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Better Search Results Than Google? 487

Mechanik writes "CNN has an AP article about the next generation of up and coming search tools, which try to cope with the glut of hits that result from 'conventional' search engines such as Google. One tool, Vivisimo, "is like a superfast librarian who can instantly arrange the titles on shelves in a way that makes sense. [...] But unlike libraries, Vivisimo doesn't use predefined categories. Its software determines them on the fly, depending on the search results. The filing is done through a combination of linguistic and statistical analysis." Grokker, another, downloadable program, "not only sorts search results into categories but also "maps" the results in a holistic way, showing each category as a colorful circle. Within each circle, subcategories appear as more circles that can be clicked on and zoomed in on." You have to love the author's use of trying to look for a hotel in France with the terms 'Paris Hilton' as an example of searching gone awry."
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Better Search Results Than Google?

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  • by Kickstart70 ( 531316 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:21PM (#7883775) Homepage
    ...until I can regexp my searches. It would make a whole lot of difference.
    • by eyeye ( 653962 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:25PM (#7883823) Homepage Journal
      That would be good.

      One way to improve google would be to filter any domain that has more than one hypen in it.

      You know those results from - "" that you get when you searched for "linux patch".
      • Gawd I hate those. I don't understand why Google isn't doing that sort of filtering already.

        • by glesga_kiss ( 596639 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @07:49PM (#7886036)
          I don't understand why Google isn't doing that sort of filtering already.

          They could get sued. It's an interesting thing legally, it's not really been tested yet. If Google deliberately block a site from appearing in it's results based on a matter of taste (i.e. they think it's poor content), then they leave themselves open to legal action.

          And that is the curse of Google. It's downfall started about six months ago. It's still great for solving technical problems but trying to get product reviews or searching on any brand-name etc for info is a waste of time. Just the official page and a hundred links to "portal" sites that have wormed their way up page-rank, each trying to sell you something.

          It was inevitable I suppose. Once the lay public got their hands on it en-mass, the search-spammers targetted it. Once the google users hit a certain critical mass, it all went downhill.

          Perhaps we should just keep the next best thing to ourselves...? ;-)

      • by BigJimSlade ( 139096 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:46PM (#7884762) Homepage
        Google has, among others, a very nice linux filter [] all ready.
      • I can't believe how quickly these sites have almost ruined Google.

        I got a bunch of games for Xmas, and when I've gone looking for strategy sites or even walkthroughs (for Morrowind for example), its practically impossible to separate the real sites from those we-sell-u-stuff-cheap-online-from-hungary.morrowin d-strategy-walkthrough-cheat-whatever-else-might-b e-in-a-search-string.html sites.

    • Wasn't there an Ask Slashdot story about someone who wanted to setup a regex search engine? I think he dumped the idea after someone did a regex which would've matched every email address in the engine database.

      (I'd link to the story but I couldn't find it. Damn you, Slashdot search!)
    • ...and am not limited to a mere 10 tokens...
    • hmmm.... .*

      that'd be fun :)
    • Not quite (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bigjocker ( 113512 ) * on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:37PM (#7883986) Homepage
      I tried a few searches on Vivisimo before it went live on slashdot and I must say I'm impressed. It addresses one of the main faults of search technology today: context. When you perform a search a tree is shown showing the different contexts (not categories) where the terms were found. Excellent for ambiguous concepts.

      But, and here is the beef, it should be obvious to anyone that there must be a interface change in the short term future of search. A textbox is a very limited input to express a complex search. Using regexps and regexp-like operators is not enough. This Vivisimo is a step in the right direction, but there's a lot of way to go through.

      For example try to make this search using any engine (Vivisimo, Google, Yahoo, Altavista, etc): who was the red-haired singer that recorded a song with Tom Morello a few years back?. At least I can't find an answer because one of the main aspects I'm using (the red hair) maybe is not as important as other aspects used to describe the situation by anyone else.

      There must be a interface revolution in the years to come. Come to think of it, are we still using a textfield to express every possible combination in a google search? Gross!!!
      • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

        by RetroGeek ( 206522 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:46PM (#7884126) Homepage
        Try this search [] then.

