Internet Search Engine Update
by Greg R. Notess
Reference Librarian, Montana State University
Search Engine Update
goes up on the Web
soon as it is written, approximately one month before
the print issue mails to subscribers.
AlltheWeb is now indexing and
including Microsoft Word files available on the Web.
The advanced search form has added Microsoft Word as
a File Format limit to the PDF and Flash options. In
addition, the file formats can be searched from the
command box by using filetype:with either pdf, flash,
or msword after the colon. AlltheWeb appears to be
indexing about 14 million PDFs, 2 million Word documents,
and 1 million Flash files.
AltaVista has added a few new features to its
news search. It now claims about 3,000 news sources,
including feeds from Moreover and sites like the New
York Times. New search features include a date range
limit with both pre-selected time periods as well as
the ability for the searcher to specify a specific
date range. It also added a limit to retrieve articles
that only contain associated news images. Note that
AltaVista's news search includes a greater archive
depth than most other search engine's news searches,
with some articles dating back a year or more.
Ask Jeeves has announced that it will no longer
have banner ads on its site. The ban on banners joined
the earlier ban of pop-up and other interstitial ads
on Ask Jeeves sites (which includes Teoma). Instead,
it plans on generating income using what it calls "Branded
Response" and "Premier Listings." Basically, it is
moving to text ads rather than graphic ads.
Google has been busy on the experimental front
again. It recently launched Froogle, a product search
engine currently available in beta mode [http://froogle.google.com/].
Named as a play on both Google and Frugal, this new
search engine contains just products. Sellers can get
their products included for free, potentially using
a data feed. The database is certainly different than
regular Google, in part because Froogle includes price,
store name, and sometimes even a product picture. Meanwhile,
Google Labs [http://labs.google.com/] has
added the Google Viewer, which scrolls through Google
search results while also showing a preview of each
page, and Google Webquotes, which lists quotes from
other pages that point to the top 10 results from a
HotBot has relaunched and now can search four
distinct databases: Inktomi, Google, FAST, and Teoma.
While it makes it easy to search all four of these
important databases, a few search features are lost
from the old days: truncation, word stemming, the name
search, and full Boolean capabilities. See Mary Ellen
Bate's "Online Spotlight" for a more detailed review.
Inktomi released its Web Search 9, although
it is not yet available from all its partners. It now
includes indexed file formats such as PDFs, Microsoft
Word documents, and Excel spreadsheet files. It offers
English-language spelling suggestions for names as
well as dictionary terms. It claims an even fresher
database that is completely re-indexed every 10-14
days, with paid inclusion URLs re-indexed every 48
hours. It sometimes uses a keyword-in-context (KWIC)
display for results while others still use a summary.
Then, to top it all off, the company is to get bought
out by Yahoo! (see below for more details).
Northern Light retreats even further from the
useful search engine it used to be. Parent company
divine, Inc. stopped selling Special Collection documents
on a pay-per-view basis as of early January and is
no longer accepting new enterprise customers. The Alerts
feature has been shut down, and even the news wire
search engine is expected to cease to be available
Teoma now has an advanced search page and some
customization options. The advanced search includes
word filters, field searches for title or URL (although
those two cannot be used together), expanded language
limits, a geographic region limit, and a date limit.
You can get up to 100 results at a time on the advanced
search or by using the customization option. Like Inktomi,
it has added spelling suggestions for English terms.
Yahoo! announced a definitive agreement to
acquire Inktomi. Assuming the deal goes through, Yahoo!
will finally have its own search engine. What that
will eventually change on its site remains to be seen,
since it currently uses Google results and rankings.
The obvious assumption is that Inktomi results will
eventually come back to Yahoo!, but there has been
no such announcement and no public timeline for any
The Numbers: There have been many claimed huge
size increases from several of the search engines,
with Google and Inktomi claiming 3 billion. The December
size comparison of search engine database size at Search
Engine Showdown [www.searchengineshowdown.com/stats] found
Google still leading the pack, but AlltheWeb, AltaVista,
and Teoma had significant growth as well.
R. Notess (firstname.lastname@example.org;
is a reference librarian at Montana State University and
founder of SearchEngineShowdown.com.
Comments? Email the editor at email@example.com.