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Searching For Google's Successor 282

weink writes "A new generation of scrappy search engines is emerging to challenge the dominance of mighty Google . An article at Wired News lists up-and-coming search engines, WiseNut , Teoma , Lasoo , CURE , and Vivisimo . Take a look, and give them a try. But I still say that nothing is better then the almighty Google ."
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Searching For Google's Successor

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  • Yesterday, I posted a reply telling about a Norwegian company (Fast [www.fast.no]), which have developed the search engine called AllTheWeb [alltheweb.com]. AllTheWeb seems superior to any other search engine on the net when it comes to the hardware being used, as they are using specially developed hardware for searching through huge amounts of text (and other media).

    digitoday.no [digitoday.no] (Norwegian only) today reported about further enhancements of the AllTheWeb search engine. I have tried to do my best in translating some of the article into English;

    - Fast will soon change to a new and improved crawler which will find three times as many web pages. That way, Fast will soon cover the whole Internet.
    ...
    Fast estimates that the web today consists of billions of page, but by removing duplicates and "garbage" the number will decrease dramatically. They estimate that their search engine will cover 1.8 billion web pages before christmas.
    ...
    One of the biggest improvements is the ability to index dynamic pages. Dynamic pages are web pages you can only access by pushing a button, choosing something from a menu, or filling out information in a form.
    ...

    The whole article (in Norwegian) can be read here [digitoday.no]. I'm not a translator, and my English is pretty bad, so you are warned. :-)
  • by bartle ( 447377 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @02:53PM (#2114774) Homepage

    The thing that has most impressed me about Google isn't its technology, but the restraint and good sense they've shown in the Internet community. While every other search engine has tried a go at the portal route, Google has focused on simply being a search engine. They've continued to add features that improve the user's experience at the same time other engines sell their results to the highest bidder.

    Some of the most annoying companies in existance came about because they pulled a massive version of bait and switch, they adopted a consumer friendly strategy for the short term but changed when they got big enough to destroy the competition. Google has done remarkably little despite their impressive potential marketing position. Companies like this is where our business should go, it is our power as consumers to make decisions like this.

    My point is that if/when something better than Google comes along, you should think twice before changing your homepage. When choosing a company, it's not just who provides the best product in the short term, you have to take into account long term as well.

    • Let's not forget the gorgeous simplicity. Remember Dejanews at its worst? The page took a full minute to load. IMDB is still like that. Even Slashdot has pretty heavy HTML.

      Meanwhile Google's pages are no more cluttered than absolutely necessary -- even the source is plain and simple.
      Yahoo sorta follows this philosophy, but not strongly enough.
  • wisenut? no thanks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by arielb ( 5604 )
    it doesn't have a cache (something that I use almost all the time) and also happens to run on Windows.
  • Candidate Roundup (Score:5, Informative)

    by seizer ( 16950 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:03PM (#2120024) Homepage
    Wisenut - seems to work as well as Google. I like it. Doesn't offer alternative spellings, though, and I can't ever spell Skylarov correctly first time :-) The results are harder to parse visually than Google.

    Teoma - needs to crawl a lot more before it becomes a viable alternative. Obviously it can find the easy stuff, but most people (I hope) don't use search engines to find the easy stuff. Results are easy to read, and categories meaningful and well placed. Phrase match is kinda cool, because you get to put back in your common words that Google disallows ("and", "the", etc).

    Lasoo - lousy spelling looks terrible, even if it was intentional. Aside from that, what makes this different to Mapquest.com plus a Yellow Pages? I know which I'd rather use.

    CURE - this search engine has reached its user limit so I'm not allowed to search. Boy, is that going to be popular :-) Hopefully, that's just a beta feature...

    Vivisimo - is a metasearch engine, whatever the FAQ begs you to believe. If you like em, then sure, but speaking personally, they are of no particular use to me.