        The search phrase was:
        "red hair" singer "tom morello"

      • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

        by Carnildo ( 712617 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:51PM (#7884184) Homepage Journal
        You can get a similar effect in Google by adding a word or two of context to your search. Searching for "paris hilton" gets millions of links to sites claiming to sell the tapes, but searching for "paris hilton hotel" gets hotels in France.
        • Re:Not quite (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mike_mgo ( 589966 )
          In this case yes, but this is a very simple example. Sometimes, epsecially on topics that you are unfamiliar with, it can be difficult to figure out what additional words are going to help to refine your search.
          • Re:Not quite (Score:3, Interesting)

            by RedWizzard ( 192002 )

            Sometimes, epsecially on topics that you are unfamiliar with, it can be difficult to figure out what additional words are going to help to refine your search.

            You've got a whole page of results context to pick some common words from (either pick words from bad results to exclude or from good results to include). The one thing Google doesn't do so well in (IMHO) is searching for information on a product - you normally end up with a ton of links to places selling the product, and these are not always easy

          • Re:Not quite (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Mac Degger ( 576336 )
            Exactly! Sometimes you don't even know wtf is out there...using the 'word in/exclude' technique, you would miss out on much info you might actually be (more) interested in.

            Using something like Grokker gives you some more insight into the whole available field.
        • Re:Not quite (Score:3, Informative)

          by jrumney ( 197329 )
          "paris hilton hotel" gets hotels in France.

          6 out of 10 links on the first page of google are still about "hotel chain heiress Paris Hilton".

          Even including the quotes gets you 4 links to pages about the star of the infamous video, and one to an "award winning desktop toolbar with 45 tools!".

          • Re:Not quite (Score:3, Interesting)

            by RedWizzard ( 192002 )
            "paris hilton hotel" gets hotels in France.

            6 out of 10 links on the first page of google are still about "hotel chain heiress Paris Hilton".

            But the first one is the offical Paris Hilton Hotel page. What more do you want? In fact even searching for just "paris hilton" gives you that link on the first page (in 6th place). If the list is not clean enough for you just pick some common terms from the bad results and refine the search to exclude them.
        • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

          by dspyder ( 563303 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @06:02PM (#7884906)
          You can get a similar effect in Google by adding a word or two of context to your search. Searching for "paris hilton" gets millions of links to sites claiming to sell the tapes, but searching for "paris hilton hotel" gets hotels in France.

          The most under-utilized feature of Google I think has to be excluding keywords. For this query, I would use:
          +"paris hilton" +hotel -tape -porn
          and probably get much better results. If the word "naked" is never ever going to appear in a legitimate result page, you might as well exclude it.

          Same goes for other things. I was looking for information on Microwaves and WiFi the other day... not the ovens, so -oven -food and I got infinitely better results.

          • Re:Not quite (Score:3, Informative)

            by glesga_kiss ( 596639 )
            The most under-utilized feature of Google I think has to be excluding keywords.

            You've been able to do this for a long time in most search engines. Personally, I find myself often including the words -"buy" or -"search results" in Google to avoid all the spam.

    • Halting problem. Sorry.
    • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:40PM (#7884031) Homepage
      From what I understand, the reason that google can do many many searches at once and still complete each in 0.5 seconds (besides having a huge linux farm) is that they make a lot of algorithmic shortcuts and precompute datastructures as much as possible. There really aren't any such precomputed algorithmic shortcuts to take with regular expressions, so searches would either be much much slower, or google would need to buy a vastly larger linux farm, for a feature that's used by less than 1% of the population.
    • by costas ( 38724 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:43PM (#7884085) Homepage
      Search engines index words in web pages and at most keep word order (word no X out of N in page). In addition, they throw out common or garbage words (like 'the', 'and', etc), so the actual text is not represented in the index. That right there is a major reason why not to do regexes... Secondly, regexes are awefully expensive CPU-wise and understood by only a tiny portion of your users, so it's quite unlikely that this would happen.
    • Re: Infinite loops (Score:4, Informative)

      by A55M0NKEY ( 554964 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:52PM (#7884196) Homepage Journal
      You can write an infinite loop in alot of regexp packages. They would have to have a way of detecting that ( or a very inefficiently written regexp )
  • Vivisimo (Score:5, Funny)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:21PM (#7883781) Homepage Journal
    They aren't off to a very good start:

    Problem occurred while using Vivisimo::

    Currently under heavy load. Please try again shortly

    Please go back to the Vivisimo home page and try your query again

  • by soluzar22 ( 219097 ) * <> on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:22PM (#7883792)
    Well, Google made a huge leap forward from the old-guard, of AltaVista & Yahoo, who were in their own way a huge leap beyond what had gone before. We had to expect this to happen sooner or later, but two things spring irresistably to mind.

    1)Will it gain the enormous foothold in the collective consciousness that Google has acquired? To Google is now a verb... and it gets mentioned on Buffy, which is as good a cultural barometer as we are ever likely to have. :-)

    2)Will the UI and secondary services (such as the ODP, and Google Groups) be as good as Google itself?
    Also, while I'm sure that it will happen one day, I'll believe it when I use it and not before... Oh, and the Paris Hilton thing? LOL! That sort of anti-result comes back from search engines *a lot*. I was just talking to my mom about searches of that type of ambiguous nature the other day.
    • by asdhwesd ( 253232 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:29PM (#7883876)
      Is there a search engine that can filter out all of those annoying placeholder sites that grab unsuspecting visitors by simply putting every word about a certain subject on a page and then having links to other useless websites? This is 'webspam' as far as I am concerned and the next step in search engine design should be 'placeholder' site aware.

      A search engine that ignores specifically commercial sites would also be helpful.

      Any ideas on either of these type features in current or upcoming search engines?
      • by Kobayashi Maru ( 721006 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:03PM (#7884314)
        What you ask is more difficult than one may originally think. As soon as a novel approach to counter-acting one of these annoyances becomes popular, it lands itself in the cross-hairs of those who would exploit "the system" in the first place. Witness the current arms race that is SPAM. Witness Microsoft security. Hell, witness Slashdot moderation.

        There are a number of bright people on both sides of the aisle. When one side discovers a new technique, the other will work hard to neutralize said technique. This continues until either: it is too expensive for one side to continue, or too complicated for the consumer to bother with anymore.
    • by CrayzyJ ( 222675 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:31PM (#7883897) Homepage Journal
      " and it gets mentioned on Buffy, which is as good a cultural barometer as we are ever likely to have"

      Gawd help us. Society now sucks if that is our barometer.

      Google, the verb, has been mentioned on Law & Order. _THAT_ tells me it has entered the mainstream.

    • Will the UI and secondary services (such as the ODP, and Google Groups) be as good as Google itself?

      A good point. I switched to Altavista back in the days, because they had a relatively clean layout of the search results, which came up on the screen really fast. Later I switched to Google because of their even cleaner and more functional UI, not because I was getting better search results from them (there wasn't much difference that I noticed).

      Google is simple, fast and uncluttered, as opposed to som

    • I suppose it stems from impatience and an unwillingness to learn such a basic thing needed to find information. Google is very simple and they have a simple tutorial on how to find what you want to find something specific. I think that is an excellent system and to expect it to work properly with just two words is too much.

      In the stated example, a simple change in the request should give far better hits. A Google search with these keywords would do the trick: "Paris France" "Hilton Hotel"

      "I'm feeling l
    • Google was a leap forward from Yahoo! and AltaVista in terms of searching, but both have expanded to include other services that people may find handy. AltaVista has the Babelfish translation service, which I have found useful on numerous occasions. And Yahoo! expanded to a rather competitive web portal -- so many extras beyond web searching that if I try to list them, I'm sure I'll leave even more out. Google has also expanded a lot in their own right. Google News is very nice, as is their newsgroup se
  • by FroMan ( 111520 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:24PM (#7883807) Homepage Journal
    I tried this earlier (around noon) when I saw the article. One of my big complaints is that the searches seem to take too long. Google usually is sub-second searches, this seemed to take about 3-5 seconds (this was well before slashdot posted the article, so it wasn't slashdot effect either).

