How To Deal With Google Search + Your World

A lot has been going down at Google lately. New collapsed privacy policies, which I am covering in my next class at Solo Practice University, and the roll out of the new Google Search, which adds a + Your World layer to the search giant’s core application – search. What does it all mean? What do I do with this? Big questions, but there are answers to be found and it isn’t as overwhelming and life-changing as one may think when one reads the hue and cries over privacy and search integrity overflowing the tech blogs in the wake of the roll out.

You can read more about the details of Google Search + Your World here. Or check out the video below for an overview.

The essential change is that Search +, as it is being called, will include content added by your friends to your search results when you type in a query. You will also see relevant profiles (Google + profiles, that is) in your results view, and you can expand your social connections with profiles related to your search queries. The assumption, or really the sell, is that content on point generated by your contacts will be of greater relevance, value and presumably veracity than results from the larger, impersonal web. Social results will be marked in your results list with a little blue person, so you can distinguish social or Search + results from general results.

What kinds of content will you see from your friends? Photos, Google + content from your Circles, Google profiles and people and pages related to your topic. So not all of the content being served is directly connected – popular Google social content will also show, which presumably is what traditional SEO companies and advocates are squawking about – it will turn Google relevance on its head. The new mantra is fostering a presence on Google+ in order to improve social search results. Facebook and Twitter won’t help you here – Google is clearly favoring its own content, in part because it can and in part because of impediments to mutually beneficial relationships with Facebook and Twitter. Big business at its best here folks.

Google has been moving in this direction for some time, with its introduction of +1’s across the web improving page ranking and integrating social search back many months ago. It is now giving its own social network, Google +, a leg up in the social search results. And why shouldn’t it? Social search is the next big evolution of search on the web and if Google has readily available relevant social content, they would be “mad” not to include it in their results. And, for all of those users afraid of social polluting their search, you can always toggle off the social search function using the buttons at the upper right corner of the search results screen – or not log into your Google account at all when you search.

So, as a content creator, get yourself on Google + and make the best effort of it. You probably already have a Twitter stream and a Facebook page – get that content moving on Google + too. If that sounds daunting, add some tech wizardry with a cross-posting extension like this one here. If you are a content searcher, then you can toggle social on or off, but consider that you are getting more potentially relevant leads and links with social turned on. Search both to compare results – that one extra step might will put you in a better position than searching one or the other alone.

Google + and social are definitely here to stay. Might as well make the best of it.

 

 

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RFP Attorney: An Online Attorney Marketplace

Another option for attorneys to display expertise and connect with potential clients? Another site for potential clients to search and vet attorneys based on knowledge and content? RFP Attorney seeks to meet both needs. The site offers a marketplace with optimal search capabilities and flexible content options, ideally offering attorneys and clients a better means of connecting with each other. RFP promises to maintain a state of the art site on which attorneys can collect and showcase vital information through the creation of a Presence, which includes vital contact information, an About Me with background, experience, unique qualifications and personal statement, Case Studies or your example cases including actual briefs or key links, Thought Leadership which collects articles, newsletters, presentations, links, etc., a place to link your blog posts, your Twitter feed, real world Events you are appearing at and where potential clients can meet you in person, and Services – provide information on the legal services you offer, including optional Flat-Fee Solutions. This latter concept is a means offered by RFP for attorneys to offer unbundled legal services through their platform. Presence is not structured around an area law, but rather industries and services the attorney serves and provides, presumably making it easier for potential clients to find what they are looking for. Attorneys can share their Presence on other social platforms as well – improving visibility through more established sites. RFP also promises to boost your visibility on the web through its back-end and search friendly features.

I like the “Verify Me” button – this allows clients a quick link to the applicable bar association for each attorney, allowing potential clients to perform a quick search to determine whether the attorney is in good standing.

For potential clients, RFP offers a variety of tools to search, track and manage relationships. Potential clients can use Quick Search which asks two questions – where do you need the attorney and what your needs are – and returns responses. There are filters on the result page that allows you to further refine the return. Clients can submit requests for proposals for legal services through the site and the tools make it easy for clients to complete the request. Submitting requests after the first will incur a charge, which is one of the means by which RFP monetizes. Attorneys can accept or decline the request. Prices break down as follows:

For Attorneys: Signing up is free and creation of the first Presence is free (you can have more than one). If you wish to showcase additional areas of knowledge, add a second Presence for only $19.99 per month, and each additional Presence after that is $9.99 per month.

Each client lead an attorney accepts costs $1.99. Discounts are available: 5 for $1.59 each and 10 for $0.99 each. Responding to an RFP received costs $9.99. Discounts are also available: 5 for $7.99 each and 10 for $4.99 each.