    Google still rocks my world, with cacheing, fast fast oh so fast searching, and relevance that beats the crap out of everything ever. Rock on.
  • google still rules my world.

    Lasoo doesn't load

    Vivisimo plain sucks. Nasty interface. Long load times.

    Wisenut isn't bad, but it certainly isn't good.

    Teoma has promise, but the searches tend to take a long time on arcane subjects. No easily accessible advanced search functions.

    I won't even begin going into CURE. How dare they slander the 80s dark pop/goth/electronic group with an interface that cheesy. Nix the graphics and bring up the friggin' search box without the glitz.

    Thanks, but no thanks, guys.
  • by scott1853 ( 194884 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @04:05PM (#2120291)
    Recent results. Google only seems to be getting updated once every couple months. I know they must be pulling down a lot of data, but every other search engine seems to have more recent information that Google does. Anybody have any actual stats of googles refresh?
    • Most of my sites get spidered by Google monthly (or more often). It seems like it takes about 3 - 4 weeks for Google to get the new content into it's database. Here's an example of it on one of my pages that has the date, from Google's cache [google.com]. The date it was spidered is in the right hand news column.
  • I really like Google [google.com]. Their search engine is fast, and it covers a lot;
    • Cache: Means that we are able to visit a site after it's been slashdotted.
    • Relevance: Google's "relevance technology" is great. Find related sites, and find only pages related to your query. :-)
    • Not only web pages: Google doesn't only search for web pages, but also PDF files and images. More search engines should have had features like that.
    So what's bad about Google? AFAIK, nothing an ordinary user would know of. But their hardware is "wrong". Fast [www.fast.no] has developed a search engine called AllTheWeb [alltheweb.com]. Their search engine is the best seach engine after Google, but could easily (?) have been the best.

    Why? Well. They have developed special hardware to do their search. And it's damn fast (that's where they got the name, I guess). However, the software running on their hardware isn't as good as Google, and I really wonder why...

    My conclusion: The software Google is using should have run on AllTheWeb's hardware. That would have been one hell of a search engine.


    No I don't like it, either...
  • Not PC (Score:2, Funny)

    by pogofish ( 514289 )
    "Search Engine" is no longer politically correct. We prefer "Exploratory Native American."
  • by robbyjo ( 315601 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @02:54PM (#2123991) Homepage

    is Citeseer [nec.com]. It's popular among researchers since you can directly peek into papers...

  • Like Christmas, Independence Day, etc. So cool :).

  • by augustz ( 18082 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @02:42PM (#2130744) Homepage
    People forget that Google has not only managed to put together an excellent search engine, but to add value to it through some really great features (and no I do not mean altavista portal garbage and patent lawsuit value).

    Site slashdotted? Hit the cache

    Want to see a dmoz.org directory? See it page ranked.

    Doing science research? Find the answers in indexed PDF files.

    And the list goes on...

    Not to mention they do the right thing advertising wise, run on linux. Bring on the upstarts, but they'd better be prepared for a good bit of starting to knock down google.

    • Not to mention "similar" and "linked to" pages, the special images search (which is amazingly useful - I just searched for wingtip shoes (of all things) and came up with a whole page of pictures), and the usenet archives (which admittedly isn't back in shape yet).
    • Web Techniques [webtechniques.com] is running an interview [webtechniques.com] this month with Google's director of technology. It's short, but it does give a little bit of insight into how their engine works. Among other things, he says Google's long-term goal is to use native language as its default input method.
    • Not to mention that if IIRC, Google is the only search engine to turn a profit. They have managed to sell their search technology to many businesses world-wide and this has no doubt givn them feedback that they used to improve their search capability.
      As Google is actually making money off their operation, they are more likely to keep constantly improving their technology. I believe that this will help keep them in the forefront of the plethora of search engines out there.
  • by Ulwarth ( 458420 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:18PM (#2131471) Homepage
    ...because, for once, a company made their way to the top by simply _having a stellar product_. When I first began using it I was shocked by how many orders of magnatude better than any other search engine it was. But to my surprise, everyone else realized it too, to the point that Google now completely dominates the search engine industry.

