Data mining search engines to create innovative products
In the Wall Street Journal (sorry, no link available), Kevin J. Delaney explains how companies of all sizes are mining search engine data to come up with innovative new product and service offerings. In one example, Austin-based National Instruments found that engineers were searching for hardware products with the search term "USB" (Universal Serial Bus), so the company decided to start selling new versions of its products with USB interfaces instead of requiring users to install new circuit boards inside their desktop PCs. Very smart. In another example, Siemens Medical Solutions decided to base the name of its new personal health-card product based largely on search-related data gleaned from Yahoo and Google.
Search engine companies like Google and Yahoo actually seem to be encouraging users to explore all their search data, confident that they can convince users to pay even more for highly-targeted advertising solutions. A senior manager for Google Analytics, for example, compares the search data during a certain time period to "online votes" for product features and service offerings. The more votes (i.e. search queries), the greater the likelihood of success. In one example, Google thinks it can predict box office revenue based on a comparative study of search queries for certain movies. (Maybe this is over-simplifying things, but people searching for "big," "fat," "Greek" and "wedding" would be interested in a film like My Big Fat Greek Wedding?)
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A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.
- Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
- When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
- Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
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