    Also, I already do not like the search results showing up in the sidebar with search engines (with mozilla), as that is one of the features I kill as soon as I install mozilla. So, I guess, this search engine has a ways to go before I prefer it.

    The searches didn't seem too bad over all, I tried looking for "linux kodak 4530" and its results were not any better or worse than googles. I tried a couple other searches and they seem to be on target about as well as google though.
    • In what way is this flamebait/redundant? Seems like the observation that response time is important is on the mark: why wait a few seconds unless you find their clustering provides real value added?

      Can't tell if it helps, until the Slashdot Effect (tm) diminishes, though...

  • by Kickstart70 ( 531316 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:24PM (#7883814) Homepage
    of Antarctica, an old and very clunky Java Yahoo-like engine (sorta). It used a map of Antarctica to drill down into categories and subcategories before putting the user in a 3D world interface at the lowest level. When I interviewed with them, the interviewer did an excellent job of turning me off the technology, explaining that the 3D interface would allow 'billboard and other advertisements' along with the search results formatted in a 'mall or street' of entries.

  • Every so often... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by clifgriffin ( 676199 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:25PM (#7883821) Homepage
    A new search engine comes along that touts its uber intelligent way of searching. It is hyped by the press but ends up by the way side. (See Teoma)

    I don't get excited about "Google alternatives". Google satisfies my searching needs as it is. Sometimes "knowing what to search for" is better than a super intelligent search engine.

    As far as I'm concerned anyone with a clue can produce the results they need with a little bit of practice and common sense. They don't need new search engines.


    • Every once in a while my dad asks me a question and I find the answer on google. He inevitably asks me "how'd you do that? I tried it on google and I didn't find what I wanted."

      Paris Hilton is a good example of this -- searching for Paris Hilton results in the top five entries being about the celebrity -- but as soon as I searched for Paris Hilton Hotel I found the Hilton in Paris... It's not really that hard (to me -- I may be more advanced than the target audience of these other search engines)
      • Re:Every so often... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jxs2151 ( 554138 )
        I agree. It seems that some people have an innate ability to find what they want in search engines....and some do not.

        I am often stupified by how stupidly some people search. I still think that early search engines like Webcrawler and Lycos forced me to really learn how a search engine works, how to make boolean and grouping by quotes work for me. The power is incredibly but so little used.

        Advanced operators [] help immensely but I wonder how many searches use them. The concept of narrowing or wideni

    • Very true.

      The problem is that most people don't know what to search for. I've seen my mom search google for "R Crumb" when she's looking for tee shirts with his characters, and I always have to point out that she should add "tee shirts" to the query.

      Another thing was with this girl I was trying to get into the pants of... She was always asking me for help with internet-based research for her various papers for school because she would google and yahoo for hours and find nothing, I'd do one search and IM

    • Sometimes knowing what to search for doesn't help you at all.

      Recently, I was wrestling with a commercial application that involved an improperly functioning Help System.

      Have you ever tried searching for help on Help? I found it impossible to get any sort of meaningful result.

      In this particular case, a 'super intelligent search engine' would be useful.

    • Google generally satisfies my search needs, but too many websites know how to bias their page rankings. So if you search for something, it's now common for the first 2 or 3 hits to be junk (just a page of search terms). It's not unusual for the first page to be junk hits, all identical but with different hostnames. This problem is only going to get worse as time goes on, and so far Google isn't doing to enough to combat it.
  • by 97cobra ( 89974 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:26PM (#7883837)
    Glad to see AP covering a site thats been operational for 2 years, nothing like cutting edge reporting.
  • What if... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GeckoFood ( 585211 ) <geckofood AT gmail DOT com> on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:26PM (#7883841) Journal

    What if you want that glut of hits? Sometimes you have to dig through some pretty obscure hits on a search to get what you want, and categorizing them or putting them in funny circles just complicates the process and can make the search take longer. I'll hang with Google and Teoma, thank you very much.

    And I certainly don't want a downloadable search app running, that's just another possible inroad for spyware. I've been burned enough times by apps I thought were "clean" that went off and chewed up enough bandwidth to choke a horse.