    I do hope these other engines (many of which I've tried, and they ain't bad) offer up some competition, because a monopoly is bad even when the monolopy provider is so good. But in the meantime it's great to finally see a product suceeding so well based entirely upon its merit.
  • by Sludge ( 1234 ) <slashdot&tossed,org> on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:29PM (#2132039) Homepage
    Google is the center of the Internet for me. It's as important to me as Emacs (almost ...)

    Yesterday, I found a new feature that I enjoy. Try typing 'link:' into the Google search. It tells you all the sites that link to that site.

    I know if you own the site, you can check it out with an HTTP_REFERER, but that isn't always the case.

  • by zombieking ( 177383 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @02:52PM (#2132538)
    Just ask jeeves... [ask.com] Duh.
  • Anyone try http://www.alltheweb.com [alltheweb.com]??

    I do not know how it stacks up to google but I know that it is pretty darn fast.
  • When another company plucks away Wired's pride and joy [lycos.com], they advertise the competition.
  • Has any of these manages to solve the keyword problem yet? That is, if you can't think of the keyword that everyone else uses to describe the topic you are looking for, then you will have a very difficult time looking for that information.

    Even with Google, I find that my keywords don't always match what the indexed sites use. Often it takes three or four tries to get the right keywords that will get me useful information.

    Teoma sounds promising, since getting one site in a topic group can get you more in that topic group.
  • by Oestergaard ( 3005 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:12PM (#2137046) Homepage
    Would any of the new search engines be controlled by a different government ?

    Since the search-engines are becoming our pointers to information, they do have a lot of control over what information we see. I doesn't matter that some web-server in malaysia has a web page describing the complete meaning of life, the universe and everything, if it's not in the search engines.

    If all search engines are controlled by the same government (and yes oh yes, they are controlled) the web suddenly becomes biased.

    Try searching for "marlboro" on google. What would you expect ? The marlboro home-page ? Oh, no; we have the Marlboro College, poems, but no tobacco company home page. Coincidence? Well, a search for IRIX gives me the SGI home page, so I think the search engine works as designed - what do you think?
    • Try searching for "marlboro" on google. What would you expect ? The marlboro home-page ? Oh, no; we have the Marlboro College, poems, but no tobacco company home page. Coincidence?
      Well, let's see. Try Yahoo:
      11. Discount Marlboro Cigarettes

      Description:offers a variety of cigarette brands.
      Address:http://www.discount-marlboro-cigarettes. c om/
      Category:Business and Economy > Shopping and Services > Hobbies>Smoking

      23. Toilet Paper
      Description:Marlboro Man comes out of closet!
      Roy Rogers/Mr. Rogers same man!
      Address:http://www.thetp.com/
      Category:Entertainment > Humor > Parody>News
      Not much about Marlboro Cigarettes. I stopped looking after 100 hits, then noticed:
      • RelatedSearches: marlboro cigarettes, marlboro miles, marlboro miles catalog, marlboro gear, marlboro man
      I noticed lots and lots of things Marlboro that were named after one of the many places Marlboro. Didn't you see all of these places?

      Maybe you should have picked a different cigarette, say "Newport," "Salem," or "Raleigh?"

    • Try searching for "marlboro" on google. What would you expect ? The marlboro home-page ? Oh, no; we have the Marlboro College, poems, but no tobacco company home page. Coincidence?

      Considering that (a) Marlboro is not a tobacco company but a brand of cigarettes, (b) they do not appear to have an official website, NO I am not surprised by the Google results.

      Try searching for Marlboro at other search engines like Altavista and Yahoo, and you will get similar results.

      Now try searching for "Philip Morris," the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, and you will find they are the very first link -- just as expected.

