May 2001 Archive
Northern Light announces a partnership with Search4Science to launch an enhanced online search service that aims to focus on the needs of scientists. The partnership brings Northern Light's Custom Search Folder technology to Search4Science's Dynamic Search, which encourages users to add more query words by showing synonyms and other words to further refine a search. The current Search4Science Dynamic Search shows this, but the direct search still retrieves results from Google.
Sometime recently, Canada.com dropped Inktomi as its search engine and replaced it with Dogpile, the metasearch engine. Inktomi Review has been updated.
iWon seems to have dropped Fact City, their Advanced Search page, and merged GoTo and Inktomi results under the heading of Partner Search Results. No total number of results is given and only one page per site is available in the Inktomi results. iWon Review updated.
Sometime recently, Excite finally pulled the plug on Magellan, one of the earliest search engines. Going to the Magellan site (which was always located at www.mckinley.com now brings up an Excite screen. WebCrawler still has separate logos and surrounding text, but it now appears to use exactly the same database and search features as Excite. Therefore, both Magellan and WebCrawler have been removed from the Search Engine Feature Chart. I have added a full review of MSN Search and added it to the chart. I have also updated the chart to reflect the lack of functioning truncation at HotBot and have added a "site" notation under sorting for those sites that cluster by site by default.
Lately, iLor (Internet Lore), has been getting good press for the additional features it adds to a Google search. Some of these features are indeed interesting and will be useful for some: the pop-up box with the choice to Open in Taskbar, Open in New Window, Put in My List, and Go Now Anchor Here. However, there are several points which should be noted as well.
- iLor does not work for all browsers (requires IE 5 + or Netscape 4.73 +)
- They have not licensed the full Google database, so searchers get less results with iLor than Google
- iLor does not provide access to more than two results per site
- iLor is much slower to respond than Google
iLor is certainly a site to watch, but it can not yet fully replace Google in the professional searcher's arsenal.
The AltaVista Simple or Basic Search appears to be defaulting to an OR operation again, rather than an AND when there are 2-4 query terms. I am checking with AltaVista to see if this is a temporary glitch or if it is yet another change to the default operation.
Continuing its efforts to bring back the funcationality of DejaNews, Google has now added posting capabilities to its Google Groups Usenet archive and search engine.
At this week's Web Search University, I learned that AltaVista's truncation symbol (the asterisk *) when used within a phrase search can represent an entire word. Typically, the asterisk can only be used after a minimum of three characters. But in a phrase search, it can also be used to represent an entire word as in the following search:
"addictive semiconscious * of biblioscopy"
The AltaVista Review
and the Search Engines by Search Features page have been updated to reflect that ability. I also fixed the Advanced Search link and added NEAR to AltaVista simple on the Search Engine Chart.
My article in Online on title searching is now available, as is a new Title Showdown page. I have also updated the Search Engines by Search Features page and the Lycos Review. The updated Lycos review includes a brief section about their new(?) translation capability from Systran and the shortened versions of the field search commands.
At least for the moment, I've discovered that AltaVista's simple search has changed in a couple additional ways.
- Full Boolean searching and the NEAR operator now seems to work on the AltaVista simple search, as long as all the operators are in upper case. Nesting works as well
- Stop words can now be searched, as long as they are not just searched by themselves.
And now Raging Search, AltaVista's no-ad and business solutions demonstration front-end, is gone as well. Launched almost a full year ago (May 4, 2000), it has now gone the way of Infoseek, Inference Find, DejaNews, and the other vanishing search engines. A note at the former site states:
Dear Raging Search user,
In our continuing effort to provide the world's best search experience, we have combined Raging Search with our improved AltaVista Text Search.
The new Text Search provides all of the features of Raging Search, and more:
We hope you enjoy AltaVista Text Search.
- Viewable on text-only browsers
- World-class relevancy
- Lightning-fast performance
- News related to your query
The AltaVista advanced search URLs throughtout Search Engine Showdown have been updated. In addition, the AltaVista Review, the AltaVista News Review, and the Searching News Databases pages have been updated. In addition to the changes at AltaVista listed under yesterdays news below, AltaVista appears to no longer be serving up results from RealNames, GoTo, or even LookSmart categories.