Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Accoona - How Does This Search Engine Rate? 139

An anonymous reader asks: "How many of you have tried the new AI-based search engine, Accoona? How does it compare with the other big search engines (Google, MSN Search, Yahoo, etc)? In late 2004, the Associated Press reported that Bill Clinton helped launch the company behind the engine, which is also backed by the Chinese Government. The EETimesUK has another article which describes how the search engine is supposed to work." For those who have tried Accoona, how would you rate the accuracy of its results?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Accoona - How Does This Search Engine Rate?

Comments Filter:
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:04PM (#14912117) Homepage Journal
    I don't think I could remember the spelling.

    I'd probably have to google for it.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, google. Or is it googol? I'll have to accoona for it.
      • Re:To Be Honest (Score:3, Interesting)

        by moro_666 ( 414422 )
        It takes an AI to spell it ...

        Anyway, i'm suspicious about their great "AI". AI is supposed to think on it's own, make attempts to make something new, learn from it's own istakes. Just following the learning path described by the original programmer leaves it still dumb as it is, maybe a bigger databank behind it, but still dumb.

        The search engine isn't really the place for an AI to start up anyway, too much information throughput with too few references.

        You don't get smart by reading
    • Re:To Be Honest (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I guess it could become very popular in Portugal, where accoona means, literally, 'the cunt':

      "-Hey , I have to write a paper about some really obscure subject and I have no idea where to start looking. Any ideas?
      -Sure! Take a look in 'the cunt', I usually find everything I need over there. Couldn't live without it, heh!

    • But who knew that the 7th most popular non adult web search in China is
      Plastic flowerpot manufacturer... 005_03_29_001.jsp []
      So easy-
      1 make plastic flowerpots
      2 Set up Chinese Language e commerce website
      3 Profit
      • But who knew that the 7th most popular non adult web search in China is Plastic flowerpot manufacturer...

        I'm inclined to think that this must be some weird fetish that they didn't catch. Not plastic flowerpots, but plastic flowerpot manufacturers.

    • Perhaps they meant "hakuna" (sp?) as in "hakuna mtate" (aka "no worries" in Kswahili).

    • Hey, it has two O's in the name, just like any successful search engine. Look at what happened to AltaVista. If only DEC had called it AltaVoosta they'd be buying HP and running it into the ground instead.

    • ... googgle, or what is it?

      Same problem.
  • It's Not Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 907022 ) * <> on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:05PM (#14912118) Homepage Journal
    What response do you expect form Slashdot members?
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:08PM (#14912138)
    Why would I use a search engine that I never heard of, much less know how spell it's name. I have a hard time with Google and Yahoo as it is.
  • so I think it is a stinking pile of shit
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I completely agree. For me, javascript is a death-knell for Internet sites. (As are Flash, cookies, registration, DRM).

      Oh, and for all the clueless webpage "coders" who wouldn't know user-friendly usability if it hauled off and slapped them in the head, all itchy at the keyboard ready to type such pithy clever-isms in response to yours and my posts such as, "Gee, the Internet for you must be a lonely place" ...

      Guess what? It's not. It works just fine without your clueless webpages. It must be a lonely
      • You anti-javascript types seem really bitter. You can code all your functionallity in CGI if you want, but to abandon javascript and cookies. How do you have user accounts without cookies? Log in every page refresh? Use Apache authentication? That pop up user id/password is ugly, it blocks your site unless you have an account and it has no "log out" method. I just don't see anything beyond static web content with js and cookies unless it's horribly over programmed on the server side.
        • Using Javascript is fine but a site should work without it whenever possible. The same for cookies, Java, Flash, CSS, etc. I use most of these but I go out of my way to make sure my website's will work without them. So long as it tries to work without these then I'm all for using them as needed to provide a good experience.

          I think some people are insane with their complaining about cookies. Cookies are essentially harmless and aren't at all needed by website's to track you. Unless you switch IP addresses be
        • Perhaps it is because Javascript is not available on every platform and we believe in accessibility.