      Conspiracy theories... how quaint.
      • Considering that (a) Marlboro is not a tobacco company but a brand of cigarettes, (b) they do not appear to have an official website, NO I am not surprised by the Google results.

        IRIX is a product of SGI. Entering IRIX gives me SGI. Entering Marlboro does not give me Phillip Morris.

        Now try searching for "Philip Morris," the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, and you will find they are the very first link -- just as expected.

        If they didn't do this - the plot would be too obvious. ;-)

        Conspiracy theories... how quaint.

        Thank you 8)
        • IRIX is a product of SGI. Entering IRIX gives me SGI. Entering Marlboro does not give me Phillip Morris.

          Contrary to popular belief, Google cannot predict what you expect to appear at the top. It can only present the most highly rated content. And how it decides that is well known -- it gives more weight to URL's that are linked from more places. And the more popular sites carry more weight in their linkage (presumably).
          • Ok, ok, ok

            So maybe I don't have hard evidence that google is indeed biased already.

            But my initial point stands - are the search engines independent? It's pretty much indisputable (hmm.. indisputable on /.?) that it could indeed be a problem to the credibility of the web if say 99% of the information being returned by search engines is returned from engines controlled by one government.

            Centralized control over information (or, pointers to information in this case) is a potential problem.

            Am I wrong ?

            So, how do we deal with this ? As a regular joe-user there's pretty darn little one can do to prevent this centralization from happening - or ?
            • But my initial point stands - are the search engines independent?

              Uhhh... WHICH search engines? There are many. Independent from WHAT? The government? Uhhh, yeah I would say there's a pretty good chance that the American search engines are not in cahoots with the government. Call it a hunch.

              it could indeed be a problem to the credibility of the web if say 99% of the information being returned by search engines is returned from engines controlled by one government.

              First, the "web" has no credibility, it is not a person or even a single entity like a company.

              Second, there would only be a problem if the dominant search engines were in countries without free speech rights. I'll go out on a limb and say the U.S. has one of the better standards of free speech in the world. The dominant search engines like Yahoo, Google, Altavista, etc. are all in the U.S. I don't see any problem with "credibility."

              Centralized control over information (or, pointers to information in this case) is a potential problem.

              Please explain how there is any centralized control over the search engines? They are all separate entities.

              Am I wrong ?

              About what? I can't figure out your argument.

              So, how do we deal with this ? As a regular joe-user there's pretty darn little one can do to prevent this centralization from happening - or ?

              It's pretty simple. The internet is enjoying a free-market economy. You use the search engines that give the best results. The search engine with most users wins. The search engine that returns illegitimate results, if there was such a search engine, would not be popular.

              These things can work themselves out in a free market.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:25PM (#2137813)
    Google does kickass, and I'm sure the guys that run it will continue to fine tune things so thaat it improves. But the truth is, we're already approaching the limit of what a search engine can do, and any gains will simply be the last 1/100 of that last percent.

    Should we stop trying? No, the need for relevant results hasn't been fulfilled, except in the most minimal ways. But we need to look for new answers. I think that to take this any further, it will mean going client-side. To make results more relevant requires too much cpu power, to aggregate it at the engine website. A client side agent, using google as a starting point, and sifting through the results, spidering through them, makes sense. Don't start whining about traffic increase, the same thing happens now, only it's the person himself doing the spidering.

    Also, the entire keyword paradigm is at odds with but the most simplistic search. Sometimes I'm looking for a diagram, or I'm looking to buy aa hard to find part. Some engines, like lycos allow you to search for audio or stills, but it borders on lameness. This needs to be epxanded. You need to be able to tell the engine, "hey I'm just looking for general info" or "hey I want to buy something with these parameters". For instance, the diagrams I look for, they can either be gif/jpeg or ascii art. A decent engine/agent should have no trouble returning results thaat reflect these requirements. Same with the "buying" type search, the electronic parts I'm looking for are not common items, and adding a keyword of "shopping cart" doesn't always cut it. As I see it, there are at least a few different types of searches, that a person might make.

