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Thursday, 28th September 2006

Search Briefs...Ask.com Launches Earthquake Info Maps & Enhances Weather Info...Yahoo Acquires Video Hosting & Remixing Company...Local Search: Merchant Full Circle

Ask.com Launches Earthquake Info Maps & Enhances Weather Info

Live today on the Ask.com web site are enhancements for two services.

+ Earthquake Info Maps (Near Real Time)
This feature has been available at the top of Ask.com results pages for many months. What's new today is that a click on the "Area Earthquake Activity" link brings up a map with the latest earthquake info on it. Click a location pointer and get info about the earthquake (location, time, magnitude, depth). The left side of the page lists the last ten recorded earthquakes by date and time. Several pages of listings are available.

Enhanced Weather Information, New Look
Ask.com offers many weather info Smart Answers. New today is even more basic weather info on a results page along with a fresh appearance. You'll now find satellite imagery, radar imagery, and more. Search by city name or Zip Code.

Examples:
+ Weather San Francisco.
For much more info, click the "Weather in San Francisco" link at the top of the page.

You should now spot the seven day forecast, two day forecast and a link to seasonal or climate info for the entire year. You'll also see a map of current conditions along with regional satellite and a regional doppler radar image. A link for temperature info in Celsius or Fahrenheit is also clickable on the top right.

Also, you might spot breaking weather news (let's say a Winter Storm Advisory) located on the left side of the page if that info is current and pertains to the location your searching. Here's an example (at the moment) from Pennsylvania. Look for the yellow triangle with the exclamation point. You can click the link for the full text (depending on its length) or preview the info by placing your cursor on the link without clicking.

For more detailed info, select and click the 2-Day Detailed Weather Link. Clicking seasonal weather give you averages (you select the month) for the entire year.

By the way, you can also access this info (by month) by simply entering climate info and a city name or Zip Code.

In some cases, let's say a city name is found in more than one state, let's use Springfield. In this case you could either enter the city, state, zip code, or simply the city name and then find the specific location you want via the pull-down menu. Here's another example using Portland.

Our enhanced weather info is also now found on Ask UK
Example:
+ Weather in Ashford. In a majority of cases, you'll find the same weather info plus seasonal climate data.

Finally, Ask.com offers weather info for many cities and capitals around the globe.
Examples include:
+ Regina, Saskatchewan
+ Stockholm
+ Tokyo
+ Pisa (Home of an Ask.com R&D Center)
+ Hamburg, Germany (Home of the new Ask.com R&D Center)
+ Quito, Ecuador
+ Auckland, NZ
+ Adelaide, Australia
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+ Local Search: Merchant Full Circle (via SearchBlog)
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+ Yahoo Acquires Jumpcut (via TechCrunch)
Add Yahoo to the list of video sharing, hosting, and in this case remixing* services with the acquisition of JumpCut. Yes, along with YouTube, Google, Grouper, Guba OurMedia, and many others Yahoo now has its place. In the past few weeks we also posted about AOL's entry UnCut (where you can upload video from your mobile) and MSN's Video sharing service, Soapbox.
It will also be worth noting if/how Yahoo ties JumpCut in with Flickr. Right now, two similar services (in concept) MyWeb 2.0 and del.icio.us remian for the most part independent.
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* Remixing offers the tools and allows you to take other peoples content (if the select to share it publicly) and create your own version of it. With Yahoo's scale, it will be interesting to see if material with a valid copyright becomes public and then is remixed. In some situations, this might be what a producer would want but others might not be as thrilled.
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+ The Final Chapter: Messenger + Yahoo
Some results of a study Harris Interactive conducted for MSN about IM services.
- 1 in 4 respondents to a survey* said that being able to communicate with friends on other IM services is the next great thing since the creation of the cell phone.

- 57% of the IM users surveyed have a friend or family member on a different IM service.

- More than 1/3 of students over the age of 18 use more than 1 IM service.

- 29% of people said they’d be willing to give up American Idol for the ability to IM people on different services.


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