the wikipedia review

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Googling in Firefox just got a whole lot better!

with 6 comments

Over on WikiEN-L, our ol’ buddy Dave Gerard has brought our attention to a new Firefox search plugin that removes Wikipedia results from Google searches. It’s available here from Distilled, an SEO blog, and since it’s just one little XML file it takes only a few seconds to install. Simply put, all it does is add a new option to your search drop-down that says “Google Search excluding Wikipedia,” and it uses Google’s new Custom Search API to do just that. In the results page, the words “Google without Wikipedia” appear where the word “Web” would normally appear (screenshot).

Needless to say, some folks over at Wikipedia are poo-pooing this idea, depite the self-evident fact that it may be one of Mankind’s Greatest Inventions, or at the very least, the most essential Firefox add-on ever devised. Ostensibly, the plugin’s purpose is to give people an idea of the size of Wikipedia’s search-engine footprint by allowing for easy A-B comparisons between result sets. Nevertheless, for people like me who are simply tired of seeing Wikipedia at the top of every Google results page, this little 2K XML file (on Windows, it installs into your \Documents and Settings\ [username]\ Application Data\ Mozilla\ Firefox\ Profiles\ xxxxxx.default\ searchplugins folder) is a breath of fresh air that will continue to smell fresh for years to come!

(This is especially true now that Ask.com has changed its interface. It used to be fairly easy to exclude “Encyclopedia” results from Ask.com, but not anymore - if you want Mr. Jeeves to exclude Wikipedia now, you have to use their “Advanced Search” page and type in “-wikipedia.org” into the “Domain” setting. PITA!)

Once word gets out and every Firefox user on the planet installs this thing, let’s just hope the folks at Google are tracking the use of their API - like they apparently track everything else - and take notice. Who knows, maybe someday they’ll actually even do something to correct their Wikipedia-biased search algorithm.

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Written by Somey

July 14th, 2007 at 6:57 pm

6 Responses to 'Googling in Firefox just got a whole lot better!'

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  1. Hi Somey,

    Thanks for the glowing write-up :-)

    Pretty interesting that there are actually folk who AIM to get wikipedia results into Google (see the thread over on WikiEN). I’d never have imagined that.

    Tom

    14 Jul 07 at 7:38 pm

  2. Assuming you’re not talking about Wikipedians, I’d never have imagined that either. Still, it’s a crazy world…

    I take it you found this entry via automatic link-back pinging? I’m still new to Wordpress, but that’s a rather nice feature! :)

    Somey

    14 Jul 07 at 8:10 pm

  3. Yeah - found it through the ping-back. It’s a pretty nice feature :-)

    Tom

    14 Jul 07 at 11:37 pm

  4. The thing is that whenever Wikipedians are trying to justify that an article shouldn’t be deleted, they have to demonstrate non-Wikipedia google hits (and non Wikipedia scrapers too) so this is relevant to them too. But to me the most worrying aspect of Wikipedia loading the google-space is how it affects teenagers. Lazy teenagers doing web searches for school projects just add “Wikipedia” as a reference for everything, not even realising or perhaps not caring that it is material written by people who are just like them, and may well be completely wrong. They start doing it wrong when they are young, and end up getting worse as they get older. This is the real problem. All schools should ban Wikipedia as references in school projects. A lot do, but some don’t. Perhaps now that this plugin is there, then it will encourage more to do so.

    blissyu2

    15 Jul 07 at 12:17 am

  5. Rattling fantastic info can be found on web blog . “Life without a friend is death without a witness.” by Eugene Benge.

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