[Internet Search Engine Update]

ONLINE, January 2001
Copyright © 2001 Information Today, Inc.


Recent months have seen a spate of announcements about paid submissions and other commercial endeavors. While Web searching remains free, more search companies are looking for additional revenue streams. So, as will be seen in the AltaVista, Inktomi, and Yahoo! news items here, Web sites that wish to be included in a search engine or directory may want to–or have to–pay for that inclusion.

AlltheWeb has added several multimedia databases from Fast Search and Transfer to its Web search engine. The multimedia databases are directly available at http://multimedia.alltheweb.com. The AlltheWeb multimedia search provides access to a combined database of images, video, and audio. The search form also presents options for limiting to just one of the three subsets. An advanced search form has an offensive content reduction filter and the ability to specify specific multimedia file types.

AltaVista has struck an agreement with GoTo and will add "Sponsored Listings" from GoTo. These are paid results from GoTo and will appear on AltaVista's results page. They will be separated from the regular AltaVista results under the heading of "Sponsored Listings." The price that the Web sites have bid at GoTo will not display on AltaVista, but there will be a link that provides additional details about the program.

AltaVista has also added two specialized search pages. The Education Search and Government Search are linked under the "More Searches" heading. These basically add an .edu or a .gov top level domain limit on searches and link to appropriate sections of AltaVista's LookSmart-powered directory.

Go has relaunched its site with a new design and focus. Pulling back from the more generic portal model, Go's new design focuses more on entertainment, sports, news, and family activities. While it has modified the site design, results layout, and surrounding portal content, the underlying Infoseek search engine continues to function as before. In the new design, the Infoseek search engine results, labeled as "Web Search Results," show in a box on the left-hand side of your screen, but underneath one box for Go Directory categories and a second one for "Proven Picks," which are sites with high ratings from the Go Guides. Web Search Results can be sorted by date or score.

Google has finally begun introducing some support for Boolean operators with the addition of an OR operator. Google still does not support processing of the AND or NOT operator, nor does it support nesting. Google searches continue to default to an automatic AND operation. To use the new OR operator, it must be entered in all uppercase as in x OR y. If it is entered in lowercase, it is treated as a stopword. Google has also added colored term highlighting on their cached page copies.

HotBot and the other Inktomi search engines (including NBCi and Anzwers) that supported left-hand truncation (announced here in May 2000) now no longer support it. However, end and internal truncation continue to work.

Inktomi has begun a new pay for submission service called "Inktomi Search/Submit." While free submission to the Inktomi database continues to be available (at least for now) via Inktomi partners such as HotBot, iWon, and MSN Search, this new service lets Web sites pay per page to have those pages indexed and included in the Inktomi database. The program is being run by Position Technologies, Inc., a search engine optimization firm. In addition to free submission through partners, Inktomi also will continue crawling for new pages. The paid service provides more frequent re-indexing and reports from Inktomi.

iWon, on its simple search, used to display only one hit per Web site with no access to other pages on a particular Web site that also matched the search criteria. Now, each iWon result has a "More results from [site]" link at the bottom which will bring up other matches from that Web site; however, like at HotBot, there is no differentiation between sites that have multiple pages that match from a site and sites that only have a single matching page.

Yahoo! no longer accepts free submission to the commercial portion of its directory. Anyone wishing to submit a new Web site to the "Shopping and Services" and "Business to Business" sections of Yahoo! now need to use the Yahoo! Business Express $199 submission services. Free submission is still available in other sections of the Yahoo! directory.

The Numbers: The October size comparison of search engines at Search Engine Showdown (http://searchengineshowdown.com/) puts Fast (at AlltheWeb.com) back in first place, followed by Google, Northern Light, iWon (representing the Inktomi search engine database), and AltaVista.

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

Comments? Email letters to the Editor to marydee@infotoday.com.

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Copyright © 2001 Information Today, Inc. All rights reserved.