Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the blue whale of cloud computing. You may not realize it, but most websites and web services run on this platform. And in fact, AWS’s public cloud is bigger than Microsoft, Google, and IBM combined.
Just like any other massive cloud platform, AWS hosts a variety of publicly accessible data. For instance, you can find huge 100 million strong datasets of Creative Commons images and videos from Flickr. Access it with the help of the YFCC100m Browser.
Try a search with Google. You will be surprised by the massive amount of public documents you can find on AWS. One of the quickest ways to search AWS for PDF files is to use good old Google and one of its advanced search operators.
[Keyword] filetype:PDF site:amazonaws.com
Of course, the files are open to the public and may be available from the search portals of the sites that host them on AWS. But this keyword approach is an “experimental search” that helps you dig into the huge haystack all at once instead of going to each site.
You can also use Google’s Advanced Search page to build your query more precisely and then execute it to search Amazon’s cloud. I prefer a little search tool called Advangle, which helps you build search queries in a visual way.
An “Invisible” Place for Web Research
A search engine is a front door to the web. But there are many ways to search for deep data and add to your research skills. Of course, don’t use the information (especially images) blindly. Find the site that owns the information and check their copyright restrictions.
I think Google’s advanced search operators should be part of our research habits. What do you think? Mention a few open directories where you like to do your online research.