Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Google's Test Search Engine 138

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-isn't-that-special dept.
Bengt noted Google's SearchMash which is a testbed search engine. Google spokesbot says: "The goal of Searchmash is to test innovative user interfaces in order to continually improve the overall search experience for our users. The experimental search engine looks very different from Google's Web sites and lacks Google branding. In this way, Google believes the site will yield more objective feedback from users."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google's Test Search Engine

Comments Filter:
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @10:28AM (#16813746) Homepage Journal
    I just tried it and gave a search "NASA shuttle" (on topic...) and it gives a page displaying search results, image results and wikipedia results.
    There is a small area asking for feedback:


    Were these results useful to you?
    Web Pages Yes / No
    Images Yes / No
    Wikipedia Yes / No


    Well, The page results were as expected so Yes, as was wikipedia (even though it was closed to start with) and the results for images would be useful if I could see them (they were at the bottom of the page and not visible at first, so I clicked no).

    How can I tell them that the images would be really good if they were somewhere else on the screen?
    If they want feedback, they should let people give feedback.
  • yes for wikipedia (Score:5, Informative)

    by cucucu (953756) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @10:29AM (#16813754)
    I used searchmash and voted for results for wikipedia. Some time ago I found the following firefox quick searches to be very useful: Do ./ers have good wikipedia quick searches to share?
  • "google censorship" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Sunday November 12, 2006 @10:29AM (#16813758) Journal
    Try searching for "google censorship" and it shows:

    Web Pages - about 190,000

    And relevent wikipedia articles

    I guess it works.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Andrei D (965217)
      What it's odd here is that the wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] is yielded twice: in the web pages section and in wikipedia. I think its common sense to display it only once.
    • Wouldn't it be censorship if they didn't show so many results?
    • by neoform (551705)
      I'm using google.ca .. i got "3,450,000" results for "google censorship"........
      • I'm using google.cn and I get 0 results for "google censorship"........

        Hmmm I wonder who could be knocking on my door at this time of night?
  • from the colors to the little "x" in the rounded edge search box, strikes me as very mac like. Very interesting considering the other cozying up Apple and Google have been doing lately...

    • by peragrin (659227)
      not really, it looks more like *nix window manager than OS X. If it was OS X the then buttons would be one color until you hover over them. It's also a standard feature of just about every gui.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      Not Maclike at all. The site is badly laid out and bland, very unpleasant to use. Yes, I did leave feedback.
    • by mgaiman (151782)
      If you're viewing the site in Safari it uses the search field (input type="search"), if you're viewing it in other browsers, the search bar degrades to a regular text field.
  • I'm a bit surprised that TFA has no mention of what must be the most controversial feature: integrated wikipedia. Does the foundation get anything from google for this?
    • by Digicrat (973598) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @11:13AM (#16814046)
      That's a very good question.

      I also wonder if Google, aside from this, has donated anything to the wikipedia foundation? Google does claim they support open products, and Wikipedia has been at the top of most regular search results for a while. That doesn't give them any obligation of course, but would be a good-will-promoting-and-tax-reducing-act towards a non-profit that complements Google's offerings.

      Of course the real controversy here should be that does including Wikipedia as a special-case in search results lead to a greater trust in the accuracy of Wikipedia's content? And is that trust merited?
      • Quite right. If wikipedia results are favored, or if this feature makes it in to a production version of the interface, it's sure to re-ignite the wikipedia accuracy debate.

        (Not that I have anything against wikipedia, btw. Well, not that much against it, anyway.)
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This shouldn't be controversial. This is the aim of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not based on commercial interest, but rather, collecting and synthesizing information to be used by whomever can make use of it. Google is using Wikipedia's information to help those who search.
    • by jlarocco (851450)

      How is that controversial? All the other search engines do it.

  • "How To Google Without An Ads"

    There's nothing really innovative about it, besides asking for feedback. It's what would have happened in A9 and Google had a baby.
  • Lets see, theres a box to type text, and you hit search, and you get some results. Next?

    How is this revolutionary?
    • by kurtis25 (909650) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @10:58AM (#16813930)
      It's the other things that are 'revolutionary'. 1. You can (or at least could at one point) rearrange the search results by dragging them up and down - Future application on influencing the ranking on sites. 2. Numbering of search results - not 'revolutionary' but useful i can tell you to search for nasa and see the 3rd result. 3. the options menu when you click on the green url. - I can imagine it will eventually include choices for mapping to address on site, site search (via coop) and so on. 4. start typing to search - fixes that issue with firefox where it tries to search and IE where sometimes goes up to the address bar and you end up searching using msn.com
      • by 4D6963 (933028)

        1. You can (or at least could at one point) rearrange the search results by dragging them up and down - Future application on influencing the ranking on sites.

