Magazine article Online

Internet SEARCH ENGINE Update

Magazine article Online

Internet SEARCH ENGINE Update

Article excerpt

The big change in the search engine space this time is Yahoo!s launch of its own search engine. Instead of relying on Google to provide the bulk of its search results, Yahoo! now has its own Inktomi-based search engine database. Many of the other changes and announcements appear to be a reaction to it.

AltaVista and AlltheWeb, although now owned by Yahoo!, still continue to have their own, unique databases, plus separate, unique search features. Although their image, news, and media databases have been combined, their main Web page databases continue to be separate and continue to be updated. While Yahoo! claims that eventually all will share the same Yahoo! Database-that was originally supposed to have happened late in 2003-it has not yet occurred. The good news is that even when (and if) these engines do have a common database, the advanced search features at each are supposed to continue to be available.

Ask Jeeves has announced that it will be purchasing Interactive Search Holdings, a company that includes the MyWay.com, My Search, My Web Search, iWon, and Excite search sites. These sites currently use either Google results or offer results from several search engines. Once the purchase is completed, these sites are likely to be switched over to Ask Jeeves/Teoma search results. Ask Jeeves has also suspended its Index Express paid submission service for large (over 1,000 URLs) sites, although it continues to accept paid submission from smaller sites. It still has no free submission, although its Teoma search engine (which also provides the bulk of results for Ask Jeeves) has been quite successful at finding most sites, even without the free submission.

Gigablast continues to add new features. The latest additions are the links to archived pages for each of the URLs in a results list. This is in addition to the cached archive of that page. The new links are labeled as "older copies" and link directly to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. Gigablast has added a related concept section called Giga Bits, which displays at the top of the search results page. One more small change-Gigablast now has stop words. Very common words, such as "a," "is," and "the," will not be searched. Gigablast does display a message noting which terms have been ignored. Put a "+" in front of terms or include them within quotation marks as part of a phrase search to search them.

Google announced an expanded Web database (from 3.3 billion to 4.285 billion) and an enlarged image database (doubled to about 880 million images). Google's last announced increase went to 3.3 billion a few days after AlltheWeb announced a larger number than Google's previous number; similarly, the timing of this Google announcement was on the same day that Yahoo! announced dropping Google and the launch of its own database. With that being said, Google's database growth is still significant. On several actual searches, it does not seem to find that much more than it did before the announcement. On a few, Yahoo! finds even more results than Google. Yet for most searches I tested, Google still retrieves more results than the others. In other Google developments, the Google news alerts have expanded beyond English, to French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Google Labs has a new experiment providing access to the Froogle shopping engine via wireless devices such as mobile phones and PDAs. …

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