Link: Teoma has now merged with Ask.com. Ask got hold of it back in late 2001, but it is no more. The one thing that it has that Ask doesn't is the "Resources" section, which is a shame. However, apparently less than 1% of visitors were using it (mostly librarians I suspect), so I can understand why it's gone, but I still don't have to like the fact that it's gone. According to the Ask.com blog they might revisit it in the future, but I doubt it somehow.
Link: Ask.com UK. Ask has now got rid of the butler (hurrah!) and has been launched with a really nice new interface. It's very clean and slick. It comes with 2 immediate options - search the Web or the UK only (the UK only version does find .com sites based in the UK such as mine, which is good). The results page is nice and clear with a very limited number of adverts, and a good narrow/expand search feature that I liked.
Advanced search is fine, though it doesn't include options such as limiting by file format, which needs to be addressed.
Over on the right hand side of the page is a 'Search Tools' box, allowing you to choose things such as Images, News, Weather and so on. A nice feature here shows the tie up with Bloglines, and with a single click I can go straight into my bloglines account, which is useful. This box can be edited, so I can position search tools that I frequently use at the top of the list and get rid of those that I don't.
There are new and improved maps/driving directions. I wasn't too keen on those I'm afraid - I prefer the Google approach here, since it's less cluttered and slightly more intuitive.
There's an encyclopedia search, taking content from Wikipedia, Houghton Mifflin and Columbia. I asked for the population of London and got a good result, so was pleased with that.
All in all, I like it a *lot* more than the older version and I think that Ask is definately moving in the right direction.
Link: Google Page Creator. Google has created a bit of software to allow you to create your own webpages that they will host. I've not been able to use it yet since the demand is very high (no surprise there!), but you can leave your email address and they'll get back at some point I'm sure. The link goes to the 'About' page.
Link: Typosquatters. Nice little article from Philipp Lenssen on typosquatters - well, less of an article, more a series of thumbshots of sites such as amazoon.com, yahhoo.com and my personal favourite mycrosoft.com.
Link: Google Tops Search Loyalty Study, Though Many Searchers Aren't That Loyal. Nice summary of a study by Compete from Danny Sullivan on how loyal search engine users are. Unsurprisingly, Google tops the list with 71% (that is to say that 71% of its users just use that engine and no other, while the remaining 29% will use Google and at least A.N. Other). I can't say that I'm surprised by the findings, though I'd be fascinated to see a similar study for librarians and information professionals. I suspect (or at least hope!) the figures would be much lower.
Link: BigMouthMedia banned? There's a discussion going on at Cre8asite Forums which implies that a UK SEO company, BigMouthMedia has been banned from the Google Index, presumably for doing something that they shouldn't. No-one is quite sure what they've done though, which is interesting. As this is following on quickly from the BMW.de ban (they're now back in by the way), it looks as though Google could be starting to get a little tougher on black hat SEO techniques. I suspect that more will follow.....