May 2002 Archive
The much-discussed, if underwhelming, Google Answers has added a search capability and classified past questions and answers. I wondered how long it would take Google, a search company, to add this search feature. The broad categories and the search box are at the bottom of the main Google Answers page.
FAST announces the release of its Data Search 3.0, which they offer as a near-real-time indexing package for use an an enterprise search engine. This is a commercial software product and tends to be used by large companies. See the press release for more information about the product.
Netscape Search is now serving Google results without Open Directory hits first. It does start with some Sponsored Links which are ads from either Overture or Google AdWords. However, the Netscape search buttons still point to a page that rotates among several search engines. Like Yahoo!'s version of Google, the Netscape Search version does not all the advanced capabilities of Google.
Opening a peak into Google's current experiments, the new Google Labs shows ideas under development. At this point, there are four: a Glossary that offers definitions of words, phrases, and acronyms; Google Sets which provides related terms, Voice Search for searching Google by telephone, and Keyboard Shortcuts for non-mouse navigation. Google also has a new version of the Google Toolbar. The old one must be uninstalled first to get the new experimental features to work, and they are hard to find under Toolbar Options. They include an ability to suppress some pop-up windows and some new navigation features.
It looks like AllTheWeb now has fully indexed PDF files in its index. The PDF files usually identified with a [.pdf] designator after the title. While no direct limit is available at this time, you can add
url.all:pdf to a search (or use the advanced search with pdf in the "must include" word filter with "in the URL" selected) to see some examples. Note that unlike Google's PDFs, AllTheWeb indexes the full file. Google tends to stop indexing at about 120K. So while a phrase search on
"truck struck the cherry picker basket" finds no hits at Google, AllTheWeb finds three hits including one PDF (even though that PDF is at Google, the phrase occurs after the indexing stops).
After more than two years, I have finally updated my Overlap and Unique Hits reports using data from the early March size comparison. These reports show how much overlap there is between the search engines and which search engines found Web pages that none of the others found.
AllTheWeb has launched a new design. The search features are all pretty much the same, but there is easier access to the tabs to move between databases (now at top instead of bottom), and for good (more income) or ill (more ads) they now include Overture ad results at top under the Sponsored Search Listings heading. In addition, the page size designation that had disappeared from the results list for awhile is now back.
The list of dead and dying search engines on my reviews page has been expanded to include dead search engines for which I never wrote a review: Magellan, WebCrawler, and WebTop.
Fast Search & Transfer announces a net profit for the first time, for the first quarter of 2002. It is good to see another search engine able to make a profit at this business.
AltaVista announces the expansion of its multimedia databases by 73%. This includes their images, audio, and video databases. According to an AltaVista representative, this expansion is due in part to a 31% increase in multimedia searching since the beginning of this year. The combined multimedia databases include more than 140 million URLs for multimedia content, and AltaVista adds over 800 new news-related images per day.
Although I still consider Excite a "dead" search engine since it no longer gathers, builds, and makes searchable its own database, the site lives on. Previously just serving results from Overture, new owner InfoSpace has now made it a meta search engine with results from several ad databases (Overture, FindWhat, Sprinks) and from others including AltaVista, Inktomi, LookSmart, and eventually FAST. Unfortunately, it does not identify the source of each hit unless you look very carefully at the link URL. See the Excite description or the InfoSpace press release.
AOL announces a switch to Google for both an ad database and its Web results. Right now, the sponsored links (formerly from Overture) are coming from the Google AdWords database. The Web search results continue to come from Inktomi for now, but they should be from Google by this summer. This includes AOL, CompuServe, and Netscape search sites. See also the Google press release.