        Or how to democratize Google-bombing by not having to set up a webpage to do that anymore, just make sure George Bush's official page is on top of your results when googling for 'miserable failure'.

      • by Dhalka226 (559740)

        1. You can (or at least could at one point) rearrange the search results by dragging them up and down - Future application on influencing the ranking on sites.

        Although it seems somewhat ripe for abuse, I wonder: Will Google use this to customize your search results (assuming you're logged on)? IE, if I search for porn (hey, it's slashdot right?!) and want my favorite porn sites up top, and drag them there... if I search again next week, might they appear at the top?

        That sort of thing might be useful, r

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It requires javascript for some reason. I think I prefer the original google interface.
  • Text browsers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dattaway (3088) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @10:43AM (#16813844) Homepage Journal
    It doesn't work in Links.
  • Very nice with the wikipedia links. I have been using googlepedia (https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/2517/ [mozilla.org]) but with something like this I could skip that all together.
  • This is OLD OLD OLD news. I think this was NEW news a month ago, or at the best a few weeks. SearchMash was up that long ago, I'm sure of it.
    • by TEMMiNK (699173)
      Yep, this should be slow-news-day department, TFA is from October 3, only 41 days ago. Still, I hadn't read about it so there you go.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by BigMike1020 (943654)
      You must be new here. Expect the mods at /. to post this same article at least 3 times, with the last one being 6 months from now.
  • Leechy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ostehaps (929761) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @10:56AM (#16813916)
    Nice. Just unfortunate that the results page looks uncannily like on of those domain leech default pages.
  • It looks pretty much like google.com but with a different brand and logo. Even the colours in the result page are the same....

    The one "new" thing are implicit image search in each search...and google was already doing that with some searchs

    So how is this a "testbed search engine"? And why the article writes "the experimental search engine looks very different from Google's Web sites", when from a first look it clearly isn't?
  • Horrible (Score:3, Informative)

    by springbox (853816) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @11:00AM (#16813958)
    This site requires JavaScript to be enabled to work. I don't usually complain about that, but every other search engine (including Google) that I've ever used works just fine without it enabled.
    • Re:Horrible (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12, 2006 @01:38PM (#16814962)
      You know, at some point, you're going to have to take off the tinfoil and enable Javascript if you want to take advantage of all the shiny new tubes.

      They are using it to do some nice stuff here, such as expanding a single page arbitrarily instead of generating the usual set of "" index buttons that obscures previous results when you navigate between pages. I like this UI a lot... no more trying to remember how many times I need to hit the Back button to return to a desired result.
      • Re:Horrible (Score:5, Interesting)

        by springbox (853816) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @05:05PM (#16816772)
        I don't have a problem with sites that use JavaScript to do neat things, but it's dangerous to rely so heavily on it. I have used "web 2.0" sites that did an all JavaScript search on a single page.. After doing a few searches, I wanted to go back through my search history but pressing the back button took me to a completely different site (the one I was viewing before it.) Things can get like that if designers get too comfortable with their neat interface and can break a lot of things. Like, bookmarking the current page always takes you back to the site's "home page." The same thing happens with sites that present themselves only using Flash. Those are a pain to navigate and return to.
    • by Reziac (43301) *
      I have the same complaint. You don't even get a naked search listing without javascript. Furthermore, the images part didn't work in Mozilla (v1.5).

      And it's much slower than regular Google.

    • Re:Horrible (Score:4, Insightful)

      by brogdon (65526) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @01:56PM (#16815096) Homepage
      "This site requires JavaScript to be enabled to work. I don't usually complain about that, but every other search engine (including Google) that I've ever used works just fine without it enabled."

      The site is essentially a test harness for working on new UI ideas and techniques. Why in the world should they slow themselves down by catering to people who don't want any of the 2.0 stuff the site is engineered to develop?

      What's next, you going to complain that it's not compatible with NCSA Mosaic? Just use the regular Google page, FFS.
    • Re:Horrible (Score:4, Informative)

      by TeknoHog (164938) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @06:30PM (#16817506) Homepage Journal

      My main problem with the JS there is that it breaks a pretty universal UI feature: scrolling the page with arrow keys. When the search field is visible, it takes focus no matter what, so you cannot scroll with arrows -- or even with PgUp/PgDn! You can try this neatly by scrolling to the very bottom; from there you can scroll up with the keyboard, but only until you see the search field. I came across a similar problem very recently on another site, and promptly complained.

      Some JS effects are actually quite useful, like Slashdot's new discussion system. [slashdot.org]. Such ideas can add to existing functionality without breaking the old, which is nice.

      I used to think scrollwheels on mice are useless gimmicks, since the arrow keys provide the same functionality. It seems the solution is to disable the oldskool way via software, so you can sell more mice. Or you can probably use the scrollbars on the side/bottom, if you prefer the extremely inconvenient way of life.

