Excite is one of the smaller search engines. But it is very well known, provides sophisticated personalization, offers excellent relevant results for very popular queries, and its News Search provides important access to Web versions of newspapers, magazines, and news wires. Use the table of contents on the left to navigate this review.
Databases: Excite offers its own directory database, Excite Channels, along with a current news database (known as NewsTracker or Excite News) and several reference databases such as a dictionary, almanac, and encyclopedia. It also has a small database of customized links for commonly requested search topics like companies, sports teams, and movies. These are displayed first, followed by the directory matches, and then the Web page matches from the Excite. Records from the News database or its Reference databases may also be displayed under separate headers.
Default Operation: If multiple terms are entered, they are processed as an OR operation.
Boolean Searching: Excite searches can use the + for AND or the - for NOT. Excite also supports full Boolean searching with the operators AND, OR, and NOT. An OR search is the default when no operators are used. Either AND NOT or NOT can be used. Searching can be nested using parentheses. Note that Boolean operators MUST be in upper case to work. In their Advanced Web Search, neither the +, -, nor Boolean operators can be used. Instead, functions must be chosen from the drop down menus.
Proximity Searching: Phrase searching can be designated by double quotes "" around a search phrase. However, Excite does not always process a phrase search exactly as expected. It will ignore stop words within a phrase. For example, an Excite search on the phrase "difference principle" will also find documents that contain "difference in principle".
Truncation: No truncation searching is available.
Case Sensitivity: Excite is not case sensitive. All search terms look for a match regardless of upper and lower case are searched.
Field Searching: No field searching is available.
Limits: Excite automatically limits to English language searches (as of summer 1999). After running a search from the main page, a followup search box also has the language limit options. There is currently no way to search all language, and only one language can be searched at a time. No other limits are available on their regular search. Choosing either More Search or Advanced Web Search give the option for limiting the search to any of the nine following languages:
The Advanced Web Search also has limits by country (based on top level country domains), common U.S. top level domains (.com, .edu, .net, .org, .mil, and .gov), and an adult content filter.
Stop Words: Excite does have a stop word list. Many common words and numbers will not be searched.
Sorting: Results are sorted by relevance with groupings by site available at the end of each brief record. There is no way to "ungroup" the results the way Infoseek used to. It also does not identify which hits have more than one page per site available. Instead, every hit has the more from this site whether or not there is only a single hit from that site. There are no further options for sorting alphabetically or by date. Excite used to hvae an option to sort by site, but it only worked for the top 40 hits.
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