Inktomi 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.
As announced last year, MSN Search no longer uses results from LookSmart as the first results for most queries on its simple search. Instead, the search results are primarily from Inktomi, which used to follow the LookSmart results. Some internal MSN content (and ads) may show up before the Inktomi results.
Now AltaVista, AlltheWeb, Inktomi, and Overture are all owned by Yahoo! The press release quotes CEO Terry Semel, "We are excited to combine the two companies to build the largest position in the rapidly growing Internet advertising market." While the ad market is what pays for the search engines, the real question is which of these search engines will continue and at what sites? For now, AltaVista and AlltheWeb continue to be available at their historic locations, and they may share the same underlying database very soon. Already, AlltheWeb has lost a few search features like the URL Investigator no longer displaying the number for the links, but overall both still work with all of their old search features. Inktomi still is the back-end search engine at MSN Search and remains available at HotBot.
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.
Judging relevance for search engine results is a very subjective judgement many times. All the search engines give relevant results for some searches and irrelevant results for others, and even more often, they mix the two. And many searchers would rate the same results at a different score. Be that as it may, Veritest offers up a new report on search engine relevance in which Inktomi has a slight lead over Google. Older reports are available for Inktomi, AltaVista, and Google. They all make for interesting reading, and the Inktomi results should be a reminder to try the Inktomi database at HotBot or MSN Search.
Yahoo! announces the completion of their acquistion of Inktomi. In the press release, Terry Semel, Yahoo! CEO says that "bringing together a powerful combination of Yahoo!'s global audience and unmatched breadth and depth of services with Inktomi's leading search technology, will allow us to create one of the most relevant, comprehensive and highest quality search offerings on the Web for both our affiliate partners and Yahoo!." How exactly that will be accomplished remains to be seen. Google results still dominate at Yahoo!.
MSN Search has launched their new version (in beta testing since at least Feb. 11). On the basic search page, there is less clutter and no banner ads. The advanced search has added limits for PDF, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents, and the underlying Inktomi database via both interfaces now includes those kinds of files. Note that the basic search goes to LookSmart directory hits first and then Inktomi while the Advanced search goes straight to Inktomi results.
I am starting to see PDFs, Microsoft Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets indexed at some Inktomi partner sites. HotBot now has PDF, doc, and xls files. These records also show up at About, Overture, and Overture-powered sites like Go.com. None of the partners have a specific limit for the new file types, except for the Position Tech form. But THE major Inktomi partner, MSN Search, does not seem to have any of the extra file formats at this point.
Both Yahoo! and Inktomi announced today that "they have signed a definitive agreement under which Yahoo! will acquire Inktomi for a purchase price of $1.65 per share in cash. The transaction reflects an aggregate purchase price of approximately $235 million." So at last, Yahoo! will finally have their own search engine, even though Yahoo! still is using Google (and has been reported to have a 5% stake in Google). The search engine industry sure sees some strange partnerships. Now we will have Yahoo! providing MSN with its search engine results (Inktomi) and Google providing Yahoo!. We will have to wait and see how this all may change in the future.
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
Inktomi has released its Web Search 9. Whether or not, and how soon, its partners will implement some of the new features remains to be seen. Key points of the new launch include:
- A new 3 billion record database
- PDFs and other file types
- Spelling suggestions, for English only, but for names as well as dictionary terms
- An even fresher database, claiming to re-index its entire database every 10-14 days and paid inclusion URLs every 48 hours
- Smart summaries where Inktomi will either display a contextual summary (KWIC display), an editorial summary, or an advertiser-supplied summary for paid-inclusion customers
- And more for Index Connect partners
Inktomi announced the sale of its enterprise search software (formerly known as Ultraseek) to Verity. They also announced a new focus on Web searching which is now the major business that Inktomi is still involved with. Note that they say "The company plans to announce significant enhancements to Inktomi Web Search next week that will further increase relevance and freshness." Despite losing several partners this year, this move shows their confidence in being able to make money in the Web search business. Stay tuned for the announcements next week. Inktomi review updated. See also the Verity press release and their conference call. The acquisition does include both the Ultraseek enterprise search engine originally developed at Infoseek and the recently acquired Quiver automatical classification software.
