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.
AlltheWeb has added a dictionary look-up. The search
words on a results page are hotlinked to definitions at
Dictionary.com. It has also added a "search spy" that
shows 10 recent queries. Click on an empty search screen
to see latest queries. AlltheWeb offers several shortcut
keys that can be turned on via the preferences for use
for quick access to the home page, switching to the multimedia
databases. A calculator function works directly from the
search box when entering numbers and mathematical symbols.
The AlltheWeb Conversion Calculator also works from the
search box by using a convert: prefix followed by any
common unit of measure.
Ask Jeeves has launched Ask Jeeves 5.0. Changes
include a new image database (from Picsearch) that is
available from the main page as well as from a radio
button after the search box. It is automatically invoked
when the query includes "pictures" or "images." Spelling
suggestions now appear at the top on some searches.
The main page and results pages have been streamlined.
Moving away from the tabs approach, Ask Jeeves has links
on the bottom of the main page to its image, news, and
products databases. In search results, search terms
are now highlighted in boldface.
Daypop has expanded to include 19,000 more blogs,
bringing its total to about 35,000 news sites, Weblogs,
and RSS feeds. Daypop also now offers Blogstats, a service
that shows a blog's Daypop score, number of citations,
rank, last time cached, and lists of similar blogs based
on link patterns. Daypop added support for a blogring
metatag. While Daypop searches some RSS feeds from news
sites and plans to add a choice for searching blog RSS
feeds, there is another search engine that focuses just
on RSS feeds from both news sites and blogs: Feedster.
Gigablast has been a one-person operation for
some time. Recently Gigablast has expanded to include
a chief management officer and a chief scientist. Hopefully,
this will lead to a larger and fresher database and
continued expansion of search features.
Google has purchased Applied Semantics (formerly
Oingo). While this purchase appears to be more related
to Google's role as an advertising agent, particularly
for its content-targeted advertising, there may be some
future impact on the search side as well. Google News
has expanded beyond the U.S. and now is available at
the international Google sites for Australia, Canada,
India, New Zealand, and the U.K. The other news sites
show different stories on its front page, but search
results are the same in each and still are limited to
English-language sources. Google News no longer supports
advanced syntax like cache: (to pull up a cached news
story) or site: (to limit to a specific publication).
For title searching, intitle: still works.
OpenFind, the search engine from Taiwan that
became available in summer 2002, is no longer available
with an English-language interface. The Chinese and
Taiwanese versions still work for Chinese searchers,
but the English-language version simply sports an "Under
Overture has completed the acquisition of the
Web search portion of FAST and AltaVista. So Overture
now owns both AlltheWeb and AltaVista. About 100 jobs
from the AltaVista side are being eliminated and a press
release includes the following quote: "Overture plans
to develop a common platform for its new Web search
product before the end of 2003 and will continue to
operate both AltaVista and FAST's search engines separately
until that time." Whether or not both will continue
to operate separately after that time remains to be
WiseNut is now promoting the use of Grub, a
project in distributed Web crawling, to help its crawling.
Grub distributes a screensaver that uses a computer's
spare clock cycles to do Web crawling. LookSmart, the
owner of WiseNut, bought Grub in January 2003 and started
promoting it in March.
Xrefer has announced that its free xrefer showcase,
which has provided searchable access to dozens of subject
dictionaries and other reference books, will no longer
be available after June 17, 2003.
Yahoo! now has direct access points for Yahoo!
as a portal, search engine, or directory. The portal
version is at the classic www.yahoo.com. The Yahoo!
search engine is directly available without the surrounding
portal content at search.yahoo.com. And if you want
to focus on just its directory, use dir.yahoo.com. Other
changes include streamlined results, new design and
colors, and more compact listing of directory categories.
Most results continue to come from a Google database,
but its new advanced search has more options and does
a better job of field search choices than Google's advanced
search. New Yahoo! shortcuts use prefixes for quick
access to frequently requested information like maps,
weather, definitions, news, and ZIP codes. The definitions
are available by typing define followed by the word,
as in define online. No colon is needed and the definition
is provided right at the top with a link to a more detailed
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.