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Vurb is an Action Search Engine

March 10, 2015

With the new Yosemite OSX, Apple upgraded the spotlight search feature to search everything on a Mac. This includes the Web history, file names, and the actual content in documents. It saves hours of time and makes people more productive….if you use a laptop or desktop. If you use an Apple smartphone or tablet you are SOL. What is more annoying than having to switch between lists and apps to complete a simple task?

While there have been attempts to streamline information and app utilization before, none of them have quite made it to the mainstream. The Next Web brings to our attention another mobile search engine trying to improve mobile search, “Vurb Is Mobile Search For Finding Things And People.”

The name “Vurb” is a play on the word verb. Verbs are action words that mean people do something. Vurb searches for any type of information and presents it in “cards” that can easily be shared with others. Rather than having to copy and paste links and jump between apps, Vurb’s cards has everything in one place.

“Vurb wants to stop you jumping between multiple apps and the mobile Web to get things done. Each card in Vurb is a combination of information from different sources. The company partners with others like Yelp, Foursquare and Metacritic so it can be shown in a single place. If you want a deeper dive into the results, a quick tap on the info or the company’s logo will reveal more details inside that provider’s app.”

Vurb is not trying to replace apps, instead it is helping these apps by bringing the information to the surface. The technology exists to link apps and their information together, but most apps decide to remain in the singular silos. Why? Perhaps fear of competition and possible compliancy issues, but if you think about it apps like Vurb offer a lot of marketing options. App developers can pay to put their apps at the top of search results and even make suggestions for how particular apps are helpful. It is not another reason to be fearful, but embrace the potential.

Whitney Grace, March 10, 2015
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Interface Changes for Google Mobile Search

February 26, 2015

Google is the top search US search engine for many reasons and it can maintain this title because the company is constantly searching (pun unintended) to improve its products and services. Google wants to deliver high quality search just as much as it wants to stay ahead of its competition. Mobile search is one of the most competitive digital markets and Google has developed ways to augment its already popular mobile application. BGR highlights the new changes to its mobile search as described in “Google’s Latest Mobile Search Change Brings Some Key Interface Changes.”

One feature that changes is the “Google box” that displays results that are supposed to be the best matches for a query. The Google box will also have a news carousel that lists the latest information on the query.

“ ‘When you search for a topic, just scroll down to see a ‘carousel’ of recent articles, videos or more on that subject,’ Google Search product manager Ardan Arac wrote in a blog post. Tap any link to read or watch exactly what you’re interested in. For example, if you search for NPR, you’ll see links to all their latest articles and videos.”

Google is doing its best to improve mobile search, a task that has usually evaded mobile devices. Mobile technology needs to have more features that are readily available on laptops and computers to make them more reliable and useful.

Whitney Grace, February 26, 2015
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

IBM: Your Future Mobile Watson Platform

January 14, 2015

I enjoy the IBM marketing hoo hah about Watson. Perhaps it lags behind the silliness of some other open source search repackagers, it is among my top five most enjoyable emissions about information access.

I read “IBM Debuts New Mainframe in a $1 Billion Bet on Mobile.” I love IBM mainframes, particularly the older MVS TSO variety for which we developed the Bellcore MARS billing system. Ah, those were the days. Using Information Dimensions BASIS and its wonder little exit and run this routine, we did some nifty things.

Furthermore, the mainframe is still a good business. Just think of the banks running IBM mainframes. Those puppies need TLC and most of the new whiz kids are amazed at keyboards with lots and lots of function keys. Fiddle with a running process and make an error. Let me tell you that produces billable hours for the unsnarlers.

IBM has “new” mainframe. Please, no oxymoron emails. Dubbed the z13—you, know alpha and omega, so with omega taken—z is the ultimate. Los primeros required hard wiring and caution when walking amidst the DASDs. Not today. These puppies are pretty much like tame mainframes with a maintenance dependency. z13s are not iPads.

The blue bomber has spent $1 billion on this new model. Watson received big buck love too, but mainframes are evergreen revenue. Watson is sort of open sourcey. The z13 is not open sourcey. That’s important because proprietary means recurring revenue.

Companies with ageing mainframes are not going to shift to a stack of Mac Minis bought on eBay. Companies with ageing mainframes are going to lease—wait for it—more mainframes. Try to find a recent comp sci grad and tell him to port the inter bank transfer system to a Mac Mini. How eager will that lass be?