For Clients: Signing up is free. Searching for attorneys and reviewing their content is free. Sending a contact request is free. If you choose to run an RFP, the first one is free. If you are a legal department, business, or individual with several areas of legal needs, you can run additional RFPs for $29.99 each. Discounts of 5 for $19.99 each are available as well.

I am not sure how the charge arrangements comport with referral / fee sharing rules – we will have to see how hat all falls out.

If the site works as well as it promises and it’s fee structure compliant, this could be a cost effective means of tailoring attorney marketing and fine-tuning attorney search. I am interested in seeing reviews on the RFP Attorney process as people kick the tires.

Revolutionizing Mobile Search with DoAT's Everything

DoAT, a mobile search startup that launched last spring at Techcrunch Disrupt, has taken the adage “out with the old, in with the new” in the New Year to heart. With a brand new mobile-optimized web app, DoAT promises that its new iteration, found at the site everything.me, will offer you everything on every topic imaginable in a very easy to use format. I have been playing around with the app and like it enough to offer it a spot on my home screen.

You can try it out on your computer or your mobile device, but it really shines on the latter. When you navigate to it, you are greeted with an attractive splash page showing a search box and trending searches. DoAT clearly recognizes that we lead with our eyes – the layout is really gorgeous. Click on shortcuts and see a list of popular categories. Drill down further and you will get to the real jewel of the service – mini web apps within everything.me for the most popular sources and search engines related to your search topic. When you click on this sub-apps, you will get information tied to your original search within the selected sources. The sources appear to change based on the search you run. And, when you click on an app like Twitter, for example, you will not only get tweets related to your search, but also Twitter accounts that tweet about your topic so that you can follow for future on point updates.

I can’t overstate the attractivenes of the app – DoAT has really done a nice job laying out the functionality. I was a fan of the original DoAT which promised a search experience on the mobile phone that gave homage to the apps that make such phones so useful and attractive. They are really making it happen with everything.me.

If you are a mobile search devotee, please check out DoAT and check back in here with your comments. This is a really cool interface and I believe it heralds the future of pocket computing.

Now You're REALLY Searching With Google!

Yeah, you know there are all sorts of tweaks and tips and operators for searching Google’s depths, but you don’t really have them right at your fingertips when you need them, so you punt. Well, punt no more! Just print out this super cool infographic from Hackcollege, blow it up poster size and stick it on the wall within site of your keyboard. Happy Searching! HT to Lifehacker:

Search Docs On Your Thumb Drive? Yes You Can!

Convenience comes at a price – those ubiquitous little thumb drives are mighty handy for toting documents around, but just try to figure out where your desired document is once you fill up the sucker. Windows search and Spotlight won’t allow you to figure it out – the contents aren’t indexed yet.

If you are on a Windows machine, you are in luck. With a portable utility called Dropout, you can install its .exe on the root or home folder on the USB drive and, voila!, you will get a searchable index of the drive. Once installed, it will keep indexing and updating any new content. Even cooler – it offers FULL TEXT SEARCHING! Woot.

I sometimes wonder what I would do without Amit over at Digital Inspiration Blog. More useful content per square inch than a complete Encyclopedia Britannica on the head of a pin.

Deep Web People Search With Pipl

Confounded in your efforts to locate the unlocatable? Google not working for you? Perhaps you need to dig a little bit deeper. Pipl is a deep web search service that focuses on finding individuals. Google searches web pages and Pipl searches the “deep” or “invisible” web – that part of the Web that is hidden for the most part from standard browsers. Stuff like documents in on-line databases. There is as much as 500 times as much information lurking in the deep web than floating on the surface. When it comes to people, the best information is generally found in such “unsearchable” documents and not on web pages. Using advanced language analysis and algorithms, Pipl can extract facts, contact details and other information from profiles, directories, scientific publications, court records and other sources.

The search box asks for the person’s full name, email, username or phone number. The information retrieved is not private – it is public information that is simply hard to get to due to its particular web form. If you are concerned about your own information, you can request to have your Pipl Profile removed from their site by clicking here. While their automatic removal is disabled, you will be given the email to manually request removal.

Of course I searched myself. And I found a staggering amount of information. Not that is not entirely surprising given the amount of time I spend on the web and the number of profiles I have filled out. That said, Pipl managed to tie a lot of disparate information about me into one page at their site. Needless to say, Pipl is pretty powerful.

If you want to stalk search for that missing someone, give Pipl a try. You never know what you might find.

Click.to: The Express Train To Searching & Posting

It’s the little things in life. Five steps to get from words, pics or vids on the screen to search or post on the web, for example. Multiply that over the course of the day and you have spent a considerable amount of time simply getting from point a to point b, over and over and over again. If you could drop that process down to two steps, well then, you are talking some serious time and repetitive stress injury savings.

