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Objectively Comparing Competing Search Engines?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the oogling-others-against-google dept.

Google 405

aendeuryu asks: "My default search engine of choice is, like most of you I assume, Google. That said, some complaints about Google over the years do seem to have some merit -- basically, that sometimes the indices aren't always updated, that it's too easy to manipulate via googlebombing or legislation, and that maybe too many of its featured services never get out of beta stage. Maybe the fact that Google has gone so long without significant competition is enough to make one at least begin to ask questions about it possibly becoming stagnant. Personally, I'm so used to doing things the Google way (and achieving acceptable results quickly) that I'm not really interested in switching -- case in point, all the above links referenced were quickly found via Google. However, what am I missing out on by not giving (for example) Yahoo search a shot? Or, more to the point, how would one go about trying to effectively and objectively compare competing search engines? In what areas have people found Google to have become obsolete for their purposes? Have less ignorant people than myself figured out ways to test a competing search engine's efficacy for themselves?"

cancel ×

405 comments

Dont bother (5, Insightful)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082344)

If you know how to use google to achieve your results, whats the issue? If a better search comes along, im sure it will be posted on slashdot (twice), so you dont need to worry about missing out.

Re:Dont bother (1)

Olix (812847) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082420)

I agree. It is depressing to note that Google is the only real search engine that produces constant results. I can remember when searching for a page on the internet was like searching for a fish in the ocean...

while it still may take some time to get results, Google is simply the most effective search engine around. That doesn't mean I have to stop believing in conspiricy theroys, though.

Re:Dont bother (1)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082494)

conspiracy theories make life more fun! In my expirence, ive been able to find anything im looking for on google (even with the google bombing pages, just need to find some keywords in those pages not relevant to your search and remove them from your query). Google search gets me by, and their new features just keep kicking serious amounts of ass. but im no fan boy. i swear.

Re:Dont bother (5, Funny)

oni (41625) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082556)

I can remember when searching for a page on the internet was like searching for a fish in the ocean

heh, I remember when we had to prepare our gopher searches on punch cards and wait days for machine time to run them, only to find that the research paper we thought we'd found was actually ascii porn with little popup jcl terminal windows selling "CHEEP A5PRIN" (because nobody had invented viagra!). And once you're name got out there, your bitnet account would be so full of spam that you wouldn't even want to use your wyse terminal! But you know what? We were thankful for the opportunity to be on the Internet.

you kids today...

Re:Dont bother (1)

Olix (812847) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082647)

Hey - don't think you guys who've been on computers for 25 years have the monopoly on Asciipr0n - I have been known to browse the archives ocne in a while... http://www.asciipr0n.com/pr0n/pinups/pinup11.txt [asciipr0n.com]

Re:Dont bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082670)

wyse terminals? You lucky bastard. We had ADM3As with screen burn and we liked it.

Yahoo it? a9 it? MSN it? #^@% it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082565)

I think the only reasonable criterea for judging a search engine is how well its name works as a substitue for the verb "search". I think you're simply going to have to continue to google it.

Re:Dont bother (3, Informative)

TyfStar (747185) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082675)

I will agree that 99% of the time, google is perfect for what I need. Stick a few words together, add an extra one, and VOILA, you have what you're looking for.

The times that I have had problems is when I am not exactly sure what I am looking for in a few quick words. I can put it together in a question, such as "What is my house in Utah worth?" or "Why are flamingos pink?".

in those cases, I usually do ask.com That will get me going on a few pages, at which point I will know more clearly what I'm looking for (Utah "Real Estate") and can google from there on out.

Re:Dont bother - why? Parallel to OS Wars (5, Insightful)

drhamad (868567) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082698)

I know how to use Windows to achieve the necessary results better than the Mac or Linux. Does that means I should never try to use the Mac or Linux? Does that mean that I won't achieve better results if I learn to properly use the Mac or Linux?

dogpile.com (5, Informative)

Bad-JuJu-Man (837063) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082353)

personally I prefer dogpile. I like the organization of results much better.

Alternates (5, Informative)

hambonewilkins (739531) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082354)

Here's my own experience.

Yahoo search is okay, not as nice as google, but a good second.

