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The Inktomi Group

Last updated May. 03, 2003.
by Greg R.

For News:
See Inktomi News Stories

Inktomi produces the database and search engine behind several well-known general Web search engines. Inktomi was bought by Yahoo! in Dec. 2002. So its future may change dramatically. For now, it provides the underlying search engine for the following sites and used to provide it at the following former sites:

Current Inktomi Partners

Former Inktomi Partners

  • AOL [To Google, in Aug. 2002]
  • iWon [To Google, in Aug. 2002]
  • The Australian Anzwers [Switched to Yahoo!/Google in Oct. 2001]
  • [Switched to Dogpile in May 2001]
  • NBCi [Switched to Overture in Aug. 2001]
  • Yahoo! [Switched to Google in June 2000]

Current Search Engine Showdown Favorite: MSN Search

MSN Advanced Search has one of the largest versions of the Inktomi database, has many advanced search features, and has some search features that none of the others yet have. Users can choose to limit to one record per domain or turn site clustering off. Another option is available for sorting "equally relevant results" by date, depth, and title. And Microsoft Internet Explorer users can select and save search results. 

Current Search Engine Showdown Alternate: HotBot (With Inktomi selected)

Some advanced features like truncation and page depth are no longer available via HotBot, but many others do still work. Plus, there are quick follow-up comparison searches available from FAST, Google, and Teoma as well as the Inktomi results.

Partner Changes

In Aug. 2002, AOL and iWon switched from Inktomi to Google for their underlying search engine for Web pages. The switch also meant that AOL-owned Compuserve and Netscape now search the Google database

In August 1999, AOL NetFind switched from using Excite to Inktomi. Meanwhile, MSN Web Search which originally used Inktomi, moved to AltaVista in September 1999 and then back to Inktomi in December 1999. Yahoo which switched from AltaVista to Inktomi, but in June 2000 changed from Inktomi to Google. In May 2001, dropped Inktomi and replaced it with Dogpile. Also in May 2001, iWon moved GoTo paid positioning results to the fore, although Inktomi results are also still available. In July 2001, NBCi (formerly Snap) dropped Inktomi for GoTo.

Since each Inktomi partners chooses their own options and parameters, searchers will see different results and search features available at each partner. The partners may also merge the Inktomi results with hits from other, non-Inktomi databases. See below for a comparison.

Other Notes

In January 2000, they released information on their WebMap database of over one billion documents. The WebMap database is not available for searching, nor do any Inktomi partners offer direct searching of those one billion records. Instead, Inktomi uses the WebMap database in combination with its Click Analysis and Text and Link Analysis technologies to pull its 110 million record Web page index. It is this product that the Inktomi partners use. Also, in the press release Inktomi mentions a new multimedia database of over 2.5 million media files.

Later in 2000, from the full WebMap database, Inktomi created a GEN3 (Generation 3) database. This included an additional 390 million records. In June 2000, iWon, HotBot, and NBCi started using the GEN3 index if the initial 110 million record database did not find enough hits. In spring 2001, MSN Search also started using the GEN3 database. GEN3 is now known as the "Gigadoc" database.

Inktomi also used to offer a directory engine and a shopping engine. Both of these used to be available on iWon, but now neither appear to be used there and Inktomi no longer lists these in their search products list.

For more details, see
"The Half Billion Crew: Google, Inktomi GEN3, & WebTop"
"The Many Faces of Inktomi" published online and in Database 22(2): 63-65, April-May 1999.
Inktomi Press Releases

Partner Size Comparisons

See my statistics pages for recent comparisons of some of the Inktomi databases. The chart below shows comparisons over time and change for five of the larger or better known Inktomi users:

Bar Chart


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