[Internet Search Engine Update]

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

After several months of announcing the death or significant retrenchment of many of the old search engines, it is a pleasure to be able to report more new search engines that, despite the dot com economic downturn, are currently offering free access to their services. With these new search engines and a new directory, all creating their own databases, the searching community is presented with yet more sources and opportunities for finding the information they need on the Web. Meanwhile, the old guard is busy trying to make a profit, in part by turning to more paid inclusion programs.

AlltheWeb.com, a Fast-powered search engine, has had a face-lift and some feature changes. There are more customization options, such as simple search format, side bar results, site collapsing, and default database. Results from Fast's picture, video, MP3, and FTP databases can be presented along the side. An OR operation can be added to the search by enclosing the ORed terms in parentheses so that the Boolean statement of x and (y or z) should be entered as x (y z). Field searches can no longer be entered on the command line, but check the help file carefully since it uses unusual field labels like url.tld.

AltaVista has joined Inktomi and the paid inclusion ranks by introducing its Express Inclusion program. Like other search engines trying paid inclusion, this does not mean that only those that pay get into the database. Instead, those Web sites that choose to pay get their pages entered more quickly, have weekly page updates, and have the ability to track their own pages. Like Inktomi, AltaVista charges by the page.

Excite is shutting down many of its European portals, including the French, German, and Spanish ones. Two international versions that will remain open are Excite UK and Excite Italia.

Fast has joined AltaVista and Inktomi in the pay for inclusion ranks by introducing its Fast PartnerSite program, although it is in beta until September. Aimed at small to medium sites, Fast's program is less expensive that either AltaVista or Inktomi's. It includes daily re-indexing and an integrated hosted site search application.

Google has several additions and changes. It added a date limit to its advanced search, but it only has the three options of Past 3 Months, Past 6 Months, or Past Year, and Google still does not displays page dates in its results list. Google launched in beta its Image Search at http://images.google.com. It also launched a Canadian version at www.google.ca, that has a Canadian page limit which goes beyond the simple .ca domain limit by including some Canadian sites that have other top level domains.

Google Groups, the searchable database of Usenet news postings formerly available at Deja.com, is now linked from Google's home page.

JoeAnt.com is a new, volunteer-run directory of Web sites. Rising phoenix-like from the ashes of the old Go Guides directory, JoeAnt is a completely new database. With the demise of the Go Guide directory, some of the Guides wanted to continue building a directory and working together. So they decided to start this new directory. Since they could not retrieve any of their old work from the defunct Go Guides Directory, they started from scratch. While the directory is rather small at this point, it is growing. It also uses logos for site features such as audio, shopping, chat, games, video, downloads, and membership required.

Northern Light has announced a partnership with Search4Science to launch an enhanced online search service for scientists. The partnership combines Northern Light's Custom Search Folder technology and Search4Science's Dynamic Search, which encourages users to add more query words by showing synonyms and other words to further refine a search. The current Search4Science Dynamic Search uses Northern Light, but the direct search still retrieves results from Google.

Teoma, currently in beta at www.teoma.com, offers both a new Web-wide search engine database and a new approach. It has only limited search features at this point, including phrase searching, a default AND, and a - for NOT, but it also features on the right-hand side of its display what it calls Experts' Links, which are metasite pages that list many other links. It also uses an automated process to create topical folders. [Editor's note: Mary Ellen Bates reviews Teoma in her ONLINE SPOTLIGHT column on p. 96.]

Wisenut, at www.wisenut.com, is another new search engine and claims a database of more than 1.4 billion records. It has WiseGuide automated categories that are designed to help narrow a very broad search. It has no documentation yet and relatively limited search features. It defaults to AND and supports phrase searching. It also has customization options including site clustering, up to 100 results displayed, and languages.

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

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

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