Alltheweb.com has found things google hasn't, but in general I rarely use it.

I rarely use MSN because it was awful all the times I tried it. Same for Altavista.

In general, if I'm searching for something I'll use google first and then Yahoo and Alltheweb to catch anything that google may have missed.

Re:Alternates (2, Interesting)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082475)

If Google doesn't find it, then it's not worth looking at...

I know that's not true, but generally if what I'm looking for isn't in the first two or three results pages of Google, then I give up.

This has only happened to me a few times (not finding what I want with Google), however it does bring up an interesting point. I trust Google results so much, is it possible that all the search results can be misleading or wrong information?

Re:Alternates (3, Informative)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082528)

" Here's my own experience."

Here is my alternative. It is called Copernic Agent [copernic.com] . It is a desktop application that searches multiple search engines returns the results sorted by relevance. It will then let you further refine your search by searcheing aginst the actual pages in the result list. There is a free version that is crippleware. I bought the personal version and it was my favorite tool for searching job sites when I was unemployed.

Bizarre MSN search results (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082660)

I was looking through my website's logs and noticed a ton of MSN bot hits. Then I noticed one coming from their search page. The search term was "UTC+flash" and my site was listed third in the search results.

My site has nothing to do with UTC or Flash. Turns out, it indexed my lame little archive page that displays article dates in UTC format. One of the article titles was something like "Flash Storm," so it indexed the "UTC" portion of the previous article's date and the word "Flash" that began the next article's headline below it.

It was cool that I got a free hit for it, but my site was hardly a relevant search result for that query.

I use Google for almost everything (2, Informative)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082360)

...but I have to admit the AltaVista search engine for pictures is pretty nice. I use that when I want to search for pictures of a particular size for wallpaper.

Re:Searching for Pictures... (1)

Uptown Joe (819388) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082387)

SafeSearch is off... excellent for that random naked celeb sighting!

Re:I use Google for almost everything (2, Insightful)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082469)

Try deviantart.com for wallpapers. I can spend hours just clicking along these art-galleries.

Re:I use Google for almost everything (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082628)

The only problem with Deviantart for me has always been that it's painfully slow, from whatever connection I use (home on Cable, work on a pair of OC3's, friends house, etc.) Maybe some times of the day it's better, and I always hit a slow time. Who knows.

But the site is very cool and there's some great stuff on there making the wait worth it.

Try them out yourself (0, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082366)

You lazy fuckstick.

Go to google, try it, go to msn, try it, go to yahoo, try it, go to teoma, try it, go to Ask Jeeves, try it.

It's called DOING YOUR OWN FUCKING WORK, and it's the latest craze outside of the US.

Re:Try them out yourself (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082434)

it may be flmaebait but the parent has a point. This is a dumb question.

Re:Try them out yourself (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082435)

Yeah! In fact, people shouldn't go to school, either. They should go out into the real world and find out everything for themselves, like how to read and write. Never give anyone advice, and if someone ever asks for advice, you should punch them in the face. Information should never be shared between people. Ever.

Re:Try them out yourself (1)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082676)

Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Follow your own rule (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082663)

Looks like you are the lazy one. Don't go to Yahoo. Go to the source. Don't search on "tibet": only lazy idiots do that. You have go to Tibet yourself and find out. Do your own work, right?

Questions (0, Offtopic)

Webtommy88 (515386) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082368)

Personally I would like to see an edition of google to allows for questions, similar to an ask jeeves.

Re:Questions (2, Informative)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082417)

It will cost ya.

Google Answers [google.com]

Re:Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082440)

You mean like Google Answers? [google.com]

Re:Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082513)

A search tip from a professional search guy.

Learn how to search. If you can ask a question, then you already know what you are looking for. Start by removing the "What is" "How does" and "When did". What is left is your search.

Remember, a stupid question is just as bad as a stupid search, neither work.

Re:Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082652)

Personally I would like an option to exclude blogs from my search. Most blogs are easily identifiable as such.

Recently a good percentage of the pages that show up when I search on Google are blogs and it drives me f'ing nuts.