Now to the write up. Here’s the passage I highlighted in pink this morning:

The mainframe is one of IBM’s signature hardware products that will help sell related software and services, and it’s debuting at a critical time for the Armonk, New York-based company. Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty is trying to find new sources of revenue growth from mobile offerings, cloud computing and data analytics as demand for its legacy hardware wanes.

There you go. The mainframe does mobile. The new version also does in line, real time fraud detection. The idea is that z13 prevents money from leaving one account for another account if there is a hint, a mere sniff, of fraud.

My view is that it will be some time before Amazon, Facebook, and Google port their mobile systems to the z13, but for banks? This is possible a good thing.

Will the z13 allow me to view transaction data on a simulated green screen? Will their be a Hummingbird widget to convert this stuff to a 1980 interface?

I am delighted I don’t have to come up with ideas to generate hundreds of millions in new revenue for IBM. This is a very big task, only marginally more difficult than converting Yahoo into the next Whatsapp.

No word on pricing for a z13 running Watson.

Stephen E Arnold, January 14, 2015

IBM and Airstrip Work for Mobile Health Monitoring System

November 12, 2014

The article titled Airstrip and IBM Partner to Develop Predictive Analtics Solution on HIT Consultant explored the announcement of the partnership to the development of mobile monitoring of patients in critical conditions. The University of Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care (MCIRCC) will also be involved. The article explains,

“MCIRCC will pioneer the application of this technology with AirStrip by developing the advanced analytics and testing its ability to identify and predict a serious and unexpected complication called hemodynamic decompensation, one of the most common causes of death for critically ill or injured patients. MCIRCC researchers anticipate that the resulting solution may provide the clinical decision support tool that enables clinicians to identify patient risk factors for early intervention. Early intervention can enhance critical care delivery, improve patient outcomes, and reduce ICU admissions..”

The top goals of the research are to reduce healthcare costs while improving patient outcomes. This is to be achieved through the combination of the AirStrip ONE® platform and the IBM® InfoSphere® Streams. Especially exciting is the ability for this technology to assess patients inside and outside of the hospital walls.Patients with conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and congestive heart failure could be monitored for “clinical deterioration” and possible complications could be prevented with this technology.

Chelsea Kerwin, November 12, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Potential Mobile Collaboration for SharePoint

October 21, 2014

Lots of pieces are coming together to drive the mobilization of Microsoft SharePoint: iOS, Microsoft Office 365, and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite. But is this a good thing? Will it be of value to organizations? FierceMobileIT tackles some of those questions in their recent article, “Does SharePoint offer mobile collaboration opportunities?

The article begins by referencing an interview with Yaacov Cohen:

Tech Republic‘s Will Kelly visited the topic in a recent article, speaking with Yaacov Cohen, CEO of, a collaboration tools vendor, for his reality check on how enterprise mobility, SharePoint and Office 365 are currently working together . . . ‘Cohen sees iPad dominance in the Enterprise 2000 market and the executive world as a tremendous opportunity for SharePoint, which has been suffering from a lack of acceptance at the executive level,’ the article notes.”

Stephen E. Arnold has made a career out of following all things search. He reports his findings via and many end users and managers look to his reporting for the latest news, tips, and tricks. SharePoint gets a good share of his attention and those interested in learning more will benefit from keeping an eye on his SharePoint feed.

Emily Rae Aldridge, October 21, 2014

dtSearch for Android

October 3, 2014

We see from a write-up at Linux magazine that dtSearch is embracing Android. The press release announces, “New Android Beta for the dtSearch Engine for C++ and Java Developers; Beta Adds Android to Engine’s Current Linux and Windows C++, Java, and ./NET SDKs.” We learn:

“The dtSearch Engine for Android beta will join the existing dtSearch Engine for Linux (native 64-bit/32-bit C++ and Java APIs) and dtSearch Engine for Win & .NET (native 64-bit/32-bit C++, Java and .NET APIs) in making available dtSearch’s instant searching and document filters for a wide range of Internet, Intranet and other commercial applications. (Please see for hundreds of developer case studies.)”

The write-up goes on to give a rundown of dtSearch’s features, like its advanced document filters, terabyte-ready index, limitless multithreaded searching, federated and spider searches, faceted search, and international language support. See the write-up for more on each of these.

Launched in 1991, DtSearch has become a major provider of data-management software to firms in several fields and to numerous government agencies in defense, law enforcement, and space exploration. The company also makes its products available for incorporation into other commercial applications. dtSearch has distributors worldwide, and is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland.

Cynthia Murrell, October 03, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Apple Versus Google: Does Google Win?

