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SEARCH ENGINE Update.

Bing is changing the rendering engine used by the Bingbot crawler (which indexes websites) to the new Microsoft Edge browser. This should make the indexing of webpages more consistent between Google and Bing, as they will both be using the same underlying technology to render the content of webpages. Bing also reported it had been applying BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) since April 2019.

Bing Maps released more updated 45-degree angle Bird's-Eye imagery for more than 70 cities in the U.S. with more scheduled to be released during the next few months. However, finding the Bird's Eye views in Bing Maps requires right-clicking on a map (only available on computers, not mobile) and then selecting View Bird's Eye. Bird's Eye view will be listed as an option when available but grayed out when it is an area that does not yet have the imagery.

Google is making significant investment in using neural networks and natural language processing in interpreting search queries. With the increasing number of natural language queries from cellphone searchers, Google is now implementing BERT to better understand the role of small words within searches. For searchers used to dropping stop words and only listing significant keywords in a query, this change means that we can try changing our queries to include more words like "to," "for," and "no" when they add to the meaning of how keywords relate. In the press release, Google gives an example of getting better results when using BERT for searches like 2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa so that the meaning of "to usa" is captured and results are presented primarily for travel in that direction. A recent blog post mentions that Google receives billions of searches every day, and that about 15% of those are new searches, ones that Google has not received previously. Google is now starting to allow webmasters to specify what snippet lengths, video previews, and thumbnail image sizes will be displayed in Google search results. Webmasters will need to use specific markup language to enable these changes.

Google Images reduced the number of image size options in the search tools to include only Large, Medium, and Icon sizes. The Images advanced search still gives many additional image size options, and Bing Image search tools let searchers specify the image size.

Google Maps has introduced the previously announced incognito mode for searching maps via the Google Maps app on mobile devices (but not on computers). To enable incognito mode in the app, searchers can touch their user icon and look for the "Turn on incognito mode" option. It will remain on until a user disables it, and, according to Google, will prevent Maps from recording search or browsing behaviors and will not update location history or use activity to personalize Maps. Google Maps has also enabled Wazelike user input functions (when not in incognito mode) to report hazards, slowdowns, and speed traps, which will then be visible to other Google Maps users.

Google Patents, the newer version, at patents.google.com, and not the older version, which is still functioning at google.com/ patents, now has an advanced search page and has introduced extensive advanced search features and commands, which are linked in the footer and available directly (patents.google.com/advanced). Unlike other Google databases, the new Patents advanced search supports full Boolean, four proximity operators, field searching, five truncation/wildcard symbols, patent classification codes, and several options for chemical searching (support.google.com/ faqs/answer/7049475).

Google Video on computers has brought the advanced search page back after it had been missing for several years. The Advanced Video Search is available under Settings/Advanced Video Search on Google Video as well as directly (google.com/advanced_video_search) and includes limits for language, duration, posting date, and inclusion of close captioning (subtitles). Google Video on mobile devices will now display timeline results for the top video, as long as it is on YouTube in English and has descriptions for specific times on the video tagged and listed with titles in the description. Given all these requirements, it may not display very often, but when it does, searchers can jump directly to specific parts of the video as identified in the timeline.

The Internet Archive is working with Wikipedia to enable easier access to cited books within the English, Greek, and Arabic versions of Wikipedia. Links to more than 50,000 digitized books have been connected to more than 130,000 Wikipedia references, often linking directly to the page cited. For books still under copyright, links go to a preview of the book with an option for borrowing a digital copy through the Archive's Controlled Digital Lending program. One effort to increase this coverage is the ability to sponsor digitization of a book for addition to the Controlled Digital Lending Program. Sponsors get first option to reserve the finished ebook and a custom dedication message (sponsorship costs vary by book).

Semantic Scholar now allows published researchers to claim their own author pages. Author pages have been created in Semantic Scholar using AI, but registered users can claim their own page, similar to how Google Scholar User Profiles work. Once claimed, researchers can edit their name, affiliation, homepage, and ORCID identifier, as well as add and remove papers. Semantic Scholar has also greatly expanded subject and publication coverage by increasing publications indexed from 40 million to more than 175 million and expanding into many more scholarly subject areas, including philosophy, business, mathematics, and chemistry. Along with the expansion, Scholar is partnering with Unpaywall to provide more open access content, available via "View PDF" links and the "Has PDF" limit.

The Wayback Machine from the Internet Archive has two new features in beta: Collections and Changes. The Changes tool displays two versions of the same page side-by-side to help highlight changes over time. Look for the Changes link at the top of the Calendar View page to display pages that have "a high-level indicator of the degree of change." Deletions are marked in yellow and additions in blue. Collections help searchers figure out why a given URL has been archived by showing the collections that include a specific URL. For any items in the Archive-It service, searchers can full-text search those archived webpages. The Save Page Now features at web.archive.org/save has been updated with the ability to also save all outlinks on the page.

Yandex has introduced a new compact smart speaker, the Yandex.Station Mini, which uses Yandex's intelligent assistant, Alice, as well as gesture control. The gesture controls let users use their hand to adjust volume, stop something playing, and snooze an alarm and can even be used to make music. Yandex also launched Sloy, an app for fashion and style that uses augmented reality to automatically recognize and tag items of clothing or footwear in a video. Users can view videos with a similar wardrobe item uploaded to the app by other users.

Greg R. Notess (greg@notess.com; notess.com) is a retired faculty and graduate services librarian at Montana State University and founder of SearchEngineShowdown.com.
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Publication:Online Searcher
Date:Jan 1, 2020
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