I quite like Google. (2, Informative)

Morlark (814687) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082375)

Now sure enough Google has its faults, but I do still use it as my primary search engine. I do dislike Google never-ending cookies, so I've blocked them, and my Google bookmark contains all my preferences. I've not really noticed any problems with Googles indices not being updates (except in the silly image search, and I don't really use that for any serious purposes). Having said that, I also do find Yahoo to be a very acceptable alternative. I should probably try it out more so as to see how they compare in greater detail.

Re:I quite like Google. (1)

nkh (750837) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082492)

I hate Google: I don't want Google's never-ending cookie so every time I try to search something, Google redirects me to a completely random local version (fr/dk/se/de/...) when I just ask for google.com! The second problem is that this random page shows me results in the local language with a higher priority than the english (standard) pages.

I haven't found a good alternative to Google though...

Re:I quite like Google. (3, Informative)

neil.pearce (53830) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082708)

if you visit Google's No Country Redirect [google.com] page, it'll set a cookie to stop you being redirected to your national page when visiting google.com
Not sure why you end up at different fr/dk/... domains though

Subjective (4, Insightful)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082377)

I think you have said it already, Google is good for returning acceptable results quickly, but acceptability is something very subjective.

Even by comparing keyword search side by side, one can still consider a worse result better, but who's to judge except the user?

I kept using Yahoo until it's not giving me results that I think are good enough, then I switched to Google, and I'll keep using Google until it's not returning good enough result.

Appalling (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082378)

Hello.

I have been browsing your internet site for several hours and am generally impressed with your coverage of IT related issues. However, when I saw an article on Google I just had to voice my opinion. I would just like to say how increadibly appalled I am with the Google internet search engine. My main concern with Google is how easy it makes for malicious people to find information on the now illegal Bittorent computer software.

Some background information on Bittorent and what makes it so dangerous:
1. The Bittorent computer software allows distribution copyrighted material.

2. In doing so it inadvertently causes excessive use of bandwidth. Now you might say that this is fairly harmless, but is it really? The effects of electromagnetic radiation pollution caused by this cannot be underestimated. Just think of the millions of wired and wireless connections lighting up and emmiting those deadly electromagnetic rays and all the innocent men, women and children being exposed to them.

Every bittorent user has blood on his (or hers) hands. From this point on, I am boycotting Google and advise any person with a shred of decency to do so too.

Re:Appalling (2, Insightful)

adjwilli (530933) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082458)

Every bittorent user has blood on his (or hers) hands.
Is this person serious?

Re:Appalling (5, Funny)

PoPRawkZ (694140) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082613)

Err... that isn't blood. Time to get out the medical dictionary and learn to distinguish different bodily proteins.

Re:Appalling (1)

pablonhd (797579) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082633)

"This message brought to you by the RIAA and MPAA"

Too funny.

How is it Google's fault for being to accurate? Should they omit blocks of the internet because it may be objectionable?

Can we say censorship?

Don't blame the messenger.

Just stick with what works. (5, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082379)

Personally, I'm so used to doing things the Google way (and achieving acceptable results quickly) that I'm not really interested in switching -- case in point, all the above links referenced were quickly found via Google. However, what am I missing out on by not giving (for example) Yahoo search a shot?

I ask my wife the same thing. Honey, I'm used to doing things your way.. and I always get acceptable results from you.. but what am I missing out on by not giving (for example) Veronica a shot?

At least Google will never make you sleep on the couch, or give them half of all your assets. Hopefully.

I tried others...but I never changed my home page (5, Interesting)

nsasch (827844) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082380)

I open my browser, and see the Google page up and running. I started with Yahoo, I tried meta search engines, altavista, a9, and many others, but I never change my home page to be the other ones. I know Google, I know how to use the results and to view pages all in HTML and to get the cache and to search sites that link to me, or search a specific site. It's easy in the other sites, but I already figured Google out. Google works for me, when I find the wrong thing, I just add "-wrongword" to the end and I find what I need. I see all the blogs and misindexed pages, but I've never really suffered from Google Bombing or any of the other problems that are mentioned.

Sarcastic answer (2, Funny)

hambonewilkins (739531) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082384)

Go to google and type in "better search engines"

Re:Sarcastic answer (5, Funny)

ZP-Blight (827688) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082478)

I followed your logic, searched for this term and google brought up this article! Now i'm trapped in an endless loop, help!

