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Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006, 8:41 pm

History and Bookmark Search

Firefox in the dock

HAVE you ever thought of an (electronic) article that you once saw or read? Could you find it easily after a few weeks, months, or years? How about if you bookmarked it? Would it always allow the article to be found again? And if so, how quickly can it be found?

Mozilla Firefox offers some good facilities for previously-browsed pages to be found. Both History and Bookmarks in Firefox have a ‘find as you type’ widget. However, this only contains and uses page titles.

What would make a better feature that is able to perform a more fuzzy and full-body search? The first option is to permit a search engine to spy on you and retain a record of pages that you follow. In turn, it will index these in isolation and allow your pages of choice to be searched cohesively. It is as though the knowledge conveyed in the index partly corresponds to what you already know. So, it is somewhat of a brain search, which makes the assumption that you carefully read every Web page you visited.

The option which exposes the user to a lesser privacy invasions is this: allow the Web browser to index a page whenever one is visited or only once at the end of the day. The index is of course cumulative and it permits the user to search just a ‘subnet’ — that which he/she has already explored.

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