[Internet Search Engine Update]

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


AltaVista has added a find related pages feature for some search results. Look for a "Related pages" link to search for additional hits similar to the one chosen. This can also be done directly from the search box by using the new field search like:. It behaves a bit differently than other AltaVista field searches-it cannot be combined with additional terms. It can be used in the Simple Search. On the Advanced Search, it will only work if entered in the "Sort by" box and will not work in the Boolean box. To use the like: command, just append a URL to create a search such as like: britannica.com.

AltaVista has also introduced new Search Centers. Dividing its multimedia search into three separate sections, there are now Search Centers for images, video, and MP3/audio. Each search center has a separate page with new search features and the ability to limit to specific media collections. The "portal" section of each of these Search Centers is now targeted at topics of interest to that group of users. For example, the images page has picture-related directory sections, image discussion groups, shopping links to camcorders, scanners, and cameras, and a special Image Toolkit.

In addition, they have moved their Advanced Search to a new Advanced Search Center. The Advanced Search still functions the same, but the surrounding portal content and links have changed. It includes information aimed at the advanced searcher and includes discussion forums, a Web Masters only section, and other features for the advanced searching community.

Ask Jeeves, the question and answer site, acquired Direct Hit.

BullsEye from Intelliseek http://www.intelliseek.com/ is now available in version 2. Unlike version 1, this version is free. BullsEye Pro version 2 is $149 and adds tracking, customized news-clipping technology, and advanced filtering for the fee.

Dialog has released WebCheck, formerly called K-Check. WebCheck is a free desktop application that ties into Dialog's Web search engine site, WebTop.

ExpertCentral.com has been acquired by About.com, the site formerly known as the Mining Company.

Fast announced that Scandinavia Online and its Evreka and Kvasir portals will begin using the Fast search engine database of Web pages.

Google has changed the header on its cached pages display. It continues to report the date when Google cached the page, but it no longer reports the date of the page at the time it was cached.

HotBot and a few other Inktomi search engines (including Snap and Anzwers) now support left-hand truncation. The asterisk (*) can be used at the beginning of a term, anywhere in the middle, or at the end to stand for any number of characters (including zero). Unfortunately, the truncation symbol cannot be used within a field search such as a title search.

HotLinks Guide has launched and functions both as a Web-based bookmark storage site and a searchable database of other people's bookmarks. Claiming over three million unique links, HotLinks allows participants to keep their bookmarks private or to share them. For those that are public, HotLinks offers a fascinating look into what sites and pages people bookmark.

Inktomi announced on January 18, 2000 that its WebMap database exceeded one billion documents and that the size had been verified by researchers from NEC (see http://www.inktomi.com/webmap/). However, while the page states that the number of documents in this Inktomi Database is over one billion, that WebMap database is not available for searching. The Inktomi partners offer direct searching of only a portion of those one billion records. According to Inktomi, they use the WebMap database in combination with their Click Analysis and Text and Link Analysis technologies to extract about 110 million records for the Inktomi Web page index. It is this Web page index that the Inktomi partners use. Although, since each partner can choose different options and parameters of the Web page index, the actual database results can be even less than the 110 million. While it would be useful to have access to the full billion record database, at least their WebMap study demonstrates that the public Web contains at least one billion pages.

MaxBot.com offers three domain specific search engines: SearchEdu.com, SearchMil.com, and SearchGov.com. They each index pages within their respective top-level domains. In the style of Google, they also offer cached versions of pages that show the content of the page when it was indexed. Thus, they offer another important alternative for finding older versions of a specific page.

Northern Light is now available as one of Yahoo!'s follow-up search options. It is listed in the "Other Search Engines" section at the end of the Yahoo! search results.

The Open Directory has surpassed 1.5 million records in its directory, which is available at http://dmoz.org/ as well as at AltaVista, HotBot, Lycos, and several other prominent Web sites.

The Numbers: The February statistical comparison of search engines at Search Engine Showdown (http://searchengineshowdown.com/) shows Fast maintaining its lead as largest database, followed by Northern Light and AltaVista. Despite major size increases in the largest search engines, the overlap between them remained low. Fast, AltaVista, Northern Light, Excite, Google, Lycos, Anzwers, and MSN all found unique pages not found by any of the other thirteen search engines in the comparison. Overall dead link percentages are down with many search engines at 2% or less for dead links.

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

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