Re:Sarcastic answer (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082568)

..and pay particular attention to who paid for the ad on the right side of the results, they're clearly the best

Re:Sarcastic answer (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082607)

Ewwwww, I did that and clicked on "Web Searching Tips" [searchenginewatch.com/facts/], now I feel so dirty and I just know that I caught anything.

One of the great things about search... (1, Informative)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082385)

is that if you can't find what you're looking for with one engine, try another. I don't see what's so hard about that. Any synthetic benchmark will be just that. It's not like you have to change your voter registration to another party in order to vote in a primary -- you put in another URL!

To help you out, I'll even get you started with a few clickable links...

Yahoo Search [yahoo.com]
MSN Search [msn.com]
Ask Jeeves [ask.com]

Hope that helps. Good luck.

Try this.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082389)

This should give you an answer [justfuckinggoogleit.com]

Re:Try this.. (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082544)

which tells us that Lycos and Altavista are better search engines than Google?

NSFW (NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!!) (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082578)

My favorite is http://www.booble.com/ [booble.com] .

Yum... Flash Animation.

What I use (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082392)

If I am looking for adverts, or to buy something, I will use Yahoo. It's classified ads sections are much better than anything Google can offer.

If I am looking to buy something offline, I use yell.com.

If I am looking for software, I use something like freshmeat or one of the rpm search facilities.

Otherwise, I use Google.

Try Yahoo (2, Interesting)

AndreySeven (840823) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082395)

When I am not getting satisfactory results using Google(about 30% of the time), I try Yahoo, and I usually find what I am looking for. If this keeps up, I might start my searches using Yahoo.

teh g00g (1)

bridgey655 (800826) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082399)

I started using google because of one thing: it was fast. All the other engines I tried back in my days were so frustratingly slow and google paved the way for quick results. Now we dont say im going to 'search for $whatever', it's the norm to exclaim that you're going to google $whatever other search engines are too full of shit for my liking. I look forward to that friendly minimalistic google search form.

Why not just call this googleshrine.com (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082402)

Googleshrine.com
News for nerds, Google is all that matters!!

Every two seconds there is some post about google.

Late breaking news - google employee breathes air.

Isn't there anything else in the tech world to talk about, is google so important.

Re:Why not just call this googleshrine.com (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082632)

Thank you for mentioning it; yes class, google is a good alternative search engine too.

Precision and Recall (4, Informative)

xyzzy (10685) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082403)

Unfortunately, comparing search engines is a nearly impossible task, since they probably aren't indexing the same data.

When you measure a search technology, the values you typically look for are precision and recall. precision says "of the X results you gave me, how many of them are relevant". recall says "in the world, there were Y possible pages you could have found, but you gave me X of them".

you can't measure recall for a public search engine, but you can measure precision. Take a set of sample queries, and some users. Have them perform the queries, and go through the first ~100 pages and give them a "thumbs up" (relevant) or "thumbs down" (not relevant).

Your overall score will measure precision: if at N=100, all 100 were relevant, that's 1.0. if only 50 were judged relevant, precision is 0.5.

You can estimate recall by judging say 1,000 documents (phew). Then sample precision at N=10, 100, 500, etc, assuming that is an "exhaustive" list of documents in the world.

A simple way to test recall (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082659)

If your name is somewhat rare, search on your name in the search engine.

Metacrawler.com (2, Interesting)

cthrall (19889) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082404)

Try a metasearch [metacrawler.com] and let the server figure it out.

Re:Metacrawler.com (2, Interesting)

cmclean (230069) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082551)

Try a metasearch and let the server figure it out.

So I hit up metacrawler.com for "sendmail tips". Just for the heck of it.

Result #4: Tips on EBay, Find Tip items at low prices.
Result #5: ServSafe Alcohol (R) Training Program, Comprehensive interactive training for those who serve alcohol.

Erm, what the hell? Leaving aside the fact that these are sponsored links thinly disguised as real results, they seem to lack relevance somewhat.

question (1)

jotux (660112) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082407)

there are search engines other than google?....interesting

What is the point of this article again? (1)

roror (767312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082413)

is the summary this?