    I want to buy this item (or a simlar)
    I want to find info (of an encyclopedic nature)
    I want to find leads about (I don't quite know what I'm looking for yet)
    I want to hear news about...
    I want to find this file/software (or a similar one)
    I want to be entertained about/with...

    These things all lend themselves perfectly to a client-side agent. Those websites that don't bother to tag images properly, and yet the image is just stylized text? An agent has the power to OCR it back to normal, something an engine could never hope to do. Get rid of all the mirrors? Google is better at this than any other engine, but can it compete with an agent that can recognize a text mirror or a html page, or vice versa? Or any of the other nifty little optimizations that aren't even obvious to me at the moment? Sure, there will be problems. I'm not sure Joe AOL being able to accept that a proper search will take longer than it takes for a web page to load, but it still seems like the next killer app to me.
  • by Pasc ( 59 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:01PM (#2139548)
    Wisenut continues to spider content that I ask not to be spidered (using my robots.txt). In fact, I have over 200 hits to my site from wisenut.com's spider but NONE of them are to my robots.txt.

    Hence, I refuse to use wisenut.

    • Have you told them? Not trying to be a smartass or anything... A couple of years ago I shot off an email to the owner of a spider that was ignoring my robots.txt, and lo and behold a bit later the spider started checking and honoring my robots.txt file. YMMV.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 )
    I'm curious to see if any of these new search engines suffer from the /. effect.
  • I tend to use the Advance Search feature at www.alltheweb.com [alltheweb.com], as it brings up more hits than Google.

    Of course, Google is now the only player in town for Usenet Searches [alltheweb.com] since they bought Deja (and if they're reading this, I want them to bring back Deja's hierarchical nesting features...)

  • WiseNut, Teoma and Vivisimo all are similar in that they put up pretty relevant categories for some searches. In fact, I'll say they do a better job than Google, from what I saw.

    As an example, I did a search on "lisinopril", the generic name for a blood pressure medication I take.

    Where as google provided one "category" besides the search results, WiseNut provided 10 relevant categories to further break down my search (ACE Inhibitors, brand names, blood pressure, heart attacks, drug information, etc.

    Teoma provided 8 different categories, and vivisimo provided 11 categories and "more" option for more categories.

    Personally, I find this to be a nice feature of all three of these engines. As for relevancy of the information, that's really a hard thing to quanitify.

    Given the choice, though, I'm going to add WiseNut and Teoma to my list of search engines that I use. Beyond the features mentioned above, they took one good idea from Google and that's to keep the search screen sparse and uncluttered.

    Just my humble opinion...
  • by Alex Kalita ( 398272 ) <akalita&vt,edu> on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @02:42PM (#2140528)
    If you get bored, check out some of the languages you can select on Google's preferences page.

    31337 H4x0r g00g13 [google.com]
    Google in the language of "Bork, bork bork!" [google.com]
    Igpay Atinlay Ooglegay [google.com]

    • And don't forget the infamous "I'm feeling lucky" button. All the fun and odds of a Vegas slot machine without the cost.
    • The best part is when you follow the 'igpay atinlay [google.com]' link to the prefs page, pull the language pulldown menu, and see that one of the language options is "Orkbay!, Orkbay!, Orkbay!"
      • I think the best part is that, thanks to my company's caching proxy, the next person to use google after me inherits my language setting unless they do an explicit page refresh... so people get pig latin and don't know why!
    • by Hal_9000@!!!@ ( 152225 ) <slashdot@not-real.org> on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:17PM (#2141491) Homepage Journal
      You forgot Elmer Fudd. but oh well...

      To me this really shows the personality behind Google. They are a company of friendly, caring people, which is apparent just by looking at All About Google, or looking at the story of one of their staff taking a bike trip [google.com].

      Google is a company with culture, a web site with a personality and a huge Linux cluster that they show off to the world. IMHO, Google's corporate personality has helped make it the best. That personality is what keeps the staff working, coming up with new ideas and technologies that push the web forward.