    • Re:What if... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fiendo ( 217830 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:43PM (#7884076)
      The bandwidth theft may be something to keep an eye on; something else to think about is the taxing Grokker's going to put on your box's resources:

      "System Requirements
      Windows 2000 or Windows XP
      Pentium III at 400MHZ or higher
      128MB RAM (we recommend 256MB or more, if you're going to use the file indexing service for the My Files keyword search)
      100MB of free disk space (or 20MB only if Java 2 is already installed)"

      Myself I kind of like the idea of the graphical results, but not if my box is doing the grunt work. I think Google has them beat on that point.

      Not to mention that Grokker "Contains a fully functional Web browser based on Internet Explorer". How would one go about updating the various patches for this browser? ml
  • Visimio (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nysus ( 162232 )
    Tried it...too many ads and so I don't quite trust it to give me the kind of pure results I seem to get from Google. I'll wait for Google to implement the same kind of categorization system or at least let other people who have the time test out visimio.
  • by sdo1 ( 213835 ) * on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:27PM (#7883854) Journal
    The problem with Google (and in fact a lot of the internet and in particular search engines) now is that it has almost entirely been taken over by commercial entities. When I was recently shopping for a digital camera, I did the usual internet searches. A few years back, similar searches would have found lots and lots of sites ABOUT the product in question (fan sites, discussion forums, reviews). Now I have to sort through page upon page of sites wanting to sell me said item, most of which aren't even actual store-fronts but instead just referral pages which have manipulated the Google ranking system to get on top. I recenlty hit the same problem when doing vacation planning. It used to be that I could easily find hundreds of pages ABOUT the destination, now I just find sites wanting to sell me airfare, book me into a hotel, and rent me a car. It's become extremely frustrating and has made Google far less useful than it once was. In fact, most of the big search engines are far less useful than they once were. Yahoo! [] used to be THE place to get organized info on any subject. The directory is almost entirely commercial now. DMOZ [] is extremely hit and miss and has started to get fairly out of date. I messed around with vivisimo [] a bit as well and found that to be hit and miss.

    Despite the problems with Google, it's still the best place I've found to get good info. The trick is to be very careful about how you search for something by adding in search modifiers such as "-sale" or "-bargain" or "review" to weed out the overtly commercial results. But even then, things have changed and not for the better.


    • by frodo from middle ea ( 602941 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:46PM (#7884112) Homepage
      Tell me about it.

      Searching for info about electronic products is the worst on google.
      I use the following along with any thing i want to search and it usually does the trick

      -shop -shopping -price -buy -order -shipping".

      This no doubts subtracts one or two sites which are good but atleast filters out most of the shopping sites.

    • Look, you have to realize someone has to pay the bills (and profits) for these services. You are not going to get unbiased, non-commercial results for free. Forget it. Fortunately most sites clearly tell you what results are paid.

      Search engines are not a public service. They have to satisfy users and advertisers. Thats the balance. You could try to start a subscription-based totally-commercial-free alternative, but I suspect there is little interest in the larger internet audience.

      • Huh? Do you even use Google? Or did you misread your parent's post?

        Google doesn't spam its own listings in return for ad bucks. They do occasionally throw in a "Sponsored Link" but those are always color-coded and usually off to the side of the main list.

        What your parent is saying, and I can echo their sentiments, is that there are a million and one crap sites that are keyword-spamming the crawlers. Some really sell the product in question, but most seem to be stealing the review copy from other sites

    • by jacoplane ( 78110 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:46PM (#7884773) Homepage Journal
      Well, I don't think this will ever change. Commercial entities simply have the most to gain by being at the top of the Google PageRank. So even if Google doesn't make any distinction in to who gets the highest PR, commercial entities will simply make the biggest effort and eventually take the top spot.