      • by snero3 (610114)

        My main problem with the JS there is that it breaks a pretty universal UI feature: scrolling the page with arrow keys. When the search field is visible, it takes focus no matter what, so you cannot scroll with arrows -- or even with PgUp/PgDn! You can try this neatly by scrolling to the very bottom; from there you can scroll up with the keyboard, but only until you see the search field. I came across a similar problem very recently on another site, and promptly complained.

        Sorry but i have to disagree wi

        • by TeknoHog (164938)
          This may be a Firefox bug, as it worked slightly better in Konqueror. Sideways scrolling was still affected though.
  • by MrShaggy (683273) <chris.anderson@nOsPam.hush.com> on Sunday November 12, 2006 @11:02AM (#16813980) Journal
    I found this out. It seems relatively hidden.

    Googles Web Help Center [google.com] There is a link at the bottom of the page, that will allow you to send them comments ala suggestion box style. I already suggested that being able to move the content around ala the google.com/ig site, would be nice, as well as a link or webform, that would let people truly feedback would be great.
  • ... a chance to be a beta guinea pig for Google again!

    To be fair, Google is not the only cuprit, just a high-visibility repeat offender. Time was, when companies paid people to be in focus groups and help them market-test new ideas.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by EMeta (860558)
      You argument would contain some relevance if not for the fact that many (if not most) of the beta projects are considerably ahead of competing aplications. When maps came out, for example, yahoo's & mapquest were sad little engines, that I was glad to get past. Certainly the gmail beta kick-started some decent webmail from others as well. Now I'm not saying that google's releasing stuff 'early' to help their competition, but certainly it helps end users immensely.

      And as far as paying testers? Wel

  • by Denial93 (773403) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @11:08AM (#16814024)
    Including Wikipedia makes sense. I now rely on Wikipedia way more than I rely on Google for my informational needs, because it isn't cluttered with pseudo-information that has no other purpose other than sell me something. To me, although perhaps not to Google, this is spam and it makes me not want to use Google. Of couse I can exclude pages involving "buy" or "customer service" from my results, but this is an inconvenience and I rarely bother to do so if (more often than not) I can find what I need on the wiki.

    And when I want to use Wikipedia, I do not need to go via Google. Google would make themselves useful in a more unique way if they offered optional filtering of sales sites. Let me see pages on Catholic Saints that don't involve "special price" candles with pictures of them, give me information on my car without hundreds of businesses offering to replace it. And when I do want to spend money on the web (which is way less often than the times I look for information), I'll tell you Google, thank you very much.
    • As a general comment that's very true, although searchmash.com does seem to produce better focused ("more correct") results than google.com does. I tried a few varied searches, and was quite impressed.

      I agree that google should concentrate on finding information rather than commercial sites, since that's what people use it for. They could have information/commerce buttons to flip between the two modes. Given that Google make their money from paid advertisements, you'd think it'd make it even more attractive
    • Including Wikipedia makes sense. I now rely on Wikipedia way more than I rely on Google for my informational needs, because it isn't cluttered with pseudo-information that has no other purpose other than sell me something.

      You are absolutely correct - Wikipedia is filled with virtually every kind of pseudo information except advertising.
    • by Nasarius (593729)
      Yes! This came up on /. a couple years ago, and I remember someone suggested a long string of keywords to NOT (-buy -price -sale, etc.) so you might actually find pages with information about a product.

      Unfortunately, this is a nontrivial problem to solve. If something like it happens, expect a whole new wave of "astroturf" where disguising product/store ads as serious reviews and criticism becomes very common. I don't know...the best you're going to get is Google Book Search [google.com] and Google Scholar [google.com], both of w
  • The image results should really be in a sidepane just below wikipedia results and wikipedia results that are shown on the side should be limited to 2 max. I searched for Katie Holmes and got [i]"Katie Holmes Peer Reviewed"[/i] lol. The images at the bottom dont make much of a sense to me. But I guess they have to keep the sidespace free for [i]"Sponsored Results".[/i]
  • by 3seas (184403) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @11:26AM (#16814108) Journal
    That's right, a contest or better yet a ul/dl your customized search engine interface to google engines?
    You know, like firefox has skins and other goodies the users create and share.
    So how about an easy to use skin development package to the google APIs?

    I like the idea of seeing samples of other searches, like images and groups though I might be doing a search on web.

    I know google is about advertising for their income so somehow thats gonna need to happen.
  • It requires javascript so it gets a thumbsdown from me. I have NoScript [noscript.net] installed so when I would search for something I got the home page over and over. No search results. No thanks.
    • by Reziac (43301) *
      Thanks for the link to the noscript tool -- exactly what I needed!!

