Google Reader "AUTO" sort – good but missing something…

Google’s newsreader continues to be my favourite way to consume the stupid amount of feeds that I continue to find myself subscribing for. I try to purge from time to time but inevitably I end up finding something new to read. My general rule of thumb now is if I can’t remember anything I’ve read on a given blog in the past week or two I generally remove it – but this post isn’t about that…

Between the week of intermittent access in Berlin and then the Canada Day long weekend I’ve had a few occasions recently where my blog reading has gotten backlogged by a fair margin. Not a huge deal though as Google Reader comes with this handy dandy sort feature called “AUTO” – this sort feature floats the less frequently updated blogs to the top and the noisier blogs to the bottom.

This is generally good but there’s one annoying thing I find the reader doing – because of the sort order it tends to mean that each blog tends to end up with it’s own posts clumped together as you work your way through the unread list. I didn’t realize until recently (when I’ve done a few marathon reading sessions to catch up) how much I actually like the randomness of reading posts from all kinds of people rather than one person’s posts all in a string.

Attaching lead balloons to noisier blogs is a great idea but it’d be nice if they found a way to also randomize it up a bit even if it’s as simple as coding it so no two posts from the same author appear one after another (unless it’s completely unavoidable).

Just my 2 cents…

It’s Alive…. Google launches multilingual search

Google has finally launched their new translation tool I blogged about here (and predicted here).

You’ll find it buried of the “More>>” link next to their search box and then click on “Translate” in the right hand column. Finally, click on the search tab on that page.

Or you could just click here.

For some reason clicking on “Language Tools” on the Google home page doesn’t take you there (at least not here in Canada) – but after some previous experiences with Google I can’t say I’m surprised.

All in all, it’s kind of neat but still not a final solution. From what I’ve read they really expect this to be used by non-English speakers to access more of the English web.

It would have been nice if they could have at least given you the ability to get results in English as well as one other language – Instead you have to switch into this whole other interface just to search in one language and get results back in one other language.

Not quite a vision realized, but a good start nonetheless.

Google About to Knock Down a Huge Language Barrier

Heh. Almost a year to the day that I made this post

…this is why Google has their SMTS system. Imagine the day where you can enter “Replace Chain on my bicycle” into Google and it returns the results to you with content from multiple languages, automatically translating your keywords (bicycle = bicyclette) for the query and then translating the results.

…comes word that it won’t be long until Google launches a new feature that will allow you to return results from pages in multiple languages based on your single search term.

I opened up my news reader this morning and the first article that showed up was this one from John Yunker‘s “Global by Design“. He points to a slightly more detailed article on one of the Wired blogs which explains:

Search in any French and ask to see results in English (drop-down menus let you pick which ever two languages you need). You’ll get a two-column view of results — on the left are the English results translated into French on the fly, and on the right are the English pages in their original language.

So the search won’t quite be as elegant as an invisible/seamless integration into the main Google search yet but still an interesting development nonetheless.

It’ll be interesting to see how “obvious” they’ll make this new feature when it launches. The challenge with Statistical Machine translation is it takes a huge amount of horsepower to run, this means it’s just not practical to offer this automatically on every search Google does.

So a good step towards knocking down one of the biggest remaining language barriers – they’re punching a whole in the wall and it’s only a matter of time until they pretty much knock it down entirely.

GAPE? Did they really think this through?

It’s been funny reading the blog buzz of Google Apps Premier Edition – in this day of Acronyms I wonder if Google’s PR/marketing folks are breathing a sigh of relief that people (so far as I’ve seen) haven’t taken to just shortening it to GAPE.

Not the prettiest word at the best of times, and considering one of the red flags people have raised about using online apps etc. has been security – GAPE isn’t something you really want to evoke images of in relation to it.

And the Google results for “GAPE”. Yikes.