting turning to Google instead of Yahoo.  We went there because there was no clutter. We went there because there was good information. If that’s still important to you, as it is for me, you may find yourself turning to Cuil for knowledge.

If anyone has a question, please email them to me using the Contact link, or, if it relates to today’s message, please use the Comment and Question link below. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.