          All of my sites have Javascript in them, my latest even make extensive use of XMLHttpRequest, neither of which are REQUIRED to make it work.

          FFS that web search is a text input and three buttons.

          You display your ignorance with "Apache authentication" it is HTTP Authentication. But you are right about not being able to log out. It was not until the world of Firefox Extensions that such a feature was available.

  • by hacker ( 14635 ) <> on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:12PM (#14912167)

    I just tried it with several of our OSS project pages (which rank PR7 or higher), and Accoona doesn't even list the main project homepage well into the 4th and 5th page of results. I gave up after that. Google, Yahoo and MSN all have the project pages as the first or second hit, across all three of those engines.

    • That really doesn't say anything other than that this search engine differs from more traditional search engines. That could be true if it has severe deficiencies, or it could be true if it was significantly better than the others. It really depends on whether the pages you are talking about are most relevant to the particular keywords you used, for this search engine's intended audience.

      • I searched for the projects, by name. Plucker [] for example..

        Now try the same search in Accoona []. I went well into the 4th and 5th page of results and STILL didn't find a link to the actual project page itself. In fact, there are 30,241 results returned, but I went onto the 14th page just now, and STILL not a single link to the project page.

        AI or not, it isn't returning results for what I'm searching for.

        • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:21PM (#14912516)

          I agree, it's a poor set of results. I was assuming you were searching for something like Ant and getting a lot of pages about real ants, but that's obviously not the case - the result set includes lots of pages about the software, but the most relevant site isn't well ranked.

          Looking through the results, it seems as though it's working with a quality weighting that is unrelated to the search term. If you look at the highest ranked websites, a lot of them are websites with an enormous number of inbound links, but not necessarily a lot of inbound links for that particular search term. Thus websites like Wikipedia, Sourceforge, Debian Packages, etc get ranked highly because they are popular websites, and the actual project website isn't ranked as well because although it's more relevant for the search terms, it's less popular overall.

          I expect this is a reasonable approach when you are searching for terms for which a lot of websites are equally valuable, but breaks down for specialised areas where there are "canonical" URIs.

    • I tried the name of a friend (pulls up 12 hits on Google) and got a single hit. Not very promising. As well, the home page looks like a clone of Google. They could have made a succinct home page but still been original at the same time.
    • Wow, even my puny little gets first page rank in a search for its name. You must have chosen a bad project name. Here's a hint: project names that consist of a single common word are hard to search for. :-D

      But seriously... it did have a hard time when I asked it for deck2omf [] (Google PR1). Not a surprise---sort of a project that maybe three people in the world care about---but that project also includes some really useful binary diff tools that folks might find helpful (specifically designed

  • Accoona looks exactly like Google does. I'm all for trying new websites, but Accoona looks like nothing more but a copycat. If they used innovation rather imitation to build up their user base, then I might have gave them a little more consideration.
    • Who cares about looks? It seems to work rather well, although I'm not ready to switch just yet.
    • Re:Looks like... (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The imitation is only skin deep. The innovation is in the code that performs the search, not the HTML that presents it to the user.
      The about page gives more detail : []
      If You want innovation in web page design, a search engine is probably the wrong place to look. They will be far more inclined to go with a familiar, functional, design...
      Besides, with a search engine, it is what is behind in, the search itself, not the HTML, that counts.
      • If it ever becomes successful, that innovation won't last long.

