Yahoo! Search Boss

11 07 2008

Yahoo has just released BOSS (Build your Own Search Service), a new offering which promises to give developers access to the entire Yahoo! Search index, and Yahoo!’s “crawling and indexing, ranking and relevancy algorithms”. This seems fantastic news, especially for our research group which is interested in user goals, the web and search. I’m curious to see whether/how we can use BOSS to implement some of our research ideas, as access to a large web index has been a significant barrier for realizing some of our ideas in the past. BOSS might turn out to be an interesting tool to be used in teaching as well (especially in my course on “Web-Science“). A tip of the hat to Herwig for pointing me to this exciting development.

An Information Diffusion experiment you can participate in

11 07 2008

I just stumbled upon this nice experiment by Matthieu Latapy. If you have a website of your own (or better a blog), you can participate by clicking “spread it” and copying the code from this flash animation.

What I like about this experiment is that as a participant you can actually see how your participation influences the dataset (the graph should change as the code spreads) by exploring the graph in the animation. This is fun! – something that should not be underestimated in the design of experiments that depend on voluntary action. At the same time, your participation produces useful data for research. The originating site is If you participate as well (and you should!), do not put any trackbacks to this or the happyflu site.