Magazine article Online

Internet Search Engine Update

Magazine article Online

Internet Search Engine Update

Article excerpt

The past several months have seen a flurry of partnerships, buyouts, and new features. The Web search engines have been busy reinventing themselves. Several of these changes have direct impact on searches.

Lycos has bought Wired Digital, HotBot's parent company. The immediate effect for searchers is that HotBot and Lycos search results include a link to the other service at the bottom of the page.

HotBot also has several new search features. Truncation is now available by using the asterisk * symbol. It can be end truncation or internal, but must be preceded by at least two characters. Under More Search Options, HotBot has a check box for enabling "word stemming" which causes HotBot to search for grammatical word variants of search terms.

HotBot has also added a language limit-for English, French, Italian, Dutch, German, Spanish, Finnish, Swedish, and Portuguese-plus a personal page type limit, available under More Search Options. Case sensitivity has been expanded beyond just unusual case recognition to match any usage of uppercase characters within the search terms.

AltaVista introduced its Full View Searching, available when using the Simple Search form. Full View Searching incorporates the question and answer search technology of Ask jeeves, directory search, and index search. The index search is the usual AltaVista search while the directory search continues to rely on LookSmart.

The question and answer technology displays several possible question/answer combinations before the Realnames display and before the regular search results, or index search results as AltaVista calls them. The directory search results from LooksSmart appear below the index search results under the heading "AltaVista Recommends." When using the Advanced Search, only the index search results are displayed.

AltaVista has added "phrase detection" to its Simple Search. While double quotes still force AltaVista to search for phrases, the new phrase detection recognizes millions of commonly-used phrases even in searches that do not use the quote marks. AltaVista's database of phrases includes those seen frequently in Web searches, famous people, movies, and technical terms. AltaVista has also added a spelling advisor, which will suggest alternate spellings to consider using for the next search. And lastly, AltaVista has added another, even shorter, URL for access: http://www. …

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