      These days I always include other search terms like "epinions" (for reviews) or "wikipedia" for information to get the most out of google. Someday there will be a search engine where you can specify "no commercial s$*t", but till that day...
  • by TomDes ( 66020 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:28PM (#7883864)
    We realized the same idea for images. Take the results from Google Image Search [] and rearrange them using methods from computer vision.
    An article about this is available here: Clustering visually similar images to improve image search engines [].
  • Google's search results seem to be disintegrating. If you search for almost anything, you are bombarded with dozens of sites that have nothing at all to do with your search, but everything to do with installing trojans and popup-producers. It's depressing to see what used to be a useful tool totally swamped by noise....I just hope they can bring it back from the brink.
  • Even if.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ghettoboy22 ( 723339 ) * <> on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:30PM (#7883888) Homepage
    "Vivisimo" can *somehow* come up with a better engine than google, will people use it? Google is getting bigger and bigger not necessarily by their search results (or lack thereof) but also because of how the phrase "google" has caught on in mainstream culture. Face it - when your competitor makes it into the dictionary [], it's going to be EXTREMELY hard to get people to change the way they search. If you ask many non-techs how they find information on the web, they don't say "I search for it" they say "I google it".

    Now, that being said, one thing the CNN article doesn't talk about in great detail is the technology behind this company - Google started out at a major university - what's the background of this company? While I agree something should be done with all the advertising that occurs with PageRank, I find it highly doubtful that it's going to be another company (rather than Google itself) that will fix it.
  • never says "Server is under heavy load. Try again later."
  • by alexatrit ( 689331 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:31PM (#7883902) Homepage
    A query on "slashdot effect" returned the following groupings, before the engine died under load.
    slashdot effect (111)
    o Technology (18)
    o Definition (11)
    o Story (9)
    o Also spelled (9)
    o Analysis, Three Internet Publications (5)
    o Source (7)
    o (3)
    o Spy (2)
    o Downloads (3)
    o Surviving The Slashdot Effect (3)
    Their cluster groups are interesting, but their top X results behave a lot like Google. Most of the results are the same as well. I do like how it lists where the result was sourced, however.
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:32PM (#7883912) Homepage Journal
    Pittsburgh-based Vivisimo sells its technology to companies and intelligence agencies, and offers free Web searches at

    Oh boy! Where do I sign up for my free registration! Here's my name, age, adress...
  • Grokker's kinda cool (Score:5, Informative)

    by Daikiki ( 227620 ) * <{daikiki} {at} {}> on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:32PM (#7883915) Homepage Journal
    I'm actually posting this form the browser window of Grokker. Been playing with it for just a few minnutes now, but I can see how something like this can make obscure or broad searches a lot easier. When you enter a search term, Grokker generates a series of circles, each of them representing a subcategory of results for your search term, and each of them in turn filled with subcategories of their own. Searching for "west coast museums", for example, gives me subcategories such as 'travel', 'west coast attractions', and 'history museums'. Once you find your desired subcategory you're presented with a smallish list of matching sites, represented as squares. The categorization seems to make sense most of the time, even if the overall visual effect is remniscent of 70's disco lighting.
  • search interface (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AMystery ( 725537 )

    I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about better ways to interface with data, generally with searches but it applies to most anything. Naturally this was inspired by reading some Sci-Fi (Saturn's Race by Niven and someone...the book is in the other room.) I got to thinking, the perfect interface I can imagine is much like an actual room, things laid out visually where you would expect them. The normal 2D GUI has always seemed a bit unnatural to me.

    When this is applied to searches, I'd like to see in

    • Anything 3d will immediately slow down your interaction to a snails pace as you manipulate your environment. Even if it was a virtual mind-meld into a matrix like environment... "walking" to your search result and activating would take longer than a quick scroll down a result list with text blurbs.

      Intuitive does not mean good.

      It should be efficient, and become good through acclimation. Just like riding a bicycle. It seems garish at first, but it makes perfect sense later on.

      Just look at the interface fro
  • by garethwi ( 118563 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:34PM (#7883942) Homepage
    ...a search engine which can't handle a slashdotting.
  • Google has never been about getting the "best results"--you can already get much better results for your topic by using a specialized search engine (i.e., IMDB for movies, Lexis-Nexis for newspapers, etc.).

    Google is about having good quality results with a very simple interface, one that anyone can use. Go to an academic library and look at the various journal search engines like "America: History and Life" or PychINFO, or better yet just try out MedLine []. See anything wrong? Busy page, weird syntax, a huge instruction page about "how to search".

