OK, so we're different from other search engines, but how?
Let's outline how our system works:
First, it's organized like a notebook, with tabbed "pages", each of which
is a totally separate "search", giving different results. This allows you
to keep track of multiple subjects or interests simultaneously. You can set
up as many tabs as you can fit on your screen. When not fully visible, each tab
will change its title to reflect new incoming matches, as well as play an optional
Now for some new terminology: We need to talk about search "terms" and "phrases".
A search term is just a word you want to look for. Simple enough.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT use "noise words" (things like "of" "the" "in", etc.,
and lots more)
in your search terms. We throw these words out in the feed, so they DO NOT exist
from the search point of view. If you use any of them, you will get 0 records found,
every time, every tab, guaranteed.
A search phrase is one or more search terms, strung together. Those terms must
be found in that order to be considered a match. However, they don't have to appear
next to each other in that order. To give an example, to find pages relating to the
US president, one would might up a search phrase of "president", followed by "obama".
This search phrase would match articles containing "President Obama", but would also
match "President Barack Obama", and "President Barack H. Obama". It would not, however,
match "Barack League President John Doe". In our system, the order is important.
We now need to introduce the concept of a "search criteria". A search criteria
is a search phrase, along with a relative importance, or a "score" an item
gets if it matches the phrase in that search criteria. Fairly simple,
right? If that phrase match against in the item, it gets that many "points".
If an item gets enough "points", it will show up on your the results display for
that search. If not, it doesn't. Not exactly rocket science so far.
OK, so to find things you want, you set up search criteria, each of which is one or
more words, along with how important that word (or set of words, in the same order)
is to you. You can put as many search criteria you want on a search, and each matched
criteria will give that page some "points" toward showing up on the display for that
So, let's do an example. Let's say we want to find items coming out that relate to the
federal government and its operations. So, we're looking for certain people's names,
titles, and entity names, like: President Bush, Vice President Cheney, senators, representatives,
etc. So we might set up a search page like this: (we've left off the importance column here, and
note that we've left out the word "of" in the line looking for the house of representatives and
secretary of defense. See noise words above.):
This would find anything with these phrases, and if the number of them matching is
high enough the page would appear on the search display. While this is obviously
not a comprehensive enough list of phrases to truly cover the operations of the federal
government, it shows you the basic idea.
You can also choose to have a word or phrase remove any matching items for you,
by choosing the "Don't want it!" option on the score pulldown.
As another example, let's say we were interested in the stocks of certain high-tech
companies. In this case, we might search for their names, tickers, or nicknames.
We might do something like:
This would find anything on these companies or their stock symbols. If one or more
of them made more difference to you, you could raise or lower their importance appropriately.
Note, we left out the name microsoft, since it appears on every page within msnbc.