        What Google started, their innovative "page ranking" algorithm was widely hyped. The effect was that web sites started to abuse the system by various means to increase their ranking. The only way that Google could fight against this was to change their algorithm in all sorts of ways to downgrade the cheating sites. Of course Google must keep these changes secret, to prevent people from finding ways to exploit them. I bet if you look at what Go

  • Doesn't work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tango42 ( 662363 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:20PM (#14912227)
    It's meant to do all kinds of clever things - I took a look, even read the FAQ, and after a couple of minutes gave up. I couldn't work out how to make it do anything other than be a standard search engine that seemed to give worse results than google. A SE that I have to spend ages working out how to use isn't worth the hassle.
  • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:23PM (#14912247) Homepage Journal
    it has a nice feed and you can blog to it
  • by babbling ( 952366 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:29PM (#14912269)
    So, the company was helped with launching by a former US president, and the search engine is backed by the Chinese government? Sounds pretty suspicious to me.
    • The Chinese government is a reference? article about launch [] "China Daily Information Company (CDIC), partners with China Communications Corp (CCC), is set to engine." The only thing worse would be a search engine controlled by the US government. (That wasn't a joke.)
    • You're not the only one who was given pause by that.

      Why do I suspect that a search engine backed by the Chinese government might not give you the helpful "Links have been removed by order of some guy with a gun" messages at the bottom of censored results?

      Actually I've been surprised for a while that the PRC didn't just start it's own search engine and blocking everything else. (Although I guess why bother, when you can get U.S. companies to bid against each other to do your censorship.)

      However, they do seem
  • Is very creepy. And the layout is a direct copy of google. Sooo...
  • by blamanj ( 253811 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:33PM (#14912288)
    I tried a search with a two-word quoted string, and the first result had the two words in separate paragraphs. That's not good.
  • let me guess (Score:5, Insightful)

    by minus_273 ( 174041 ) <> on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:33PM (#14912296) Journal
    "Bill Clinton helped launch the company behind the engine, which is also backed by the Chinese Government. "

    that pretty much eliminates it from my book. As bad as google is, i don't my search engine directly controlled by the Chinese Communist party AND Bill Clinton. I imagine searching for Tianamen [] wont get you much compared to Google since it never happened...
  • I tested a few queries on it and it found everything I was looking for on the homepage. This is an interesting search engine though.

    Slightly offtopic - does anyone have any information on how Google ranks pages? I've read this page [] which has some really good information in it, but does anyone know of any other guides on search engine optimization with google?
  • by The Waxed Yak ( 548771 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:36PM (#14912309)
    Granted, the number of pages indexed can be a misleading metric... but in the 20 minutes I've spent with it so far, I'm finding that a significant number of the pages I'm searching for are not in their index.

    Maybe the things I'm searching for are a bit esoteric, but I think these guys are in for a serious game of catch-up since everything I searched for is readily available via Google.

    You can have the best search algorithm in the world, but if your pool of data to search is smaller than the other guy, you're going to have a hard time of it. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see another player out there pushing Google, to force them to innovate more than they have. But if these guys have been in the business since 2004, they've had plenty of time to index pages.
  • Matata (Score:5, Funny)

    by PuppiesOnAcid ( 792320 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:45PM (#14912341) Homepage Journal
    Now someone just needs to make a search engine called "Matata", and we'd have no worries for the rest of our days.
    • Did you read that that's actually where the name came from? Because if not, I bow to your Disneyfied mind.
      • Did you read that [a movie well-protected by Disney copyrights and trademarks is] actually where the name came from?

        Are the operators of this search engine expecting a letter from Disney's lawyers? (cite: tarr [])

        • Re:Matata (Score:4, Informative)

          by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:28AM (#14913418) Homepage
          a) It's the name of a song [], not a movie.
          b) Titles [] can't be copyrighted.
          c) Trademarks can only be enforced against confusingly similar products. IE, not a search engine vs. a theme park.
          d) The Disney spelling is Hakuna Matata [].
          e) The tradmark is Class 25 (See: Your own link) which means it's for clothing [].

          So no, to answer your question, they're not.
          • It's the name of a song, not a movie.

            The song was first published in a movie titled The Lion King.

            Trademarks can only be enforced against confusingly similar products.

            This was true until the mid-1990s, when the United States and other countries enacted laws regulating dilution of sufficiently famous trademarks []. As for whether a dilution claim will succeed, you're also assuming that Disney won't drag out the trial long enough to bankrupt the defendant.