      I don't see that on any of these new engines, and I think that that will in some ways dig their graves, just as Altavista's selloff did. Remember when it was altavista.digital.com? Remember feeling that there were people behind that site who cared less about how much money AltaVista was making and more about improving search technology? Then it turned into its own enterprise, no longer Digital's expariment. When it became a garbage portal, it lost that wholesome goodness that it once had. RIP, AltaVista. Congrats Google, live long and prosper.

    • don't forget the special searches:

      Google Linux search [google.com]
      Google BSD search [google.com]
      Google iMac colors search [google.com]
  • What make Google so great is the fact that "google" just rolls off the tongue. Say it with me ... "goooogle".

    Vivisimo is a bit hard to pronounce (and I almost spelled Visio).

    [accent=British] "Teoma". That's a tinny word, don't you think?[accent off]

    In all seriousness, naming choice is very important as you all know. If you can't remeber the address, you won't go there. And don't say anything about bookmarks. I usually type in the URL of the sites I visit often.
  • by JohnTheFisherman ( 225485 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @02:29PM (#2140719)
    Most people don't use Google anyways, they just go straight to Ask Slashdot. :(
  • W.H.A.T. (Score:4, Informative)

    by basking2 ( 233941 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:16PM (#2140779) Homepage
    The College of New Jersey [tcnj.edu] and Villanova University [villanova.edu] are working on a search engine called W.H.A.T. [tcnj.edu] which uses AI to apply contexts to search results. The idea is that the user can express some how more than words do, the meaning of the target. Pretty interesting stuff.
    I'm biased as I worked on it for a year, though. :-)
  • by embobo ( 1520 )
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @02:43PM (#2141366)
    SpammerQuery - The home addresses and personal phone numbers of spammers.

    EinsteinExpress - When you absolutely, positively have to have next month's kernal patch yesterday...

    SlashBot - The home addresses and personal phone numbers of FP'ers and goatse.cx linkers.

    BootyCall - All porn all the ti... wait a second. We've got images.google.com for that! Sorry, my bad.
  • Things just haven't been the same since they started taking advertisers money. They've been shamelessly manipulating search results [google.com] instead of keeping the engine honest.
  • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @02:38PM (#2141482) Homepage Journal
    Teoma was discussed earlier on /. [slashdot.org]. The article [searchenginewatch.com] featured in that posting was quite interesting in it's own right and worth a close read, even if you don't go through the comments of the earlier post.

    --CTH
  • Index Size (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Itrebax ( 217753 )
    According to Wisenut's front page, it has more pages indexed than Google. Can this be true?
  • my 2 cents (Score:3, Informative)

    by pjgunst ( 452345 ) <(eb.tenyks) (ta) (tsnugjp)> on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:17PM (#2142059)
    I just tried them all out, here are my 2 cents.
    1) They all try to distinguish themselves by stating "we're not just another search engine...". Basically, they are.
    2) Wisenut is by far the least bloated, and it shows in terms of speed.
    3) Lasoo combines "white pages" with a web directory. Clever, but putting it all on one page is a bit overkill IMHO.
    4) None of them is as configurable as google.

    However, it will be nice to see how they develop. They all need an innovative feature though, something to make the switch from google worthwhile.
  • Hmm.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jasno ( 124830 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @02:30PM (#2143721) Journal
    How about a search engine that doesn't index 'rpmfind' mirrors and newsgroups so searches for linux related info turn up something more useful than 50 pages of rpmfind entries...

    Ok, yeah, I know how to use '-', but its still annoying...
    • Re:Hmm.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by b0r1s ( 170449 )
      How about a search engine that doesn't index 'rpmfind' mirrors and newsgroups so searches for linux related info turn up something more useful than 50 pages of rpmfind entries...