    Engines like Vivisimo may make it if they can keep Google's simplicity and ease of use and only add value with categorizations. And personally, I think they better get out of 1996 with the frames. Yech!

  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheTick ( 27208 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:35PM (#7883950) Homepage Journal

    Man, I must have been sleeping...

    When did google become a conventional search engine...?

  • I've been told it's cool, but I've got 50 spacebucks for anyone who can explain how Kartoo [] works and why is more useful than a search engine that returns "normal" text results.

    I've read the FAQ, I even ran a few searches through it and fiddled with the results, but I still don't get it. Near as I can tell, it's just a way of making spaced-out pictures of words with circles and arrows around them - you know, like PowerPoint, but with fewer distractions.

    Is it because I don't do drugs?
  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:38PM (#7883992)
    I have yet to see a visualization tool that was truly useful. Do people really want to see their results laid out using Cartesian coordinates as result metadata? I don't think so. Its cute but the reality is that people will prefer a list, and more specifically, look at the first five entries. Getting the right links into that top five is all that matters.
  • Let's face it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:38PM (#7884002) leaves so much to be desired. Too many paid and crafted links...too many stealth redirects...too many commercial links forced AI.

    google reminds me of that old pizza commercial with the new employee 'big dummy'. When he finally gets something to do, he runs off exclaiming "I am HELPING!!!" - not
  • I think Google's search results are worse after their "Florida" update. [] has pretty decent search results.
  • Given google's IPO situation, and someone I've never heard of touting themselves as being better than google. Maybe this somone is looking for a bit of capitalization themselves?
  • by costas ( 38724 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:40PM (#7884039) Homepage
    Well, for an attempt at a better newsbot than Google news, you can check out newsbot [] here. It does a few things that GN leaves out (XML feeds, PDA version, peer recommendations, etc, etc) and I believe it has a better S/N ratio. End of shameless plug.
  • All this article brings to the table is a bunch of BS. "Better search results" means you get what you want more often, not that the indexing makes "sense". Indexing already makes sense so long as you know how to use the index.

    Right now you take a webpage, look for words on it, relate the words then goto the most popular page for a given search. This works most of the time, but when someone types in a term they can mean very different things. For example, if I type in porn, I may be looking for freebi
  • Searchlores (Score:2, Informative)

    by mike_stay ( 631250 )
    For a hacker's approach to searching, check out []. It's run by Fravia, who for years ran the best reverse engineering site around. Stuff like including the phrase "parent directory" in the search query to limit searches to directory listings, how to stalk people on the internet, stuff like that.

    You can still find old mirrors of the reverse engineering site, but the only active one I know of is at []. The message board is at [], no crackz, serialz,

  • by nolife ( 233813 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:43PM (#7884079) Homepage Journal
    His example of searching for Paris Hilton is nothing more then an glorified example to try to prove his point.
    You do not need to completely redign a search engine to get your desired results. You need to refine your search. Search google for Paris Hilton Hotel [] and the first three results are directly related to a Hilton Hotel in Paris. I would not find this hotel any faster using his circle method with Grokker2. I use a search engine to find exactly what I am looking for. Displaying all the results on some chart, graph, or 3d display still requires me to browse around to narrow my search.
  • I get the message "Problem occurred while using Vivisimo::

    Currently under heavy load. Please try again shortly"

    Sure it's cool and everything but I'm not gonna use something that only works half the time.
  • kartoo (Score:2, Informative) - does what the article states without some other applications having to be installed.
  • by sjonke ( 457707 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:45PM (#7884103) Journal
    So far Vivisimo is proving to be 100% successful at removing the glut of results. All of them, in fact.

  • Vivisimo doesn't use predefined categories. Its software determines them on the fly, depending on the search results. The filing is done through a combination of linguistic and statistical analysis, a method that even works with other languages.

    I have used Vivisimo a few times but never realized that their method of categorization was quite langaage independent.

    If it really is then DMOZ, the Human Edited Directory, ought to incorporate dynamic categorizations like this, infact to the point that someday each user should have his/her own unique categorization of the all the websites in the world ...

    Meanwhile, are they using the words in the headings to determine categories ? Or is it words that have in some way been emphasized ? And to do this in a way that transcends language ...

