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Using the Internet as an Investigative Tool 3: Meta Search Engines and Translation Tools

Read previous: Using the Internet as an Investigative Tool 2: Google Services

In this part of the presentation, Lance Hawk specifies the features of meta search engines, speaks on utilizing Bing within the investigative framework, and outlines peculiarities of online language translation services.

Using Bing and Meta Search Engines

Bing Preferences

Bing Preferences

Let’s now talk about Bing – again, we get into this issue, which you have to be concerned about. Maybe the big deference is more the explicit stuff, so if you are sure your investigation won’t turn anything like that up, you can probably stick with moderate filtering. But the worst thing you can probably do in any investigation is not work with the body of evidence that you should be working with.

So Bing has the same type of deal, it’s under ‘Preferences’, it goes to ‘Moderate’, and make sure you change it if you want.

Features of meta search engines

Features of meta search engines

There are search engines, and there’s something called meta search engines: what is the difference? The Grandfather of meta search engines is Dogpile. Why would you use one versus another? If you just have no idea what you are really looking for, you wanna do a general search, like on the word ‘chemicals’. If I’m gonna do a general search on the word ‘chemicals’, I’ll use a meta search engine.

Now, what this meta search engine will do, depending on who you choose. Dogpile assimilates Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, and several more – the big players there, obviously. So if I am searching for the word ‘chemicals’, that’s gonna give me results back from each of those engines. So it might be some stuff I would not have gotten from Google.

On the other hand, if I am searching for something specific, like ‘Surfynol 104’, which is the product we make, that’s when you use like a Google, or Yahoo, or Bing type of deal, because this is like a scattergun. A meta search engine is like a scattergun, it will give you a bunch of hits from a bunch of different places.

So while looking through the stuff you might see under the word ‘chemicals’, maybe you’ll see something you are interested in that you want to search on or investigate further – then you bring that to the regular search engines, as long as you are sure of the difference between the two – it’s very important.

Dogpile homepage

Dogpile homepage

My friends in the federal community like Clusty. And when I started using it, it does return some different things, you see it covers different things. Especially there is a newer one – Gigablast, which seems to be getting a lot of traction, which you might think of as, like, a small Google.

Again, preferences – you know, Dogpile is gonna have the same kind of deal, you can have filtering issues. In a lot of these you’re gonna be encountering issues with filtering.

Online Language Translation Tools

Google Translate service

Google Translate service

Basically, two different websites have a pretty good idea of translating texts and web pages, they’ve been out there for a while. Google has its own (see image). You’re gonna need to say what you going from: from what language to what language.

And this is pretty clear, except when you get for instance China. We are pretty big in China, and there is a variety of different variants: there is simplified Chinese, this Chinese, that Chinese, you know. How do you know? What you have to do is go through different Chinese if you don’t know exactly what language it’s going to or coming from. And will actually see a difference between the translations. And these translations, I am warning you now, will be a little off. If it looks like it is something you’re gonna make some conclusion out of, I would have then somebody verify what’s there.

Yahoo Babel Fish translator

Yahoo Babel Fish translator

Okay, you set what to translate, and what you are going from and to. There is, if you want it, a specific website. But this does not work as it could. It’s more for searching on and translating text down there. And what I actually do is I use something like this, then with specific language search engine, which in the case of Baidu coming up we’ll talk about shortly.

So we have Google, who else is their competition? Yahoo – same type of deal: you can translate Chinese simplified to English. And again, if you have a web page – same type of deal. I’d say more people use Google than Yahoo, but they are both good.

Advantages of Baidu search

Advantages of Baidu search

Now the only reason I have this (see image) is, if you are a multinational company, you got to keep in mind – it sounds like a simple point but it’s actually a good point – that there are different databases and different regions that Google and Yahoo, and everybody else doesn’t have. I mean we do a lot of work in Africa – well, they have specific databases for Africa. We do work in the UK, guess what, you would think all the UK stuff is in Google and Yahoo – it’s not. Same thing with China, same thing with Malaysia.

So the point here is to keep in mind you can have the English equivalent depending on what type of investigation you are doing. If I am doing any investigation of China for instance, I know I’ll probably do a search with Baidu. I’ll be looking for something called QQ, and I’ll be looking for something called 123, which are some big things dealing with China. You’re gonna have the same type of deal with whatever region you are in.

If you are a U.S. company, or you are doing U.S. based investigation, this won’t matter to you. But the point here is to remember if you are doing something that deals with a foreign country, or a country outside the U.S., that there might be another database you should be searching. And Baidu is probably the top one I work with when it comes to China: same type of deal, almost looks like Google.

You can submit that web page to one of the two engines I just showed you earlier, and that will give you its best guess of whatever translation. It’s like if I know I am searching on Lance Hawk, a non-Chinese name, first thing I do is translate Lance Hawk to simplified Chinese. Then I’ll patch it in here, then I’ll work it in reverse. Whatever it returns – I’ll reverse it.

Read next: Using the Internet as an Investigative Tool 4: Searching Blogs and Wikis

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