      Ok, I agree with the rpmfind mirrors, but I have to disagree on the newsgroup issue. Usually when I'm really stuck on something (ie: Linux SMP box hanging under high network load (which makes backups a real bitch), forcing me to power cycle : flawed APIC handling for the 3c905 ethernet card), I hit google specifically LOOKING FOR NEWSGROUP discussions on the topic. Granted, I dont need 50 mirrored copies, but I definitely do want to see newsgroup archives indexed.
      • I hit google specifically LOOKING FOR NEWSGROUP discussions on the topic. Granted, I dont need 50 mirrored copies, but I definitely do want to see newsgroup archives indexed.

        See, there's this thing called groups.google.com [google.com], and...
      • (ie: Linux SMP box hanging under high network load (which makes backups a real bitch), forcing me to power cycle : flawed APIC handling for the 3c905 ethernet card),

        Out of curiousity, did you find a fix for this? I think that may be explaining the odd lockup I get on my system that I haven't bene able to pin down...

        • Yep, we bought new network cards.

          another workaround (that hits performance, but fixes the problem) is to use the "NOAPIC" option at the boot prompt. Supposedly it's fixed in the alan cox kernel, but it doesnt seem to appear in the linus version's changelogs. it may be fixed in 2.4.8
      • Re:Hmm.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ahrenritter ( 187622 ) <deinspanjer@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:19PM (#2139937) Homepage
        I would prefer that the newsgroup messages not be indexed because it can clutter your results list if that is not what you are looking for. If you know that what you are looking for should be in newsgroups (e.g. it is a question you are looking for the answer to) you could look it up at Google Groups [google.com]
        • Erm. Google doesn't normally search through newsgroups. It may search through mailing list archives, if the archives are on the web. But Google Groups does not index mailing lists.
    • I desagree.

      Sure, if I'm searching form something like 'how to setup my dvd drive on linux' I want a HOWTO (and I go to yahoo for that), but for more obscure things (like maybe 'how to setup my mpeg decoder card on linux') the newsgroup and mailing list archives are very useful.

      That's one of the main features of google for me.

    • A similar problem I've found is that when I'm searching on using 'foo' and 'bar' together (for example, if they're two popular options in a software package), I'll tend to get a lot of hits from mailing list indexes. The page'll generally contain a link to a message about 'foo' and a separate link to a message about 'bar', and will be highly rated from all the other things linking to the index.
      • Re:Hmm.. (Score:3, Informative)

        by commbat ( 50622 )
        They need the AltaVista NEAR operator: foo NEAR bar.
        • Re:Hmm.. (Score:2, Informative)

          by renderhead ( 206057 )
          From Google's About page [google.com]:
          Not only do Google's results contain all of your search terms, but Google also analyzes the proximity of those terms within the page. Google prioritizes results according to how closely your individual search terms appear and favors results that have your search terms near each other. Because of this, the result is much more likely to be relevant to your query.

          So it sounds like theoretically the NEAR operator should be unnecessary.

    • I have delt with this problem a number of times.
      Try searching for a "warez"* copy of gnu emacs 21.
      You will get a million newsgroup mirrors. you will get thousands of results for emacs 20 that happen to have "21" in the url.
      to get rid of some of these issues includeing rpms it helps if you use the logical nots
      foo-bar tar gz -rpm -re -re: -from:
      remember that google will only let you include more than 10 words on your search so go down to the bottem search box if you need to an "search within results"
      *so named because its not released yet but does exist. Nothing like living in a world where free software is pirated.
  • God? (Score:2, Funny)

    by unixdown ( 156285 )
    The only god I can find is GOOGLE [google.com]. Who else will actually answer your prayers?
  • Getting smarter (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spiderlog ( 472336 )
    WiseNut looks like it can be a contender, but until it meets or surpasses Google's index AND adds a cache feature... well, I'll just stick with what works.
    • Well yeah wisenut could contend... if it wasn't running on IIS!! We all know how sensitive to worms IIS is, don't we. It would be neat to send a Code Red at wisenut and then reverse some of the search results through the root shell. I can think of ALL sorts of funny reversals/replacements.
  • Is there a decent meta-search tool that can run a query through all (or most) of these and collect together the results?

