Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Google's China Problem (and China's Google Problem) - New York Times

Google's China Problem (and China's Google Problem) - New York Times

A good article and the most complete one I've ever read about Google in China. As a future googler, I totally understand the company's policy to satisfy the government's sensorship requirement. But I can't agree with the comments in this article that Chinese people, especially young people, don't care about politics. On the contrary, politics do matter in our life. We don't want anybody to sabotage the economic development in China, but we do appreciate it if we can hear different opinions.

I don't like the name "Guge" (the Chinese name for Google), by the way.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Orion Search Engine

The Orion search technology by Ori Allon seems hot recently. Someone said it was "revolutionary" and might change what people think of current search engines. I've been trying to find out what is behind Orion, but got nothing, except some reports such as the one below that describes vaguely what it is like. It seems to me that Orion offline calculates the relatedness of keywords and possible topics. One way to do that is to look at word clusters that represent various topics. Given a query, pick up the clusters that contain the query words and expand the query (or produce new sub-queries) using the word clusters to get more relevant documents. However, one word could be related to different topics represented by different word clusters. Not sure if Orion has taken into account disambiguation. Take an old example for query ambiguity, "jaguar", it would be helpful to show document clusters related to the car, the OS and the animal, then it could have related documents to each of the document clusters.

Ori Allon had been recruited by Google.

Here is the old story.

New search engine 'revolutionary'

A 26-year-old PhD student from the University of New South Wales has patented a new way of exploring the web that could revolutionise existing search engines. Developed by Ori Allon, the Orion (TM) search engine is designed to complement searches conducted on services such as Google, Yahoo or MSN Search.

Search engines find pages on which keywords occur. Sometimes these pages are important to the topic. Other times they are not.

OrionTM finds pages where the content is about a topic strongly related to the key word. It then returns a section of the page, and lists other topics related to the key word so the user can pick the most relevant.

"The results to the query are displayed immediately in the form of expanded text extracts, giving you the relevant information without having to go the website--although you still have that option if you wish," said Israeli-born Allon, who completed a Bachelor and Masters degree at Monash University in Melbourne before moving to UNSW for his PhD.

"By displaying results to other associated key words directly related to your search topic, you gain additional pertinent information that you might not have originally conceived, thus offering an expert search without having an expert's knowledge.

"Take a search such as the American Revolution as an example of how the system works. OrionTM would bring up results with extracts containing this phrase. But it would also give results for American History, George Washington, American Revolutionary War, Declaration of Independence, Boston Tea Party and more. You obtain much more valuable information from every search."

The idea of finding information without having to click through to websites came from Allon's supervisor, Eric Martin, back in March this year. "I provided the spark. But it is Ori who has developed this through his amazing creativity and sheer hard work over these past months," said Mr Martin.

Andrew Stead of New South Innovations, the technology transfer company within UNSW, says he is confident that OrionTM will fill a gap in the market noted by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

"Bill Gates was recently quoted in Forbes magazine as saying that we need to take the search way beyond how people think of it today. We believe that OrionTM will do that."

Allon said some big companies already had shown some initial interest in implementing Orion for commercial use.

Source: University of New South Wales

Friday, April 07, 2006

A good online tutorial for vi

Found a good online tutorial for vi Vi Text Editor: Tutorial - ECN @ Purdue

Have tried to learn to use vi several times, but still can't remember how to cut, copy and paste text areas. However, I know how to do these operations in Emacs after the first use. :-) No offending to vi at all. Emacs is good for its integrated environment (you can even use Emacs as an interface for Linux/Unix). Vi is more like a handy editor that appears everywhere.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Google Finance

Google Finance was released! Now, Google got its own sword to fight Yahoo Finance and MSN Money, although the two are still the most popular financial sites (probably in North America?). I was excited because I saw its prototype when I was interning at Bangalore office. Part of my code has been integrated in Google Finance. Yeehaaa!

I was wondering if the company would localize Google Finance. While people are trading financial products globally, there are local preferences. For instance, in Singapore, a popular site for trading unit trusts (or mutual funds) is Fundsupermart. I think most of local people here may be more interested in the funds that are traded on that site, rather than those, even hot, in other markets.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

First post

Hooray !!!

In the past couple weeks, I've been perhaps the idlest guy in my team. As I'm approaching the submission of my thesis, I don't have much to do with new projects, paper deadlines, due presentations ... I'm just waiting for the feedback from my advisors on the thesis draft.

HOWEVER, I really did something BIG -- I got a domain name for my own (, got a place to host my new home page, got my personal page (mainly for photos so far, haven't got a clear idea to do with it), and got this blog ready to go. The reason to get a paid hosted home page is that Google seems not to provide home page hosting for employees coz I've seen a lot of googlers have their pages hosted with quite different domains. It's not that good for us researchers. Imagine you go to a conference and exchange your cards with others. You see others' home pages are usually or My home page is only about my name. Is that your company? I bet most of people would ask that and I'll tell them I pay 50 bucks every year for that page to keep you guys posted on my status. Funny huh?

I got my account in two years ago and this is my first post in a "serious" blog ...... What a long long time waiting! Apologize to my fans. :-)