If you are rocking Windows 7, XP, or Vista, then you are in luck. Click.to, a Windows add-on, will let you do just that. After you load it up, simply select what you want to search or share, hit Control+C and hit the desired destination in the pop-up box. Search by hitting the Google icon, or share on Facebook with the Facebook icon. There are way more options than that, including insertion into Outlook, Word or Excel, or click to convert to PDF.

If you Mac users are feeling left out, never fear. Click.to’s developer says that a Mac version is in the works and hopefully will be coming soon.

I just love little time savers like this. After using Click.to, you may never go back to the old select, copy, open, insert, and go/post  process ever again.

Zukmo Is Your Cloud-Based Filing System

Sometimes browsing the Web feels a little like a game of “catch and release.” You happen upon interesting content, you consume it, and then you release it back into the wild. Invariably, at some point in the future, you may find yourself vaguely remembering having seen something once that might pertain to something you need to know right now, but you can’t quite put your finger on it ….

If you aren’t too fond of the circular file-like cycle of information consumption on the Web, then Zukmo might be your new best friend. At it’s heart, its a bookmarking system. But it’s clever-simple interface and deep functionality make it worth a look. The key functions of Zukmo are the ability to store, access, and share content. Content is culled from various sources around the Web to be stored in Zukmo’s one, centralized location. Create your account for free, drag the bookmarklet up into your browser bar, click it when you are on a page you want to keep and you can then retrieve it at your “My Zukmo” page, either via the bookmarklet link or at their website.  A very nice feature is the ability to import bookmarks from your browser and Google and sync with Delicious and other sources so that you can keep everything centralized. A very, very nice feature is the ability to add the bookmarklet to your mobile browser on your iPhone and iPad – where I do most of my reading anyway.

But it isn’t just about your Web bookmarks. You can also bookmark and upload local documents to My Zukmo, which then become part of the search universe within Zukmo. You can pull content from your Twitter stream, from Google Docs, from YouTube and Vimeo and from Slideshare and view them within Zukmo. The search function offers full text and attribute search across all of the stored content and streams and get back highlighted results, like a Google search. You can distribute out of Zukmo to Facebook and Twitter, by email, or all three at the same time.

When you save in Zukmo, the app uses a simplification process to improve readability, showing only the key content, without the usual Web page gobbledy gook. There is also an Easy Reader button on each entry, which essentially shows the substance in a printer-friendly format. Finally, you can use Zukmo as an automatic sharing hub to Facebook and Twitter, and access your content from any device, anywhere. Check out the sample screenshot of your My Zukmo page. Nice and clean:

Zukmo really offers an incredibly amount of storage service for free. Besides considering it for your bookmarking needs, the document add feature brings Zukmo closer to a cloud backup solution for a large segment of your own personal data. Not a bad deal for the price.

Google Related

Have you heard about this new Chrome extension, Google Related? I think it is pretty cool indeed. Related works on your Google search page, adding related content in real time via a bottom bar. Search your topic, glance at the bar and see other information that pertains to your search. Peruse that related content without losing your original search result. For example, check out the image below – if you search for a restaurant, Related may show you maps and directions, reviews, other similar places or other nearby places.

There is also a built-in +1 button so that you can approve of your results. As you may know, those +1’s will show up on a tab on your Google Profile for later review. Check out this version of the page on a research topic.

You can hit this link here and get the extension yourself. You can also check out the video below for even more information. Nice add, Google!

Search & Send: It's What We Do

In case you were wondering just what exactly adult Americans spend their time doing online, you can rest easy now. Just as in 2002, we almost universally spend some of our time online sending emails and searching for stuff. Pew Internet Research conducted its annual survey on Internet usage and has just issued its report based on its findings. The results were culled from data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from April 26 to May 22, 2011, across a sample of 2,277 adults, age 18 and older. The numbers have remained fairly consistent with respect to these activities over the years: this most recent survey shows that 92% of online adults use search engines to find information on the Web, with 59% doing so on a typical day, and 92% use email, with 61% using it on a typical day. The overall number of users of both email and search engines has also grown: in January 2002, 52% of all Americans used search engines and in May, 2011 72% of all Americans used search engines. In January 2002, 55% of all Americans used email and in May, 2011, 70% of all Americans used email. And these numbers are fairly uniform across the generations. The report further breaks down results by gender, race, education, and household income. Three other uses were measured, with getting news and buying products holding steady over the 2002 to 2011 time frame. Using social networking sites didn’t register in 2002, but from 2004 to 2011, usage jumped dramatically from 11% to 65%.

Interesting results, no doubt. It is interesting to me that social sites have not put a bigger dent in both email and search as means for communicating and finding relevant information. I anticipate that social net use will eventually have that effect as communication tools and relevance-based news tools within the sites improve. Guess we will have to wait and see.