    I am really curious as to how the words that determine "categories" in a sentence/para/section/page can be identified and sifted away from less important words. And how to determine the "keywords" that are not as important as "categories" but still more important that the "filler words" on the page. Keyword for Google is what you are searching for. That is easy. But how does Vivisimo take it further and establish it as a category?

  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:03PM (#7884319)
    I get the best results from Ask Jolene [], however it depends on what your searching for.

    Disclaimer: Just kidding, not work safe.

  • Filtering e-stores (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vurg ( 639307 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:07PM (#7884355)
    It would be nice if there is a feature that filters e-store entries. For example, I was looking for a solution to my Logitech RumblePad left analog stick problem. And no matter how refined my search is, I still get thousands of pages to stores selling that gamepad. I don't want to buy a gamepad. But I guess search engines and e-commerce would never be separated. Sadly this is how the Internet works now.
  • by IBitOBear ( 410965 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:30PM (#7884602) Homepage Journal
    Yes, there is glut and yes there are blog-holes.

    The thing I have noticed to be the greatest single limit on web searching is the operator. I can regularly find things on the net that my co-workers cannot. This is because I understand keyword boolean searching at a deeper level than most people.

    I blame this on the level of education of the common population, as opposed to being evidence of my own superiority. 8-)

    In a world where most people have never actually met or "dealt with" a librarian (archivist, whatever 8-) it should surprise nobody that these self-same people have no idea what it means to take personal responsibility for organizing their own approach to knowing things.

    Having grown up near and actually talked to librarians all my life I actually understand how to group information. Applying that knowledge to a search for some words and against others isn't that far a stretch.

    It is a personal pet peve of mine to have to listen to people bemoan Google (etc.) when these self-same people have never even *noticed* the advanced search link, nor even learned the power of the minus ("-") in the standard search bar.

    There is no technology that can "fix" bad user inquiries that won't in turn "ruin" good ones.
  • Single gripe... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cinematique ( 167333 ) * on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:47PM (#7884782)
    My only issue with Google is that it has a mildly annoying problem with linking to other search engines. Say, for instance, you search for n. Sometimes, instead of being presented with a list of sites carrying information about n, you're presented with links to other (mostly horrible) search engines. It's just as bad as being served a list of pages that are nothing more than "Google magnets," filled with a bunch of terms close to the topic you searched for, but missing any real content.

    That's Google's largest flaw, IMHO.
  • by Rikardon ( 116190 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:49PM (#7884795)
    The term "Slashdot Effect" is now one of only three clickable (i.e. searchable) links under their search box, suggesting that these folks at least have a sense of humour. Brownie points for that.
  • by fupeg ( 653970 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:56PM (#7884861)
    From my own experience with developing search technologies for an e-content site, these guys are on the right track. Compared to a lot of search technologies out there, Google is dumb. But it is blazing fast, general purpose, and smarter than most of its (former) compettitors. Part of why it is dumb is that it is so general purpose. To make a search engine smarter, you have to add context. Specialized search engines can do this by standardizing their inputs. Google could do this too, but it would require complex parsing of everything that it spiders.

    Another thing that Google really lacks is detection of duplicates. Google tries to do this, but does it poorly. I remember recently doing a search on Google for an obscure DB2 error code, and getting the same page out of the IBM manual over and over again, all on different college websites.
    This is another area where linguistic/statistical analysis could really help. Most knowledge-base products offer a "More Like This" feature that is an index of linguistic similarities between items. An easy way to detect duplicates with such a system is to have a fine scale and place an uppler limit on similarities, i.e. any two items with a similarity > N are likely to be duplicates.

    All of this being said, I would be surprised if Google does not address these issues in the very near future. I do not think they have gone down the path that many large companies go down where they stop trying to innovate and instead just try to protect their turf.
  • by Lxy ( 80823 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @06:02PM (#7884905) Journal
    Here's the Google Cache [] of Vivisimo.
  • by spaceyhackerlady ( 462530 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @07:54PM (#7886071)

    A colleague just asked me a technical question. He said he'd normally look it up on google, but figured it would be faster to ask me.

    There's probably a moral there, somewhere.


Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser