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Google Maps API: “The Google Maps API lets developers embed Google Maps in their own web pages with JavaScript. You can add overlays to the map (including markers and polylines) and display shadowed ‘info windows’ just like Google Maps.”

Apostrophes and Google Don’t Mix: When phrase searching in Google (and most likely plenty of other places) it might be better if the phrase does not include an apostrophe. If a typographical or “smart” apostrophe is used in the original then it might be missed in the index.

55 Ways to Have Fun With Google: A free PDF of the book by Philipp Lenssen is now available.

Latent Semantic Indexing: Increasingly used by Google. (This means that they are depending more on semantic analysis to determine ranking of results, rather than simple keywords and link analysis.) You can even do a “semantic” search on a term by prepending it with “~”. For example, searches on “~word” and “word” return different results.

Google SMS:

“Google SMS (Short Message Service) enables you to easily get precise answers to specialized queries from your mobile phone or device. Send your query as a text message and get phone book listings, dictionary definitions, product prices and more. Just text.

I’ve used this a handful of times and it is a great service. The message comes back in a few seconds — it can be faster than looking up an address in a phonebook. Once you have texted “10002 pizza” and gotten back a list of slice vendors on the Lower East Side you will be hooked. (I wrote these notes on Google SMS in an earlier epoch. Not as amazing now that smartphones are everywhere. But this still works on dumb phones, as far as I know, and should also work when there is no data connection.)

Google Scholar:

“Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports

While this is far from compendious enough yet to displace the Science Citation Index (for example), it is very interesting and is likely to become important, as Google’s beefy resources are behind it. And it is definitely a boon to scholars who don’t happen to have institutional access to literature databases.


See Google Scholar, above.

Elicit is a new service that uses AI to find papers that answer your research questions. Requires a free account.


Creative Commons Search: Find CC-licensed images, with a good set of filters.

Bing image search is better than Google’s, which (like every other type of Google search) has gotten rapidly worse in the last few years.


Etymology Dictionary

Free Online 1911 Encyclopedia: “The LoveToKnow Free Online Encyclopedia is based on what many consider to be the best encyclopedia ever written.”

Amazon Book Search: You can search not only for book titles and keywords, but for actual contents.

People searches: Zabasearch; Spock; Spokeo

Newspipe: “Newspipe is an RSS/Atom aggregator with a difference: It allows you to keep track of your feeds through e-mail”

Dowser: “Dowser is a research tool for the web. It clusters results from major search engines, associates words that appear in previous searches, and keeps a local cache of all the results you click on in a searchable database.”

Public Radio Downloads: The 43Folders website maintains a list of places where you can go to download public radio programs.


The Wikipedia “is collaboratively developed using wiki software”.

Wikipedia Reputation and the Wemedia Project

In this Wikipedia healing experiment Prof. Halavais introduces errors into the Wikipedia and discovers that they are corrected within hours.

Well Put: The problem with the Wikipedia concept.

Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism: I agree with everything in this essay by Jaron Lanier. Wikipedia is his big example. There is a follow-on interview on the Philosopher’s Zone program from ABC radio (Australian national radio) that’s pretty engaging.

Democritizing knowledge.

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The best tool for CVs with publication lists.