Search engines

It looks like dark search is now the norm at Google

The latest traffic report from publishing analytics startup Parse.ly shows Google still dominating in terms of referring traffic to publishers’ sites — but that referral data now comes without associated search terms 87 percent of the time.

CruiseWise finds open waters in pursuit of online travel dollars

With 90 percent of cruises still being booked offline, there’s huge room for disruption in the online cruise industry. So Cruisewise wants to let you book your cruise vacations online, aggregating 95 percent of the most popular cruise lines in the U.S. and Canada at once.

Craigslist cuts off its search engine to spite its face

In an effort to starve would-be competitors of classified ad data, Craigslist is reportedly demanding that search engines stop indexing its listings. The site has moved aggressively in recent weeks to combat what it considers the misuse of its listings.

PaperC auctions itself to fund HTML5 textbooks

German startup PaperC adds a twist to the idea of academic textbooks by letting people purchase a single chapter — or even just a page. Now, in order to raise funding it’s not going a traditional route: it’s holding a public auction.

The FTC should take a broader look at transparency

For the last year, the FTC has been investigating whether Google is operating fairly in its search results. Internet law expert Marvin Ammori argues that if the FTC is serious about protecting consumers, it should take an industry-wide look at search engine transparency and labeling.

Livestar builds a mobile search engine for recommendations

Livestar, a new iPhone app, makes it easy to find the two kinds of recommendations that matter most to many users: friend suggestions and professional reviews. The app from former Microsoft exec Fritz Lanman serves as a sort of search engine, Q&A platform and review aggregator.

Google shakes up search with new Wikipedia-like feature

Google is trying to encourage searchers to spend more time on its pages while also hoping they’ll continue to think of the search company as their first destination when looking for information. A new feature called Knowledge Graph is a step in that direction.

Who’s to blame for Twitter spam? Obama, Gaga and you

A new study has shown that highly popular Twitter accounts such as Barack Obama and Britney Spears may be inadvertently contributing to the swell of tweet spam — and that millions of users trying to increase their online influence may also play a major role.

Yandex: ‘Plenty of room’ despite growing Google threat

Russia’s most popular search engine, Yandex, has lost a significant chunk of its market share over the past year — but announcing a 50 percent increase in profits for the first quarter of this year, CEO Arkady Volozh says there’s still lots of room to keep growing.

Say goodbye to search and hello to BrainSpace

PureDiscovery, a Dallas-based big data startup, thinks it has the has the answer to outdated enterprise search technology, and it’s called BrainSpace. Its goal is to let users find information that matters without having to search for it, to bring data to users.

Facebook picks fight with Google over who is more evil

A team of developers led by Facebook’s Blake Ross has launched a browser plugin called “Don’t be evil” they claim presents Google’s search more fairly — but is this a war Facebook can win, or just a chance to make cheap PR points against Google?

Has Google broken its promise to users?

With its new “Search plus Your World” personalized results, Google may argue it is enhancing its service, but it’s also coming dangerously close to reneging on the promise it made to users in 2004: to provide unbiased links to those who are searching for information.

Ask.com gets smarter with help from Lonely Planet, others

Exclusive: Ask.com is amping up its star power. The Q&A search engine — which provides a mix of user-generated and algorithmically sourced content — has added several heavyweight partnerships with Lonely Planet, Weather Underground, and others to make sure it answers users’ questions in the best way possible.

The promise of a truly voice activated world: How real is it

Sensory’s TrulyHandsfree Voice Control 2.0 software recognizes and responds to dozens of keywords and phrases and lets people perform actions without the need for a button press. It enables a much more natural interface with a device that can be listening for an array of triggers.

How StumbleUpon is winning on the web

At nearly ten years old, web discovery engine company StumbleUpon is certainly well past the point where websites can attract users by being a new and hot trend. But the San Francisco-based company has proven that slow and steady growth can still lead to success.

Trademarkia Takes on GoDaddy With Domain Registry Debut

Trademark search engine Trademarkia has launched a domain name registry service that allows users to check whether a domain name is trademarked before buying the domain rights. The launch is part of the startup’s quest to become the “GoDaddy of trademarks,” CEO Raj Abhyanker said.

Do We Have Too Many Filters, Or Not Enough?

Media guru Clay Shirky once famously said that the problem of the modern age isn’t information overload at all, it’s “filter failure” — and many new services have been built to help with that. But Eli Pariser says the cure could be worse than the disease.

The BBC Debuts Experimental Semantic Programming Guide

Channelography makes it possible to search across the BBC’s programming for people, places and companies to learn who was mentioned on which show. The experimental EPG makes use of closed captions for semantic analysis, and utilizes all of this data for some great visualization.

Why Matt Drudge Still Beats Mark Zuckerberg

The Drudge Report drives more traffic to news sites than Facebook and Twitter combined, according to a Pew Research Center report. Maybe it’s time to acknowledge Matt Drudge not only as a powerful media presence but also as a great web entrepreneur.

Why Google Needs +1 and Identity to Work Together

The pressure is on for Google to develop a social strategy. It should leverage the combination of +1 and its users’ Google identities to come from behind on the social graph. With the concept of identity, Google starts it’s social play from a much stronger position.

Is Quora Worth the Hype?

Q&A site Quora is lately being called the savior of search and the next Facebook. But is Quora worth all the fuss? But the company is far from alone in the Q&A space, and so the question arises, is Quora really worth all its hype?

Poll: Do You Like Google's New Background Images?

They say you should never mess with a good thing, yet that’s exactly what Google appears to have done by adding background images to its default search page. Reactions around the web appear inflammatory, but we’re looking for your thoughts on the change in this poll.

What I Think About the Bing Outage

Bing’s outage, which came shortly after the rollout of well-reviewed new features, has given many a reason to joke: It is Microsoft, after all. Indeed, when trying to establish your brand and service against a near monopoly, you can’t afford to have even one such outage.

Is Bing Losing Its Wow Factor?

Bing, the shiny, new search engine that Microsoft (s msft) launched this summer, may be starting to lose its luster. Its U.S.…