Google might be getting complacent. Why not try something else ?

Umm.. why not .. indeed. Try and compare. let us know the results. Until then .. slashdot frontpage? I am confused.

other search engines (1)

genner (694963) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082414)

If you wanted to test them oen way would be to do a identical search on severl search engines and then compare the totla number of relavant matches you get from each. This would be a effective if time consuming method. The only other search engine I've seen that comes close to google is alltheweb.com which is most notable for being a smaller clone of google.

Googledot (1)

Kimos (859729) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082415)

Funny that an article about an objective comparison of search engines has the Google logo...

Teoma (5, Interesting)

xzap (453197) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082427)

Teoma has this great feature called Related search which is very useful. Basically if you look for a particular topic, the search engine identifies all related topics and offers you a one click access to all of them. Makes the search equally usable for both a rookie and a domain expert using the same search term.

Presentation (4, Interesting)

dwcasey (579461) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082429)

One thing I like about askjeeves and a9.com is the way the present the search results. I think the next step is to improve on the presentation of the results (data) to make it more usable/accessable. Hit up askjeeves and run a search. The preview feature is pretty nice. And check out a9.com searches with their Site Info mouse-over.

I hate to say it, but... (3, Insightful)

Raindance (680694) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082443)

I hate to say it, but I think your quest to directly compare search engines "objectively" is pretty problematic.

Frankly, I think you're on the right track when you ask, "What am I missing out on by not giving Yahoo search a shot?"

Likewise, I think you're on the wrong track when you go on, "Or, more to the point, how would one go about trying to effectively and objectively compare competing search engines?"

Comparing the results of searches is necessarily subjective. Only that first question has a real answer.
RD

Search Engine Watch (2, Informative)

br0ck (237309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082465)

These types of issues are discussed ad infinitum at SEW [searchenginewatch.com] .. particularly in the forums.

Any algorithm can be gamed (2, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082471)

This is the dilemma for any centralized algorithm, as soon as you are number one you are exploited, thus relatively increasing the utility of as-of-yet unexploited competitors.

Soviet Russia (-1, Offtopic)

avandesande (143899) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082481)

In Communist Soviet Russia, Google searches You!

Google (1)

hardcorebuttsecks (871562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082496)

Google did a good detailed (though biased) comparison. link: http://www.google.com/u%72%6c%3f%71%3d%68%74tp:%2f %2fl%65mo%6ep%61r%74y.%6f%72g%26.html

Here's a nice comparison (5, Interesting)

Zordok (90071) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082498)

I got this from a friend who works at yahoo...

http://www.langreiter.com/exec/yahoo-vs-google.htm l [langreiter.com]
Sorry if it gets slashdotted.

Re:Here's a nice comparison (1)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082706)

What an interesting tool.

search engine test (1)

woodsrunner (746751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082500)

I have posted here before a test I conducted when MSN rolled out their new search engine.

I was working on an MS Access project and had a lot of questions. I figured if any one would have the answers it would be MSN.

They didn't.

I went to Google, not much more help -- too much experts exchange links.

I also tried the same searches on Yahoo and they were head and shoulders above the other two.

Objectively? Google? Slashdot? (1)

Morris Thorpe (762715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082507)

Google? Slashdot? Objectively? You're new here, no?

Listen to the Buzz (2, Interesting)

femto (459605) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082537)

You don't have to bother evaluating better web based technologies. When they are worth using others will tell you about them. It's the nature of the web.

For example, a professor of the university department in which I worked came back from Digital Research Labs, enthusing about a great new search algorithm the designers of Digital's Computer Aided Design software had come up with. A short time later Altavista was 'it'.

The same happened a few years later. The buzz from collegues and those on the web was about a new search engine called Google.

The short answer is, "Don't go looking for the 'next search engine'. It will find you."

Wikipedia (3, Insightful)

chiapetofborg (726868) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082547)

I love wikipedia. I basically use it as my default search. Unless I think that the question I have is non encyclopedic. acronymfinder for acronyms, babelfish for translations, imdb for movies, and well, for everything else I use google. It has integrated everything else I need. Yes it is subjectable to googlebombing and similar ilk (I should know, I work for a SEO company), but its *way* easier to "hack" Yahoo, MSN, Altavista and others. Googleboming is much harder (and therefore more reliable) than the others.

