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Learned This Week - 30 May 2009


Our weekly compilation of interesting new tools, resources and stories for genealogists:

Microsoft Launches New Search Engine - Microsoft is launching a new search engine on Wednesday June 3rd called Bing. This is Microsoft's latest attempt to compete with Google. The new search engine will be available at www.bing.com You can view a video of the capabilities of the new search engine. Anecdotally, we have noticed in the last two weeks a large increase in people coming to our site from the current Microsoft search engine called Live. Maybe something really is happening at Microsoft in search. [Link]

Google to Launch a New Email Service - Not to be outdone by Microsoft, Google announced on their blog that they will be launching a new email service in the Fall of 2009. The service called Google Wave aims to make email a more collaborative process. [Link]

Google Earth Unearths Ancient Discriminations - The Times Online has an interesting article about how ancient maps of Tokyo used by Google Earth are bringing to the surface ancient genealogical discriminations some 400 years after the fact. [Link]

Interactive Map of Arlington National Cemetery - National Geographic has put together a very useful interactive map of Arlington National Cemetery, which would be useful for any genealogists with ancestors buried there. [Link]

Long-lost Brother Living Across the Street - As any genealogist knows, tracing your family can be an arduous task with many interesting twists and turns. Sometimes, genealogy research can literally go full circle as in this CNN story about a woman who discovers that her long-lost brother literally lived across the street from her. [Link]

Google to Map UK Footpaths - Google Maps is extending its streetview mapping in the UK to include footpaths. This may be useful to genealogists as many footpaths in the UK have been around for centuries. It might be a fun way to image the routes your ancestors may have taken. Check out the photo of the specialty bike that they are going to use to take the photos. [Link]

Antique UK Maps - Speaking of maps, we seem to be on a theme this week involving maps. Here is an interesting site that contains a useful collection of antique London, UK and Australian maps. Very useful for the genealogist who wants to trace place names and streets that have changed over time. [Link]

It is Possible for Twins to Have Different Biological Fathers - Interesting story about a woman who gave birth to twins that had different biological fathers. The medical name for this is heteropaternal superfecundation. Chalk this one up to obscure genealogical facts. [Link]

New Search Engine WolframAlpha - A new search engine called WolframAlpha aims to go where Google does not. It is essentially a giant almanac where the user can pose questions and get answers. In theory, this should be extremely useful for genealogists. We have been playing around with it for a couple of weeks and so far it is a tad limited. For example, try entering "Who is Abraham Lincoln?" and all you get back is when and where he was born and died. Not exactly a complete biography. Still, it has potential. [Link]

New Seach Engine Scoopler - And yet another search engine that is trying to compete with Google. This one specializes in real-time search, which even Google admits is the most challenging thing for a search engine to be able to attempt. It is not clear if this would be useful for genealogists unless you want to try to track someone famous in realtime. It would be a good tool to track something like swine flu or your personal stock portfolio. [Link]

Former Slave Narratives - Here is another interesting collection from the US Library of Congress. It is a collection of audio interviews with former slaves recorded between 1932 and 1975. [Link]

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