            • by StikyPad ( 445176 )
              The song was first published in a movie titled The Lion King.

              It doesn't matter if the song was published on a CD, in a movie, or through mindwaves; the title of that song cannot be copyrighted.

              There exists a trademark of the phrase "Hakuna Matata" on clothing. The trademark registration says nothing of "The Lion King." Using one word from a trademark with a different spelling for an unrelated product over which there is no trademark is a huge stretch. You might as well say Burger King is likely to get su
              • the title of that song cannot be copyrighted.

                Granted. I wasn't suggesting that the title could be copyrighted but that the work could be used as evidence of the trademark's fame.

                Using one word from a trademark with a different spelling for an unrelated product over which there is no trademark is a huge stretch. You might as well say Burger King is likely to get sued because their name is diluting the Lion King, since lions obviously are not burgers.

                Disney Enterprises and Burger King Brands are bot

  • I did a search for my full name which appears on my blog, yet it couldn't find it! I tried a few other searchs and the coverage of my blog seems pretty useless all round.

    It also doesn't seem to accept double-quotes to indicate phrases, which is a very important feature for me!
  • by Aaron Isotton ( 958761 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:49PM (#14912367)

    I'm a little skeptical. A search engine with a smiley in its logo? That's so 1999! But the FAQ puts me into an even more pessimistic mood. IMHO this Accoona thing is just lots of marketing speak, but doesn't really offer anything new, neither from the usability nor from the technology point of view.

    To quote from the FAQ:

    Accoona gives you the ability to use Artificial Intelligence technology to SuperTarget Your Search(TM)
    SuperTarget Your Search TM depends on sophisticated Artificial Intelligence technology, but Accoona makes this feature easy to use. Accoona adds another step in which you see the words you typed in your search query appear separately. All you have to do is click on the most important word in the phrase.
    Accoona's Artificial Intelligence uses the meaning of words to get you better results. For example, when you type five keywords in a traditional search engine, you're going to get every page that has all five keywords, no more, no less. With Accoona's Artificial Intelligence Software, which understands the meaning of the query, the user will get many additional results.
    Accoona's Artificial Intelligence also allows you to SuperTarget Your Search TM. For example, within a query of five keywords, Accoona Artificial Intelligence lets the user select one keyword so that the search results are ranked to favor pages where the meaning of that one keyword is more important than the meaning of the other four keywords.

    As far as I can see, this means that

    • They understand synonyms and add them to your query "intelligently". I'm not sure whether this is really a good thing. It's probably useful sometimes, but will be a pain if the AI decides to add some bogus terms to your query. By the way, since Google looks at the content of the links pointing to a page they also have this kind of "related words" feature. With the difference that theirs is not based on AI, but on people.
    • You can give different weights to the words you're looking for. I hoped not to see that ever again. This simply means that you're going to try multiple combinations priorities if you're really desperately looking for something.

    Ah, and one last thing. Accoona doesn't have "teh snappy". It's just too damn slow. And I'm not waiting for search engines EVER AGAIN.

    • And I'm not waiting for search engines EVER AGAIN

      Well put. What I never see mentioned when anyone is talking about Google's success is that, due to their bloat-free design and the fact that they actually seemed to give a shit about the user experience, pages loaded damn fast. I started using Google when I was still on dialup because I got sick and tired of other Search engines' load times. That was what vaulted Google to the top, not PageRank. If they had debuted just a year or two later, when broadba

  • The face is scary.
    Connections with Bill makes me think connections with the government.
    The direct copy cat interface of google, reminds of recent requests for google searches from the DOJ.

    All in all, I find the search engine scary, and won't use it. I just can't get over the fealing that it might be an instrument of big brother, and the AI isn't to get better search results, but to analyse the search itself.
  • Never heard of this search before, but it's gotta be awesome: my site [] came up first [] when I search for 'BTEG'.

    Take THAT Black Training and Enterprise Group []!
  • it has no image search, nor can it search usenet. it won't add 2+2 nor does it tell me what the weather is.

    also, searching for my alias loteck on google gives me an ego boost, accoonaing my nickname wants to sell me bad techno, it would appear.