Google is not Microsoft, and therefore is good. (1, Insightful)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082549)

Yes, it's really that simple. We need a few big, strong, non-Microsoft companies out there keeping Microsoft from becoming even more all-encompassing. It is good to back non-Microsoft technologies whenever we can. It's best to back totally open technologies, but non-evil corporations like Google are a good second choice.

Remember this -- never forget this -- once Microsoft takes monopo-ownership of something, it's nearly impossible for anyone to take it away from them. Google's strong lead in search (and increasingly in other Internet services as well) helps to keep things at least a little balanced. Imagine a future in which Microsoft owns search and webmail as well? Sooner or later everything would be IE-only, and eventually Windows-only, and Microsoft will have completed its goal of effectively taking ownership of the Internet.

A good policy to go with is to simply always go with the strongest non-Microsoft choice available when choosing any product or service.

Punctuation (4, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082552)

If in the process of comparison you find a search engine that can actually handle punctuation please let me know. Altavista used to be able to do it, but sometime in the last few years in the process of "competing" with google they dropped the feature.

I _used_ to go to altavista everytime i had a search that involved specific punctuation, usually some kind of coding question. Now i just get frustrated with google while trying to find some related term i can add in that will give me the results i want.

Problem is page rank (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082554)

I've given a lot of thought to this because Google has recently not given me the results I wanted. Yahoo has. I think a lot of it has to do with Page Ranking.

Page ranking has been called the democratic way of building an index. However, it's more like thinking that because Terri Schiavo is all they talk about on the news, it's the most relevant news topic to you. The truth of the matter is, # of links != relevance in all cases. Most Slashdotters must have a lot of experience with this when searching for obscure coding problems.

Yahoo now excels at answering those while Google does not. MSN has room to improve, and they must be trying, considering their robot crawls my sites about 10 times a day.

Clusty.com (1)

flergum (755926) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082560)

I use Clusty.com for most searches, and google when the clustering does not give me what i need.

Stick with what works = mooooooo (1)

wyldwyrm (693798) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082561)

Or perhaps Baaaaaahhhhhhh. In short, try it all. I remember the days when AltaVista was THE search engine to use, now I think about it in rare cases. Admittedly, there's always something "bigger and better" out there, so try out the bigger and better to see if it really is. After all, this is technology we're talking about. Or did I stumble into the Redneck 4x4 web site again? I need another beer....

Beta (1)

pablonhd (797579) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082571)

I don't mind items being left in beta for long periods of time. What I would mind is a product being fully released with many unfixed bugs as in the case with some other familiar companies.

Every once in a while I do venture to other search engines and I am quickly turned off by clutter such as in Yahoo's case or a case of déjà vu as in the case of the MSN search.

Bottom line is despite the a appearance of "beta" in a logo in some products or availability of viable competitors I will switch for the same reason I originally went to Google, when I find something that is sets a new benchmark in my online experience. I don't need more of the same.

Google Is Good Enough For Most (1)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082576)

While most of the complaints about Google are warranted, Google works well enough even for those of us in the computer industry. If 99% of the time I find what I'm looking for in the first page of links, and the results are returned quickly enough, why would I go elsewhere?

Yahoo and Altavista worked ok for me before Google came along, but the clean interface and good results drew me in. So, the only thing that would convince me to switch to a different search engine would be if Google started cluttering up their pages (a la Yahoo) or the results became unusable.

If I'm looking for specific information that Google might not happen to have, I will check alltheweb.com, but that's a pretty rare occurance.

Finally, I don't see why people complain about Google's features being beta. They're still completely usable, and if you run across a shortcoming that really bothers you, there's plenty of alternatives for that service.

searching for $$$ (1)

jnull (639971) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082581)

Indexing the www at the rate it grows is a tremendous task, and Google, through innovative technology and marketing, has brought a more productive Internet to most of the world. It is difficult to see it being done better, but, as recent articles pointed out, it is not difficult to manipulate those search results. The business of search ratings is large and growing. Customers of ISPs get large numbers of IP addresses from different blocks just so they can take advantage of its link score and sell this rating to customers, regardless of revence.

