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The pundits tell us that the future of computing is bright and sunny, but in reality, the weather isn't as clear as they would have you believe. In fact, it's downright cloudy - and that's a good thing.
Nowadays, the Internet buzz is all about the clouds. There's "cloud computing," which will put all your favorite applications and/or services on the Internet, while you log in and access them on a remote server from your home or office (http://tinyurl.com/ 2qjapp). And there's the "tag cloud," a visual representation of the "weight" of the results - which ones are more relevant or more popular - based on the size of color of the word.
So, if you were doing a Google search for the word "cola" and you could get a visual representation of what the most popular results were, you would find that the biggest term on the results page was "Coca-Cola," which is of course the most popular cola. Coke is followed by "Pepsi," somewhat smaller, and off to the side somewhere you'd see "RC," which of course is a fine cola, but just doesn't have the cachet of its "bigger" cola brothers.
If this sounds cool and you're a Firefox user, you'll love the free Search Cloudlet extension (http://www.getcloudlet.com/) which provides a tag cloud for your Google and Yahoo search results. When you set up Search Cloudlet, you see a tag cloud on the top of your search results, with the terms associated with your search larger or smaller, depending on their popularity for your search. While you probably could have figured out what the results of a search for cola would be, the tag cloud can be very helpful when you're doing research.
When, using Search Cloudlet, I searched Google News for the term "Israel," the biggest associated term was "Gaza." But the second biggest was "Joe the Plumber," reflecting the news stories about how that American election phenomenon (http://tinyurl.com/8guges) is now a Middle East war correspondent. When you click on a tag, you get a new set of results reflecting the inclusion of that term in your search - with a new set of more specific tags. And so on for each round, with more precise results helping you narrow down what you're looking for. Imagine that - clouds that make things clearer, thanks to Search Cloudlet.
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