    Yeah, thats right. "Accoonaing"? Never gonna happen.

  • Best! Why? It got past the loading stage. I'm glad they chose a light and simple interface. Speedy as hell even under a /.'ing. Maybe they don't index as much as google yet but the search itself seemed reasonable. Google really shines when it comes to finding obscure things.
  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:01PM (#14912427)
    An anonymous shill asks, "Try our search engine! Please!!"

    • I don't see anything wrong with a more or less shameless plug for another search engine here (as clearly opposed to shameless plugs for online shops and the like).

      Think about it like this:

      A search engine only makes money through advertising / sponsored links; not through your visit as such. (unlike online shops which need to sell something straight to you).

      Running an "article" on slashdot is, if indeed issued by them, a brave thing - it will bring loads of traffic; and if the search engine isn't up to scra
  • I just checked it out really quickly and noticed some serious flaws. They're such basic things that it is a little distburning.

    1. They do not show you the link under each results, they only show you the domain. So in the quick search that I did I ended up with a ton of results at the same domain, but can't tell which one is which.

    2. I figure ok, I'll just mouse over the link to see where it goes to... NOPE, does not work.

    3. It's definitely missing a lot of links. In searching for something that I am f

  • I tried a few searches before realizing the lack of a cache made many of the results useless. The engine spits back a tiny portion of the page, but there's no guarantee that page hasn't moved or changed. For example, for dynamic pages such as the slashdot front page, the engine incorrectly indexes it. Clicking on the link takes you to a new and updated version of the page, devoid of the original search term that brought you there. This was okay 5 or 6 years ago before Google went mainstream, but now I tend
  • Ya, I'd have to say accoona, has a long way to go. I did a simple search for "Aaron C. Berg" and I got a resume from a geocities page. Now granted that is mine but it is also about 5 years old. Google returns 64 URL's which details my online presense for the last 8 years where I used my name. returned 5 and Yahoo returned 15. Google wins again. None of the search engines found :-(
  • Acoona.....any relation to muhtattah?

    oh, what a wonderful thing.
  • AI huh. (Score:3, Informative)

    by moochfish ( 822730 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:21PM (#14912512)

    So I read this little press release and I wasn't that impressed. You want to talk about context parsing? Google started that type of search innovation []. Not commonly known is that Google even suppresses ads when it guesses its users are searching without any intentions of making purchases, such as for research. This is illustrated here:

    Search Argentina []
    Search Population []
    Search Both [] (no ads)

    I'd say that's pretty contextual if you ask me. This search engine is a bunch of hype, and much farther behind than it thinks.

    • I got an ad from the third search:

      Learn Spanish really fast
      An astonishingly fast and easy way
      to learn Spanish. Words just stick

      but it didn't interfere with my use of the browser, so I don't care.
  • So it seems that a double o is the marker for search engines.

    Google, Yahoo, Accoona

    Other markers I've noticed are that hamburger joints are yellow and red, and that ED drugs must end in -a.
  • Accoona presently isn't rated by "" ... Therefore, it goes at the bottom of the list.

    1. Google
    2. Yahoo
    3. AskJeeves
    4. AllTheWeb
    5. AolSearch
    6. HotBot
    7. Teoma
    8. AltaVista
    9. GigaBlast
    10. LookSmart
    11. Lycos
    12. MSN Search
    13. Netscape Search
    14. DMOZ
    100. Accoona

    Yep. I think it might register as a minor roadbump in Google's quest to take over the world.
  • Am I the only one that read that as an A1-based search engine? I couldn't think what steak sauce, even fantastic steak sauce, could bring to search engine technology, though I'm sure it would be delicious. Oh well, another dream dashed.
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:33PM (#14912585) Homepage Journal
    It's interesting that the buzzword "A.I." can still generate interest among Slashdotters. In the industrying, labelling something "A.I." is fatal, because there's so much unfulfilled hype associated with that term. Which was never that useful, being rather vague.