Alacritude announces that it will have 2 million of its full-text articles from eLibrary.com included in Inktomi's Index Connect. What this means for the searcher is that some results may come up in Inktomi search partners (MSN Search, HotBot, Overture) that are links to full-text periodical articles available from eLibrary. However, to view the full-text article, you will need to pay for a subscription to eLibrary or at least sign-up for a free trial. Based on my tests, and despite the announcement, it is only the titles and perhaps some other metadata that is indexed, not the full-text of the articles. Is this a good thing? It seems to me like it is more of an ad for eLibrary than anything else.
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.
Danny Sullivan reports on Inktomi's new 'conceptual search' which Danny prefers to call anti-proximity. The idea is that for single term, Inktomi's ranking will prefer uses of the term by itself rather than in common phrases. For example, a search on 'york' or 'mexico' will push pages to the top where those terms are used by themselves rather than in other common phrases like 'new york' or 'new mexico.' It's an interesting approach that other search engines may wish to consider.
Inktomi's high-end paid inclusion program, Index Connect, now has over 1,000 customers according to their press release. Index Connect is for large Web sites with more than 1,000 pages to submit. Their program for smaller sites, Search Submit, has over 100,000 customers.
Now that both FAST and Google claim more than 2 billion pages, Inktomi now says the same. In a WebMaster World forum post an Inktomi rep says "We're now searching more than 2 billion web pages." Pandia has more. On a few quick checks, I find more results at AlltheWeb and Google than at MSN Search, but this will bear watching.
Both AOL and iWon have now switched from Inktomi to Google for the Web pages search engine. AOL is also using Google ads. AOL-owned Compuserve and Netscape are now also searching the Google database and displaying ads. iWon just switched their search engine database to Google. The "Sponsored Listing" ads still come from Overture. See more at Pandia.
As Inktomi tries to refocus on their search business, they are acquiring Quiver, known for its taxonomy and automatic categorization software products. In the press release David Peterschmidt, Inktomi CEO is quoted saying "Our enterprise search customers have been actively pursuing solutions for organizing information, and seeking direction from Inktomi in selecting the leading categorization products that meet their business requirements. The combined solutions from Quiver and Inktomi will provide the strongest suite of information retrieval solutions available."
Inktomi announces new regional identification and blending technologies as well as enhanced language analysis for its Web search engine. This will have different results at each partner search engine, but it provides the ability for the partners to provide more geographic context for international search results. This could mean that country-specific Inktomi partners will be able to more accurately identify Web sites related to the region, even when they have a different top level domain or are not in the native language.
Sometime recently, Canada.com dropped Inktomi as its search engine and replaced it with Dogpile, the metasearch engine. Inktomi Review has been updated.
Inktomi announces enhancements to its Web search products. The press release is long on verbage, but the actual enhancements seem to consist of revised relevance algorithms using modeling based on human judgement along with more abilities to blend Inktomi search results with other database results. It also mentions the fresher and more diverse content being made available in the database from their Index Connect (see March 9) initiative. The impact of all of this on searchers will only be seen as Inktomi partners start adopting these changes.
Inktomi has expanded its pay for inclusion program. For larger customers (those with over 1,000 pages), Inktomi offers its Index Connect service. For those sites that choose to pay, they can determine what gets indexed, how frequently it gets index, track when it was indexed, and even send a file with metadata for pages or multimedia files via XML interchange format. For searchers, this means that Inktomi partners are likely to have some unique multimedia content unavailable from other sources. It may also mean that non-paying sites will be less well covered and less frequently updated. See their press release for more information.
Inktomi has started a new service: "Inktomi Search/Submit," which is a pay for submission program where Web sites pay by the page to have their pages indexed by Inktomi. The program is being run by Position Technologies, Inc., a search engine optimization firm. Free submission to the Inktomi database continues to be available via Inktomi partners. For more details, see the following:
- Inktomi's announcement
- Postition Technologies' Page
- Forum discussion at Web Master World
- Danny Sullivan's coverage (should have a fuller update tomorrow)
What will the long term implications of this be? Will other search engines follow suit? And what about non-profit, educational, individual, hobby, and government Web sites? This should be an interesting process to watch, and to watch closely.