Internet Search Engine Update
by Greg R. Notess
Reference Librarian, Montana State University
Internet Search Engine Update
up on the Web at http://www.onlinemag.net
soon as it is written, approximately one month before
the print issue mails to subscribers.
been busy, adding full Boolean searching, redesigning
its site, and looking towards a new owner. It added full
Boolean searching capability on the advanced search page
using AND, OR, and ANDNOT. These operators, and nesting
with parentheses, should only be used in the Boolean
box on the advanced search page or on the simple search
page if the search type menu box has been added via the
customization option and the Boolean search type has
been selected. It also has a RANK operator that is supposed
to boost the rank of results containing that term, but
it does not behave dependably.
tries to automatically identify appropriate language
limits for users, but it still retains an "Any Language" option,
and the default language limit can be changed on the
preferences pages. It has also introduced a variety
of quick links, bookmark shortcuts, and search options
for various Web browsers that make it easy to search
AlltheWeb directly from the address box, by highlighting
a term on a Web page and then clicking a bookmark,
and other shortcuts. These are available under Help
and Search Tools.
AlltheWeb redesign banished banner ads, provides more
readable results, uses new colors, and has added a
URL Investigator. Enter a URL as a search term, and
the results page can include page language, size, last
update date, number of pages that link to the URL,
number of pages that contain the term, number of pages
at the site, subdomains at the site, Open Directory
categories containing the site, and links to Easywhois
and the Wayback Machine for the URL. With the redesign,
a few features such as the document directory depth
limit, the home page limit, and FAST topics were added.
Also, the related searches and multimedia results have
been moved from the right margin to the bottom.
AlltheWeb and the rest of the FAST Web Search Unit
(but not FAST's enterprise search) are being acquired
by Overture with expected completion in April 2003.
AlltheWeb in getting bought out, and by the same company,
Overture. The deal is also expected to close in April
2003. Overture is buying the whole AltaVista company,
including its search-related patents and its enterprise
search engine. In terms of search features, one recent
change at AltaVista is that the wild card or truncation
symbol (the asterisk [*]) is now simpler to use. It
used to only represent 0-5 extra characters and a double
asterisk (**) had to be used for unlimited truncation,
but now a single * represents an unlimited number of
characters. AltaVista is the only major search engine
that now offers truncation. It can be used at the end
of terms and internally if after at least three characters.
Go, the former Infoseek, had long since given
up having its own database and search engine. Instead,
it just provided Overture search results with the ranked
advertisements above Inktomi results. Recently it switched
from Overture to Google, still with Google-provided
ranked advertisements above regular Google search results.
In addition, Disney, Go's owner, seems to be looking
into the possibility of selling the Infoseek patents
and technology that used to power Go.com.
been active the past few months, but not with its usual
search activities. Instead, it purchased a Web log
company, Pyra Labs, the maker of the popular blog tool
Blogger and the Blog*Spot blog hosting site. The other
major initiative at Google is the introduction of yet
another advertising program. Google Content-Targeted
Advertising expands the reach of the advertising beyond
search engine results (what It has offered for a while
now—the text ads at the top and in the right-hand
margin that are labeled as "sponsored links") to placing
those ads on non-search related pages on other Web
sites. These text ads are starting to appear on content
sites such as HowStuffWorks, Knight Ridder Digital,
Weather Underground, and Google Groups.
a few changes to its new interface. It has added more
advanced search features to its Teoma advanced search
page: language, region, and date limits. However, the
Inktomi and AlltheWeb advanced search pages have lost
their directory depth limits.
Search relaunched with less clutter and no banner
ads. It now includes indexed PDF and Microsoft Office
files, and the advanced search now has limits for HTML,
PDF, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents. The Basic
Search continues to display LookSmart directory results
first followed by Inktomi results, while the Advanced
Search goes straight to the Inktomi database.
Light is almost completely dead, but it has still
been sputtering along. The news search stops updating
with new content and then starts again. The Web database
at NLResearch.com has been up and down as well. The
Special Collection is usually no longer searchable,
and it looks likely that the whole system will be nonfunctional
its acquisition of Inktomi. Yahoo! search results are
still from Google at the time of this column, but many
expect to see Inktomi results showing up soon on Yahoo!
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.