[Internet Search Engine Update]

ONLINE, July 2000
Copyright © 2000 Information Today, Inc.


AltaVista has made several changes in the past few months. First, it has combined the full content from both the Open Directory and the LookSmart directory to create what it calls the largest directory, with over two million entries. The records from the two databases have been merged, duplicates removed, hierarchies synchronized, and the entries in each section are now sorted using AltaVista's relevance ranking. Second, AltaVista's search engine database has grown as well. It now claims a larger database of over 350 million records. Third, it introduced a new service called Raging Search (see below for details).

Excite now has an Excite Photo Search at http://photosearch.excite.com. Excite says that the database includes over 400,000 online photos, with the images coming both from member photo collections and news photos.

Google also has been busy. It has added a directory to its search engine. Like several competitors, it now uses the Open Directory. It is available for browsing and is included in search results. Google sorts the Open Directory entries within a category by regular Google link analysis relevance ranking rather than alphabetically. Regular search results will also display directory categories as well as the directory category for individual records.

Google has introduced several new features to its search engine and changed the records display. It has added 11 language limits including the ability to select multiple languages. The language limit replaced the number of results options, which are now only available on the results page. A family filter limit has been added to the search engine results page. The results are also now clustered by site so that a maximum of two results from a site is displayed, with the rest available under the "More results from..." heading. There is no option to uncluster results. And lastly, the link to view the cached pages has changed to read "Show matches (Cache)," and the cached pages are directly available by entering a search in the format of cache:www.whatever.tld.

Inktomi has announced a significant size increase for its search engine database. From one billion documents, it has extracted a 500-million-record database called GEN3 which weeds out duplicates and spam. According to the announcements, of all the partners, MSN Search and iWon were supposed to have the new database first. However, by mid-May, none of the Inktomi search partners, not even MSN Search or iWon, showed any signs of actually using the GEN3 database. While some of the Inktomi partner search engines may suddenly show a significant increase in size, if and when they do switch to the GEN3 database, it is taking some time to actually be adopted.

IntelliSeek has acquired ProFusion, the online metasearch engine. IntelliSeek also released version 2.5 of BullsEye, its desktop metasearch engine.

Lycos will become Terra Lycos as the European Terra Networks buys the well known portal property. This should increase the global reach of both services, but no other direct impact to their search engines has been announced yet.

Northern Light has launched a new search option: Geo Search. Using technology from Vicinity, the Geo Search enables limiting a search to a specific geographic region within the United States or Canada. The limit is based on geographic information that appears on a Web page. Searchers can limit by street address, city, state, province, ZIP code, and area code. The Geo Search results also include extracts of the matching addresses on the pages.

PortalB is a new subscription-only business search engine from Data Downlink. This commercial site offers both a directory and a search engine for business-related Web sites. Sites are indexed in the directory by librarians or library school students. The site is available at http://www.portalb.com.

Raging Search is AltaVista's new site for the "search enthusiast." Available at raging.com, this site offers access to the same AltaVista database with several search options available under the "customize" option. The only new option is the ability to request up to 50 results at once, but other options include a family filter, language limits, and language encoding. Raging Search offers a cleaner look, with no banner ads or surrounding portal content.

Search.com is now a metasearch engine. The CNET-owned site searches several directories and search engines including Snap, Direct Hit, Lycos, Yahoo!, and GoTo. The results are divided into directory hits, search engine results, headlines, and latest prices. CNET also owns the metasearch engine SavvySearch, and there are now some connections between the two.

WebTop.com now gives the counts for its results and has added follow-up domain and language limits. The language limits are available for 14 languages.

Greg R. Notess (greg@notess.com; http://www.notess.com) is a reference librarian at Montana State University.

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