      I use Prefbar and it has a js on/off tick, but being able to configure it by site is better :)

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So whitelist it, it's Google for fuck's sake. I can understand wanting to browse securely, but get with the times. Complaining that a site requires JS is about as bad as complaining that it won't work in lynx.
  • I like it. I know, javascript isn't everybody's favourite, but still, it really increases search speed and even though you can't bookmark page X of your search result, at least the results per se are bookmarkable (i.e. not loaded using javascript).

    There's also a firefox search plugin [googlepages.com], btw.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cockroach2 (117475)
      Oh, and as I'm currently forced to use dialup internet, the javascript updates are *considerably* faster than the good old reload-the-whole-page approach.
  • I don't get it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zaphod2016 (971897) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @11:38AM (#16814198) Homepage
    When searching for myself, Google [google.com] and Searchmash [searchmash.com] both show the same images; Searchmash simply moves them to the bottom of the screen where I can't see them.

    Images: yes / no / dumb location?

    Does Google *really* need user feedback to know this is a dumb layout? Why not move the pics to the empty area in the right margin? Oh, that's right- that's where the ads will go...
  • Other than the feedback on the RHS, how is this new and innovative?
  • by MrJynxx (902913) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @11:58AM (#16814316)
    Ok,

    Is this some kind of joke?

    I just typed in "hd-dvd" on that searchmash.com website. And at the bottom of the page was a guy sucking another guys dick. Don't believe me? Try it yourself.. that's not the type of thing I'd expect to be seeing on a Sunday morning.

    MrJynxx
  • Kind of cool that to get more results, it displays on the same page, and you keep scrolling down, instead of loading a new page.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by robaal (1019298)
      But only up to 100 results. I liked the MSN search beta more, where the results would be loaded automatically while you scrolled down; I don't think that one had a limit...
  • Mainly in that you can minimize different sections. Now if only it would let you drag those sections around to be in a better order for you instead of their current piece of junk organization. Perhaps that's coming. Who knows. It also is starting to feel cluttered. Perhaps they'll let you get rid of sections and create buttons in case you want to see those.
  • Search for "failure" still brings George W Bush on top...(http://www.searchmash.com/search/failure)

    So either searchmash's algorithm is still susceptible to the same Google bombing technique or Bush has actually failed.
  • Last time i was there you could reorder the search results to suit you... http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/tcmagazine/~3/38789 079/comments.php [feedburner.com]...look like that has been removed. Guess it didn't make it past the user responses.
  • by sunhou (238795) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @01:17PM (#16814844)
    I often use space bar to page down in my web browser. I like the way, if you hit space bar while already at the bottom of the page, it adds another 10 results to the list, so you can continue hitting space bar to keep looking at more matches. It works for both web search and image search. I hate having to reach for the mouse to get to the next page of results (or using the mouse in general -- it's too slow, compared to keyboarding).

    Maybe that's why it uses javascript, which others have been complaining about.
  • Dragging Results (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Siker (851331)
    For a while you could also rearrange the search results by drag and drop. Last month I wrote a little conspiracy theory [playingwithwire.com] about the true purpose of all this dragging. Seems like they removed that feature now though, so I guess that's a sign I was wrong. Or maybe they saw my blog and realized the secret was getting out and hid the feature... :)
  • Weird name. Anyway, I quite like it. It's streamlined, and most of the Ajax-y features are fast and useful. However, I don't like having the images on the bottom of the screen. Maybe the top or left side? It makes them hard to notice. Also, I don't like being limited to only 10 entries (my Google preferences are set to show 100 entries per search) as it increases the amount of clicks I have to make. I guess it makes sense at this point, though, because otherwise the images would be way too far down. The Wik
  • This doesn't work in Konqueror... the results flash up for a second then disappear. Oh well.
  • by macklin01 (760841) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @02:21PM (#16815326) Homepage

    Strangely enough, I had trouble searching for C++.

    For example, C++ jpeg gets turned into C jpeg, and returns a bunch of C code. If you search with quotes, "C++" jpeg, you get "C " jpeg. Search for "devc++", and you get "devc " and information on Devcon international.

    This doesn't make the search engine particularly useful for C++ coders. ;) -- Paul

  • by mTor (18585) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @05:04PM (#16816756)
    I discovered this by an accident... when you scroll to the end of the page, hit space bar and the next page of results will automatically open. Cool!
  • Trying to search using an HTML GET query (for instance by using the address http://www.searchmash.com/?query=foo [searchmash.com]) doesn't do anything.

    This means I can't add it as a keyword search in Firefox. :-(
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by JamesGecko (797637)
      That's because the more easy-to-use "http://www.searchmash.com/search/foo" works instead. I just changed keyword.URL in Firefox's about:config to http://www.searchmash.com/search/ [searchmash.com]

      Now, I can just type the search in the address bar, no prefixes, and it works great.

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin

Working...