October 1, 2014

I read “On The Future of Apple and Google.” The bulk of the write up touches bases that are familiar to those who play softball at the Palo Alto fields. However, there was one passage that caught my attention:

The beauty of the modern mobile era is that it isn’t held back by anti-innovators like the carriers or monopolists like Microsoft and Intel who gated the pace of innovation in previous platform eras. The mobile stack has decoupled these previous incumbents from control. Today, Google is snapping up robotics companies and investing in autonomous vehicles, all of which will run futuristic versions of its operating systems and have the promise to measurably improve the way humans live.

Google seems to have the edge. Will governments cooperate. Analyses of companies near the Apple and Google stratosphere may have to find ways to deal with:

  • Closed markets or closing markets. Does China qualify?
  • Low cost competitors approved by governments? What devices will Australia find acceptable?
  • Privacy matters. Even wealthy companies want to avoid large fines. Didn’t Yahoo react when the price tag was $250,000 per day.
  • Social disruptions. Is it naive to assume that daily life will just trundle along in stable areas of the world?

My view is that dominant companies may have to find ways to remain dominant beyond copying one another, buying market share, and emulating Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Stephen E Arnold, October 1, 2014

Processing Content Is Easy, Right?

September 30, 2014

A mobile search app would be useful and appreciated by mobile devices. According to the URX Blog post “Deduplication Of Web Content” it is relatively easy to create a search app, but creating a robust search app is the challenge. A robust search app would need to include link prioritization, feature extraction, re-crawl estimation, and content deduplication. The post is the first in an article series developing a mobile search app.

Deduplicating content is important for user experience:

“Duplicate pages in a search index poison search results. The goal of a search engine is to return both relevant and diverse documents, allowing users to decide the optimal resolution for a query. Without deduplication, the top-k results returned for a user’s query would likely contain duplicate content. In the extreme, all k results will be copies of the same page. This creates a bad user experience where, as the crawler scales out, the duplicate likelihood increases. In fact, Google’s Matt Cutts believes that up to 20% of web content is duplicated.”

The rest of the post examines the different types of duplication, how to identify them, and remove them from search results.

While the search app will serve an important function, it does not make sense to me why people cannot just open a Web browser on a mobile device and conduct a regular search. What I would like to see is an app that searches content on apps on a device.

Whitney Grace, September 30, 2014
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Android in the Enterprise

September 16, 2014

Can a deal with HP help Google’s Android catch up to Apple’s iOS in the business market? According to Business Insider, “Google Is Chasing Apple’s Mega Deal with IBM.” The potential deal is said to revolve around Google Now, which would serve as a voice-search tool for company information. Considering Apple’s recent partnership with IBM, the timing here is interesting. However, despite the certainty implied in the BI headline, Google seems to be playing it cool. Writer Eugene Kim reports:

“The report [at the paywall-guarded site The Information] said the two companies have been in talks for about a year now, though Google hasn’t shown as much interest in the deal so far. But HP could be a potential partner since it has deep roots in enterprise clients and has been developing a mobile search product nicknamed ‘Enterprise Siri,’ according to the report.

“In fact, HP had discussed the ‘Enterprise Siri’ idea with Apple earlier this year, before Apple announced its partnership with IBM last month, the report said. It also said HP at one point pitched the idea of building a Nexus phone for businesses, with advanced encryption features, which was turned down by then-Android head, Andy Rubin.”

So, as of this writing we don’t really know whether this deal will go through. One thing seems certain—Google will have to do something if it wants to catch up to Apple in the enterprise. Is this deal with HP the answer, or is the famously innovative company eyeing some other solution(s)?

Cynthia Murrell, September 16, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Google Android: Fragmentation? No Fragmentation.

August 22, 2014

I read “There Are 18,796 Distinct Android Devices, According to OpenSignal’s Latest Fragmentation Report.” I noted this factoid in the write up:

18,796 separate Android devices

Several years ago, one of the interchangeable Google mobile engineers emphasized that there was minimal Android fragmentation.

One aspect of this issue is the emergence of open source Android. Has Google lost control of Android and the opportunity to extract high end device revenue in its quest for ads?

At least one Chinese phone outfit is working the angle “Show me the money.” With many distinct Android devices and folks going their own way like Amazon and Samsung, Google does not have a fragmentation problem. Google has competition, confusion, and cash challenges breeding and cross breeding.

I know the Google response, “Trivial.” If Google believes this, will a meta-tactics grind the challengers to disconnected ones and zeros?

Stephen E Arnold, August 22, 2014

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