Does the World Bank search engine frustrate or amaze you? Have you spent hours searching our website for research, reports, or project information only to feel like you're going in circles? Wish you could share your great idea about improving the www.worldbank.org search engine or project information with the World Bank web team?
You might have noticed a change to the World Bank website search over the last month. In December 2009, we launched changes to the site search. These changes included an updated look-and-feel, additional database sources, and additional search options and tools.
We've already written about sites that let you help others while going about the mundane tasks you already do. And there's the FreeRice.com game, which lets you donate food by playing an Internet word game. Combining both concepts, there's now Hoongle.org: a modified Google search engine that donates 20 grains of rice for every web search done through the site.
Since searches are routed through Google, it's the same search results most people are already getting. The difference is this site takes revenue from referrals to Google and donates the income to the United Nations World Food Program's "Fill the Cup" campaign. The New York Times' Bits blog interviewed the site's creators, university students in Virginia who say they have already raised enough money to donate 4,000 meals, or 8.5 million grains of rice. The Hoongle FAQ page suggests you add them as your homepage or use their web browser plug-in. All in all, an easy way to make a small, yet perhaps meaningful difference.
It's also worth noting that the site seems to be currently down with "technical difficulties". Searches still work, since they are run through Google, but the rice donations have stopped for now.
(Hat tip: Poverty News Blog)
UPDATE: It seems the Hoongle project was short-lived. Shortly after we posted this, the people behind Hoongle.org put up the following message on their homepage: "Unfortunately, we have run into unexpected issues that will prevent the site from functioning as intended. Because of this, the site has grown beyond our means as college students. As a result, we have decided to go offline." No word on what happened or whether they will ever try to start up the site again, but you can enter your email address into a field on their homepage for future updates.
Some months ago Michael posted a short note about donating rice through an internet game: get the meaning of an English word right and you’ve donated 20 grains of rice to the UN's World Food Program. Keep playing and you can actually fill a bowl in a few minutes.