FAST Category Archive
There is no more AlltheWeb (or FAST Web Search if you prefer) database access anywhere that I know of. Lycos is now shows an Inktomi logo and uses the same Inktomi-based database as is seen at AltaVista and AlltheWeb. And that database appears to be but a subset of the version available at Yahoo! itself, which usually finds more results on the searches I tried. For certain popular queries, Lycos will give the first ten or so results from the LookSmart directory.
Gary Price noticed that HotBot has dropped one of its databases. Originally labeled FAST and then changed to Lycos, the underlying database was basically the same as the one at AlltheWeb. It is interesting that HotBot, which is owned by Lycos, dropped the database that still powers Lycos. This is likely connected with Yahoo! talking about abandoning the AlltheWeb database, which is a real shame.
Yahoo! announces today that they are acquiring Overture, known for its highly profitable ads, ranked by the highest bidder. And Overture earlier this year bought up AltaVista and AlltheWeb. At a price of approximately $1.63 billion in cash and stock, Yahoo! expects to close the deal by the fourth quarter of 2003.
So Yahoo! will own the Inktomi, AltaVista, and AlltheWeb and FAST Web Search properties, three of the major Web search engines. Yet currently Yahoo! still uses Google for the majority of its search results. That should be changing sometime soon, but whether they will combine the three, use only one, and what will happen with the AltaVista and AlltheWeb search sites and advanced capabilities and syntax, no one is saying.
And who's left outside of Google and the Yahoo! group with their own custom build databases? Ask Jeeve's Teoma, LookSmart's struggling WiseNut, and the newcomer (from last summer) Gigablast. Well the consolidation predicted to happen about five years ago is finally occurring. Let's hope that search will still continue to improve, expand, and offer even more options and resources.
On top of all the continuing confusion of acquisitions and ownerships changes in the search engine field, comes this one. Earlier this year Overture bought up AltaVista and the FAST Web Search business including AlltheWeb. That left FAST Search and Transfer with the FAST enterprise search business but not the public Web searching business. Now Overture is selling the AltaVista enterprise search portion of AltaVista to FAST. Confused? Try the FAST press release. But basically, Overture now owns the AltaVista and AlltheWeb and FAST public Web search engines. FAST Search & Transfer has the FAST and AltaVista enterprise search engines (for site search, intranet search, etc.).
Another week, another acquisition. Last week, Overture announced plans to buy AltaVista. This week it announces the planned acquisition of the Web Search Unit of Fast Search & Transfer which includes AlltheWeb, FAST Web Search, and the FAST PartnerSite paid inclusion program. Purchase price is $70 million plus a performance-based cash incentive payment of up to $30 million over three years. See also the FAST press release.
Bear in mind that, at least for now, that AlltheWeb and AltaVista continue to have their own, separate database and their own unique search features. How this all will change in the future remains to be seen.
FAST announces an agreement with Espotting (a paid ranking search engine like Overture). FAST will provide the general search engine results at Espotting's site after the paid ranking results. Also, the press release notes that "Espotting will provide their top three paid listings on AlltheWeb's European search results pages." So European searches will get Espotting "Sponsored Results" while the rest of the world will continue to see "Sponsored Results" from Overture. These are separate from teh regular search results at AlltheWeb. Apparently, the searcher location will be determined by top level domain origin of the searcher, so it will not always guess right.
HotBot has relaunched and now can search Inktomi, Google, FAST, and Teoma. Terra-Lycos, the owner of HotBot, says that with the new HotBot, they want to give the users control. It certainly makes it easy to check four of the major Web search engines from one interface. The front page no longer has ads and flashing banners and pop-ups should be gone from other pages. And the advanced features are readily available and properly translated for each of the four search engines, if they are supported. If they are not supported, HotBot will say that "These filters are not yet supported."
However, several advanced features are gone from the previous version of HotBot:
- Boolean option for Inktomi searches
- Name search (listed as "the person" previously)
- Truncation and word stemming
- The ability to choose more than 10 results on the advanced search page is gone (and with the Preferences, it will now only give up to 50 hits but Google and Teoma will not even give that many)
- And the "More results from this site" link does not always show up, meaning that when it does not the searcher can only find one page per site
I've made minor updates to several reviews including HotBot, Lycos, MSN, Fast Search, and Inktomi. Changes include updates on which Inktomi features work at HotBot and MSN, and a note on how to get the MSN advanced search to work without a search term. (Thanks, Gary, for that tip.) I've also added the Postion Tech Inktomi search to the Inktomi review.
Interesting article on FAST from the unrelated but similarly-named Fast Company magazine.
Pandia reports and translates some interesting experimental work FAST is doing on the display of results. It involves "technology that recognizes person names and geographical locations in all types of documents." You can see a screen shot in the original Norwegian article at Digi.no.
Scirus and FAST announce a relaunched version of Scirus, a science-oriented search engine with both Web pages and Elsevier journal articles. Just remember that the journal articles are only available to subscribers. See also the FAST press release.
Fast Search and Transfer announces increased 2nd quarter profits.
FAST announced today their support of the FTC advisory about the disclosure of paid listings. AlltheWeb now has a special page offering information about their results.
FAST announced today that their major growth drive over the past few months has pushed their database at AlltheWeb over the 2 billion mark. Their number 2,095,568,809 is a bit higher than Google's advertised number of 2,073,418,204, but then Google's number includes their unindexed URLs as well. Some preliminary comparisons of actual search results show the two fairly even with the difference often found in the number and kind of duplicates in each.
FirstGov is now using a new search engine from FAST, replacing the original Inktomi search engine. This is not the regular FAST database used at AllTheWeb and Lycos, but it does use the same technology. The new FirstGov search engine includes non-HTML file types such as PDFs, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and .txt and perhaps more. Even the advanced search form has no file type limit at this time, but since this is based on FAST technology, the 'url.all' field search can help. For example, putting
url.all:pdf after the search terms will narrow the results to PDF files and other pages with 'pdf' somewhere else in the URL.
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.
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.
GCN reports in an article that FirstGov has awarded the FirstGov search engine contract to AT&T using Fast's technology. It also says that the new search engine will be live by April 1.
FAST announces the launch of their paid submission and site search combination known as PartnerSite. It has been in beta for months. With the official launch, FAST decided to have their partners be the vendors. So Lycos has launched Lycos InSite in two versions: Select (paid inclusion only) and Pro (paid inclusion and site search).
Fast announces that Dr. John M. Lervik is their new CEO along with several other management changes.
Fast Search & Transfer announces PartnerSite, a program that sounds like it will be similar to Inktomi's paid inclusion programs. However, Fast says theirs will be less expensive and includes hosted site search as well.