    Maybe not on the web (where it might get threatened) but at least a command-line tool or CGI script.
    • If I had bothered to read the article before posting, I'd have seen that 'Vivisimo' (bad name, guys. bad name) does some metasearch stuff. But not across all the other search engines mentioned.
  • Wisenut
    Looks like google without cache, wiseguide provides a nifty preview of categories with matches.

    Teoma
    Match phrase button handy, no cache

    Lasoo
    Nice maps, but not a search engine for finding general topics, more geared to finding locations

    CURE
    Is this a search engine? Hit the user limit so got nowhere.

    Vivisimo
    The best of the lot. Nice frame layout, organization by category, but lacks ability to jump to page.

  • I submitted this to /. but it wasnt accepted.

    Google catalogs open Administrator websites, and some of those websites have no or weak passwords. I reference google, since it does a good job of treeing websites. Search engines seem to be a good tool for looking for websites with weaknesses.

    Example..
    If you search on google for "myPHPAdmin" you can find databases without password protection. You can do simple things like SQL queries for Credit Card information or even Drop tables.

    Lucky nobody has wrote a trojan that searches google for unprotected databases and drops all tables. Oh wait, maybe they have....

  • by jerw134 ( 409531 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @02:34PM (#2153898)
    Is the cache. Especially for readers of Slashdot, because it allows them to see a site after it has been Slashdotted. From my quick glance at the other sites, none of them had that technology. That is why I will continue to use Google!
    • Yes, the cache can be invaluable at times. Anyone got any ideas as to how much space Google's cache takes up?
      • > Yes, the cache can be invaluable at times. Anyone got any ideas as to how much space Google's cache takes up?

        No idea, but I also like their conversion of PDFs to text, and caching of the text.

        I also love the cache because I can read sites that are 404'd. Great for digging up old specs on hardware.

    • by jilles ( 20976 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @03:08PM (#2144949) Homepage
      The cache is a nice gimmick which I've found useful quite a few times, however the main reason I keep returning to google is that I actually find what I need fast. Yesterday I needed some background on C++ templates. I entered the terms "C++ templates tutorial" in the ie google toolbar (that is a great feauture IMHO) and found what I needed at the top of the returned results. 15 seconds later the stuff I needed was on its way to the printer.

      That kind of convenience is hard to beat by a general purpose search engine. The story changes if you start using meta information to narrow the search. Google does not do that as far as I know. However, using meta information inevitably narrows the scope of a search engine. Efficient distributed search engines for multimedia are currently emerging. E.g. morpheus actually uses meta information attached to a mp3 allowing for searches for tracks of a particular album, more albums of the same artist and so on.

      • It would really help if everyone set the ID3 tags in their MP3s correctly. I don't think a single MP3 that I got off of Napster had all of the information correctly set (many didn't have any correctly set).
  • I work for an ISP and consistently use google to probe error messages and the like. I've tried Vivisimo and Teoma but I find they gave me poor results. I could usually find the answer to a problem within the first page of results on google. I have yet to see another search engine match that.
  • Is the interface! You don't have to spend 5 minutes searching (no pun intended) for the Edit box to type your search into!
  • It's nice that Google includes PDF files, but why don't they read PostScript, Word DOC and all the other document file formats? It seems to be easy to add a couple of import filters...

    They could also easily support compressed documents, e. g. pdf.gz or pdf.bz2.

    If the import filter really "understands" the file format (if it knows where things are emphasized or in bold, or larger font, not just the result of pdftotext given to the indexer) the quality of the query results could be improved as well. Words in headings or larger font could be regarded as more relevant for a page (in a similar way that words in h1 or h2 are considered more relevant with HTML).

I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.

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