Month: May 2017

Alternatives to Google Search Engine

Alternatives to Google Search Engine

Perhaps the term “wannabe” is too harsh to describe the following projects; but becoming Google killers is what they aspire to be and in that context they are wannabe’s and nothing less. Google enjoys the top spot in search engines and has not been faced with a decent threat… well, since its conception. Many have tried and failed to knock it off its throne and here are a few noteworthy contenders.

Bing –It was a ridiculous name to start off with; imagine responding to someone’s question with “just Bing it”? Microsoft determined that what the public wanted was a search engine with extras, a funky interface and a navigation menu. As usual, they got it wrong. After the initial buzz that was created, the website has been dropping in popularity with every passing day. The main problem can perhaps be traced to the fundamental point of a search engine – To search and deliver results quickly and effectively. Bells and whistles are nice for a while, but what people want is something that gives you results without taking up bandwidth or time or shoving unnecessary things in front of your nose.

Wikia Search – This project was conceived by Wikipedia’s co-founder Jimmy Wales and his Wikia Co-founder Angela Beesly. Wikia Search was inspired by the success of Wikipedia and the collaborative work that went towards making it a success. “Crowdsourcing” was deemed to be the next big way to power search results. The primary idea was to increase the relevancy of search results and make the process as transparent as possible so that no one would be able to “play the system”. With the transparency angle, the creators wanted everyone to be able to see who modified the search results, where and why. Sadly the project came to an end in March 2009. The economic recession took no prisoners and as a result the funding ran out for the project. Wikia Search has been put on hold indefinitely, but hopefully this innovative concept will return at some point in the future.

Cuil – Pronounced “cool”, Cuil was formed by ex-Google employees as well as several web veterans. The project’s goal was to take on Google head-to-head and come out as the winner. It hope to do this by using its own page rank system which gave merit to relevance rather than popularity (as Google does). So the engine would look for your search term on a web page and then look at the content in the page to see how relevant it was to the term. Search results would be filtered in this way and deliver better results to the user. Unfortunately, things did not work quite according to plan users were disappointed with the results they got. Rafe Needleman of CNET put it succinctly when he said Cuil launched in a blaze of glory which was followed by a collapse in a ball of flames.

Wolfram|Alpha – Technically Wolfram|Alpha is not a search engine in the same context that Google is. It was unfortunately portrayed to be a Google killer by the media and has never quite lived up to that expectation. But make no mistake Wolfram|Alpha could have dethroned Google as the portal to knowledge if things had gone according to plan. The idea behind the project was to have a verified repository of information which users could plunder in their search for facts. The “Coup de grâce” in some ways was its ability to understand natural language – to an extent. Both those features made it an excellent tool research tool, which could have become a premier source of information. However, the initial lack of data coupled with a lack of relevancy for a majority of users has seen it drop from public interest day by day. The project has been boosting its repository with more and more data every day with the hope that at some point the project will take off.

 

 

Look Out For Fake Online Shops

Look Out For Fake Online Shops

As the world shifts its shopping onto the Internet, the scammers that exist in the physical world are following them there. Plenty of fake websites have sprung up hoping to catch unsuspecting consumers and the sad fact is that the consumers are falling for it.

The primary way to avoid such bogus sites is to stick to the old adage “If it’s too good to be true, then it is”. If you are looking for the newest X-Box on the day before Christmas and you find a website that says they have lots in stock – it’s fake! Sometimes the scam works by offering unbelievably low prices on products. Again, if it’s unbelievable, it probably is.

But sometimes you just can’t figure it out, because the scam is pretty good. In these instances, just put good old Google to use. Let’s say the company’s name is ABC789 Inc. Just type in that name in Google and look at what turns up. Usually, if it is a company that has been in operation for a while, there will be many hits on the page. You will also run into many forums where users have commented on that company. From this information you can make an informed decision on what type of company it is and how reliable their products are.

As always, good research can always help you before you get into a sticky situation. Don’t be impetuous and impulsive when you make purchases online, because it might even get you into more trouble than losing your money or getting a bad product.

Keystroke Loggers and Their Advantages

Keystroke Loggers and Their Advantages

Keystroke loggers come in many forms and can be hardware of software based. They are designed to capture the keyboard input from a user key-for-key. Usually keystroke loggers are known more for their negative use than positive use.

Hackers often use various different implementations of keystroke loggers to capture personal details of a user. Through this they gain access to bank account details, passwords, etc. However, a good virus / malware scanner should be able to protect you from this type of threat.

The positive use of keystroke loggers is to ensure safety – in the workplace and at home. By using a logger on all your office machines you can track any information leaks that take place. Employees may be knowingly or unknowingly revealing sensitive information to customers and a logger will help you identify that. It can also help you monitor any unwanted browsing activities. Productivity can be lessened by time wasted at social networking sites, mini games sites or worse at pornographic sites. By using a logger, you can keep a tight control on your internet access policies.

The same can be done at home. This time it is to protect your children. Although it may seem like an invasion of privacy, knowing exactly what your children are doing online can help prevent unfortunate incidents taking place. There are many predators out there on the net and taking precautions against it will be prudent. By monitoring and blocking inappropriate websites, you will be protecting your child from harm.