    Whatever the technology behind it, you won't get me to try a new search engine by talking about the technology behind it. You need to tell me exactly how my search results will differ from what I'll get from Google. And even then you've got a tough sell. I used to keep a links menu for all the different search engines so I could refer to them in case I found Google's results unsatisfactory. Finally got rid of this menu: I rarely referred to it, and when I did, I never got any hits that Google had missed.

  • "An anonymous reader asks..." Nice one. If you're going to try free marketing feedback from a large population of geeks, the first thing you need to do is be honest about who you are. We hate obscurity and we hate marketers -- you could at least make a peace offering by naming yourself.

    If you've got a problem with what I've said, you're welcome to reply. I signed my digital name to this post.

  • I'd say it works []
  • Spyware! (Score:2, Informative)

    by japaget ( 836976 )
    The URL "" is listed as a spyware site by both Spybot Search and Destroy [] and by MVPS []. Both of these modify the /etc/hosts file to map "" to
  • does it come with a free intern?
  • It's backed by the Chinese governement, but it can't handle Unicode correctly.

    Something smells like incompetence here.
  • Couldn't find squish, my little web game, even given the hint that it was on ptth. Google finds 4 pages of relevant hits. [] c&charset=utf-8&la=en [] &ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozill a:en-US:official []
  • It doesn't.

    When/if it does, you won't have to come here and Slashvertise to know it either, as we will already be talking about it.

    /. Editors, FYI this is the sort of advertisement that /.'ers dislike the most. If your gonna sell-out /. like this, I hope that you are getting paid well to do so.

  • by IamGarageGuy 2 ( 687655 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @01:00AM (#14913549) Journal
    Search for Accoona spyware (google or Accoona) and you will see how they advertise. This is not only spyware, but they are apparently spammers, according to Wikpedia. How did this get on slashdot? I am amazed that a site on /. is an ad for spyware. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist , but is this the end of /.
  • by ( 579491 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @01:13AM (#14913591)
    Yahoo and Google are the only search engines that are considered successful right now... Altavista, WebSpider, A9... these have all fallen by the wayside. Why? None of them have two letter Os next to each other. Accoona does. I predict it will be a smashing success.
  • Interestingly... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ajdlinux ( 913987 )
    Use the 'find out about %s' link to go to, and notice the logo. Have they changed hands recently, or launched a whole new site?
  • Bill Clinton helped launch the company behind the engine, which is also backed by the Chinese Government.

    Yeah, it's affiliated with two obvious sources for true and unbiased information.

    Perjury and oppression of the masses, way to go Accoona!

  • Blasphemy!

    Google is the future.
    Google does no evil.
    There is no Internet, only Googlenet.
    Google made me the man I am today.
    If Google says it's so, it's so.
    I don't want to live in a world without Google.
    Google for president.
    We should pray for Google every night before we go to sleep.
    If Christ has risen, He's working for Google.

  • I tried the search terms "ims nat stun" in Accoona and Google (IMS is a variation of SIP for mobile telecoms - it has a problem with NAT and STUN is a protocol which mitigates the problem). Google gave 14700 results, with the early ones all relevant. Accoona gave three (!) results, all from a single source, covering a single press release.
    • Accoona gave three (!) results, all from a single source, covering a single press release.

      That's because you clicked the "news" button and thus searched their news archive. Had you pressed the "web" button you would have received 200 results. Certainly that's less than 14,700, but how deep into Google's results do you need to go? "Yeah, here's what I was looking for, right at item 8297." returns 1,732 and Yahoo 782. Interestingly, (a metasearch engine) returned only 33.

      But I digres
  • Note that all search results you click on is tracked by on this Chinese gov't sponsored website... :-p
  • 1) I haven't used (heard of) this one before.

    2) It's Slashdotted (no response.) Google can survive a Slashdotting.

    Me sticking to Google. :)

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.