Do I use Google? F@#k, it's my homepage, but I long for the notion of "just great searching technology." Information warehouses like citeseer.com are fantastic. Let Google take the mainstream for quick fixes for the immediate gratification generation, but when you need truly credible sources and information you're staking your career, health, or financial well-being on DON'T let it rest solely in the hands of Larry and Sergey.

Why Google works (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082587)

OK, here it, why Google has become king.
  1. Simple interface, quickly loads.
  2. No graphical Ads
  3. Paid results are clearly ads and seperated from real results.
That's it, that's why Google is king. Until Yahoo, MSN search, Ask Jeeves and the like get those three points, they will continue to be second fiddle.

One way to test (4, Insightful)

mcguyver (589810) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082593)

I usually test search engines by typing in popular keywords that spammers generally go after, ex:

phentermine
home loans
poker
mesothelioma
viagra
miserable failure

Then look at the sites that rank at the top. It's very easy to tell which search engines are more succeptible to manipulation. A quick look at the backlinks for sites favorably ranking in those competitive keywords tells you how that SE is doing.

Here's my opinion on the race between Google, Yahoo & MSN. Google has more sites that are authorities in the top results and Google penalizes over optimization however extreme examples of over optimization continue to show up in Google. Yahoo is a moderate success and does a fair job of filtering out spammy sites as well as authorities like wikipedia - wikipedia will always rise to the top in G but not in Y - and this is good for Y because you get more variety. MSN does an average job of filtering out blog spam but new sites are too favorably ranked and this is because MSN is new and has no recorded history of URLs. My personal preference is to use G simply because it loads the fastest in my browser... Maybe it's also worth pointing out that my company has several URLs ranked favorably in the terms listed above - looking at the change in rankings over time certainly helps give insight into which SE is better. MSN & Y are by far easier to manipulate than G but G gives the most traffic.

search.yahoo.com (4, Informative)

popo (107611) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082606)

Many people don't realize that Yahoo! has a scaled down (Google like) search interface which is actually pretty sweet: http://search.yahoo.com

Lately my Google results have been so Google bombed that I've been going back and forth between the two. I can't say for sure yet, but I may be in the middle of a bit of a personal transition.

Depending on what you're searching for, Google is often so front-loaded with dead-end advertiser links that its results aren't really worth much. Although it has to be said, it depends what type of a search user you are, and what types of things you're looking for.

Google is still the king of advanced search.

Re:search.yahoo.com (1)

pablonhd (797579) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082694)

That i did not know.

Thanks

Experience from listing a web site (1)

rescendent (870007) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082615)

In the old days (that's a small number of months these days) the Googlebot would hit you and index you as soon as you set up a site and it was good, unless you weren't ready for it. Recently I've set up a new site for a client and Yahoo was first off the blocks, then MSN, Google came along a struggling third a week later. Shockingly MSN pulls my Slashdot comments _the_same_day_ I write them! Let alone any of my sites! Google get them much later. Google is king of content, but its quickly loosing its lead in recentcy. If it lists a news article a week after it was new, that's not news... I fear Google may be loosing out due to the size of data it has, an for that I lament for Google was and is the best, and the cleanest, but if it can't keep it data fresh as the other engines it will surely loose users?

Re:Experience from listing a web site (1)

rescendent (870007) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082661)

Whoa! I really have to use the preview button, my comment reads like English isn't my first language!

Well it's not, C++ is with c# being my second. English a close third...

Argh Google problems! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082618)

What I hate is googling for something and:

1. getting 5000 hits that are all crap websites linking to Amazon.com's page for the item

2. Getting 2500 hits that have NOTHING to do with my search term. The term isn't even on the page. These must be those re-direct things talked about on Slashdot earlier.

3. Getting 2 hits of interest by ploughing (yes Yanks, that's spelled properly) through 14 pages of crap. This is what search used to be like before Google Original came in.

One hint I have to share is instead of searching "foo review" search for "foo problems" or "foo heavy" etc. or some other relevant critical (and thus less likely to be used in a shill site) term which tends to turn up real hits.

I still use Google by default but find more and more that I try other web searches like clusty or lycos to try and cut down on crap wading time.

The game 's afoot (1)

markpapadakis (115698) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082627)

Google may lead the way, may or may not provide the 'best' service ( whatever you consider best ) but it is not alone in the race.

You should check out every other player for they are all trying to offer something different or something more to differentiate or even outperform Google.

I suspect Google's best weapon is the power of habbit. Most people have switched to Google over the recent years and have learned to love it and really feel comfortable with it. This could be one of the many reasons Google is sticking to its simple interface; people are having a hard time getting familiar with something 'new'.

When Google entered the game, there was noone paying attention. Search was considered a somewhat dead service. It was easy for Google to get the king's crown. Things are way different now though. Yahoo!, MSN and the rest will have really hard time trying to catch up with Google - not that they are much worse or better than it is, for that matter.

Google submission problems (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082634)

The Google submission process is somewhat problematic, with their "who knows if we will ever index it" disclaimer. I have a page of decent scholarly value that I've submitted to the index a few times over the past year, and it never got listed.

Of course, every other search engine appears to be a lot worse, as they conform to the "in locked file cabinet behind door with sign Beware of Leopard" rule of accessibility. If you can even find one that does not demand money for listing.

It used to be pretty easy to submit stuff.

Re:Google submission problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082681)

> It used to be pretty easy to submit stuff.

It was until they all became dependent on ad revenue. Now, if you want to promote your site, you need to pay money. Internet search engines are the new TV networks.

Is there any difference depending on domain name? I would guess that they won't index any .com site that gets submitted because they'd rather make companies pay for it. But maybe they index .edu stuff the next day. Anyone have stats on that?

Well... (1, Redundant)

Stop Error (823742) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082644)

You could always Google for the comparison results.

Oh come on it's funny!

Legislation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082650)

I think the links are supposed to be "googlebombing" or "litigation", not "legislation".

But Google isn't funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12082656)

If you want a laugh, go to searchbastard.com [searchbastard.com] .

Real search results... sort of...

Vertical Search (1)

tobes (302057) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082662)

Google is great for finding web pages, but why limit your searches to such a broad domain? Vertical search seems to be where all of the innovation is occurring. My guess is in the future we'll have very specific search engines tightly integrated with their relevant platforms.

For example you could do your music searching on your iPod or stereo, your yellow pages searches on your mobile phone, your video searches on your pvr. Of course it makes sense to expose a web front end to these engines as well, but it seems to me that using the web browser as your information acquisition platform is somewhat limiting.

3 cheers for objectivity. (5, Funny)

GeorgeMcBay (106610) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082669)

Nothing screams objective like this article displaying the Google logo.

from an seo insider (1)

jaydonnell (648194) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082690)

I work in the seo industry and it's far easier to manipulate yahoo and msn than google. This translates into better search results which is why I still use google for my searching. Having said that, google's results have degraded over time as seo's have gotten better at manipulating google. Unfortunately we live in a world that revolves around marketing and I don't see that changing any time soon.

MSN's sandbox test searchpage (3, Informative)

standsolid (619377) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082695)

I personally think Microsoft's sandbox search engine front-end is pretty nifty.

Too bad the search results aren't nearly as up to par as google's results (in my opinion)

http://start.com/1 [start.com]

Just let it happen. (0, Offtopic)

Smiley8410 (175995) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082696)

I for one, welcome our new informational indexing masters.

Simple Method (4, Informative)

Salamander (33735) | more than 9 years ago | (#12082704)

I've stuck with Google for a while, but I used to do surveys pretty often. My approach was to start preparing a couple of days in advance, by keeping notes about things I was searching for. Then I'd take three or four of them, usually the ones that I'd had the most trouble refining, and try them out on a bunch of search engines. For each, I'd keep track of how many searches I had to do and how many junk pages I had to get through before I could get to something useful on that subject. It usually became clear pretty quickly which search engines were allowing me to make efficient use of my time and which were wasting my time.

Another thing you might want to do is check out some of the newer "clustering" or "concept map" search engines such as Vivisimo or Kartoo, to see whether they suit your searching style better. They're really quite different from the search engines we've gotten used to, so the metrics I just described don't quite work for them. That doesn't mean they're better or worse - just different.

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