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Internet Search Engines

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					Julie Johnson
10 February 2011

Internet Search Engines
Go to the Homepage for the search engine you generally use. Look for a link to Search tips,
Help, Directions, or something that will lead you to a page describing how the search engine
works. Try to find answers to the following questions. Any surprises?

Google.com

1. How does it add sites to its database? How big is the database?
     (do sites have to register or does the search engine use a “robot” to search them out?)

Google has a page (addurl) that allows a person to submit an URL for inclusion in their index.
Not all submissions are guaranteed to appear. A person may also submit web-content and site-
map information. Google is now also offering free business listings.

Google also utilizes crawlers, aka “Googlebots” to search for sites.

The index – as of early 2011 – is roughly 100 million gigabytes, covering billions of pages.


2. What kind of searches does it do? (keyword, subject) Does it support all Boolean syntax?
   (AND, OR, NOT)

 Google recommends the use of keywords – and as few as possible. Boolean syntax is
discouraged.

Descriptive words are encouraged.


3. Does it give you any general tips for searching?

The Google Web Search Help page gives general information, then a link to more advanced
search tips.

Every word matters – so being succinct – but descriptive - is recommended.

One example of search parameters: [bats good luck] is preferable to searching [in what country
are bats considered an omen of good luck?]


4. What special punctuation is necessary or helpful?
Punctuation in popular terms that have specific meanings – such as “C++” are not ignored. A
hyphen between two words is not usually ignored. Underscore symbols connecting two words
are considered worthy of attention.

Adding “+” before a word disables synonyms.

5. How does it order/rank responses?

Relevance
Comprehensiveness
Freshness
Speed


6. Any special features? (customizing, etc.)


Google Squared allows the user to customize search results in a table.


7. Overall, how would you rate this search engine? Any special comments?

Google.com is fairly user friendly – as long as the user is not too attached to Boolean search
terms.

The website had quite a bit of information – but it was not actually simple to search for the items
on this worksheet. Some of the information, such as the ranking process, was contextually
buried.

Marketers can access “Google Analytics” to obtain aggregate measurements of how users arrive
at their website so that they can make adjustments that might be more effective for those doing
the browsing.
Internet Search Engines
Go to the Homepage for the search engine you generally use. Look for a link to Search tips,
Help, Directions, or something that will lead you to a page describing how the search engine
works. Try to find answers to the following questions. Any surprises?

Yahoo.com


1. How does it add sites to its database? How big is the database?
     (do sites have to register or does the search engine use a “robot” to search them out?)

Persons may register to “suggest” their site for Yahoo!

Yahoo! Promotes providing “impressions” to businesses on a fixed or “pay per click” basis.

People can “bid” on keywords.

According to the submission page, “The Yahoo! Search index…several billion pages, is more
than 99% populated through the free crawl process.”


2. What kind of searches does it do? (keyword, subject) Does it support all Boolean syntax?
   (AND, OR, NOT)

The advanced search screen allows searches based on specific words, specific phrases, choice of
“any of these words” or “none of these words” – and the search may include all of those options
for any part of the page or in the title of the page. The user may also specify the type of domain
to be searched.

3. Does it give you any general tips for searching.

The simple search screen does not clearly offer any tips for searching.


4. What special punctuation is necessary or helpful?

Punctuation is NOT recommended.


5. How does it order/rank responses?

Most relevant to search terms. “Comparative relevancy”
6. Any special features? (customizing, etc.)

A user may choose to enable “Enhanced Results Modules” from the Yahoo! Gallery.


7. Overall, how would you rate this search engine? Any special comments?

I am not really a fan of Yahoo! The other search engines that I have tried seem to pull more
relevant results.

I now understand that Flickr (used in class) is a Yahoo! product, and that seems to explain some
of the less than user friendly treks that a person must take to get where they want to go!
Internet Search Engines
Go to the Homepage for the search engine you generally use. Look for a link to Search tips,
Help, Directions, or something that will lead you to a page describing how the search engine
works. Try to find answers to the following questions. Any surprises?

Bing.com


1. How does it add sites to its database? How big is the database?
     (do sites have to register or does the search engine use a “robot” to search them out?)

Search engine, index, and web crawler. Database is the world-wide-web.


2. What kind of searches does it do? (keyword, subject) Does it support all Boolean syntax?
   (AND, OR, NOT)

The searches are generally keyword, subject, or specific. Boolean syntax is not supported.

The search bar will allow you to enter mathematical problems, and will then provide the answer.
Kind of cool!


3. Does it give you any general tips for searching.

No specific search tips linked to homepage.

Keywords and subjects are recommended. The basic tip is to try different ideas to see what
comes up.


4. What special punctuation is necessary or helpful?

No special punctuation is recommended.

Regular math symbols – as well as certain words, such as pi – can be used in the search bar to
have Bing calculate.


5. How does it order/rank responses?

Apparently, according to Bing, there are over 1,000 signals used:

“Microsoft admitted that clickstream data from customers who had opted in was collected, but
said that it was just a small piece of over 1000 signals used in their ranking algorithm, and that
their intention was to learn from their collective customers. They stated that Bing was not
intended to be a duplicate of any existing search engines.”


6. Any special features? (customizing, etc.)


Bing is linked to social sites such as Facebook.


7. Overall, how would you rate this search engine? Any special comments?

I personally often use Bing at work, and have been relatively please with the results. I do not
usually end up wasting as much time sorting for the type of result I was looking for.
Internet Search Engines
Go to the Homepage for the search engine you generally use. Look for a link to Search tips,
Help, Directions, or something that will lead you to a page describing how the search engine
works. Try to find answers to the following questions. Any surprises?

Ask.com


1. How does it add sites to its database? How big is the database?
     (do sites have to register or does the search engine use a “robot” to search them out?)

 Previously asked / answered questions, and search of the web by crawler / spider for relevant
information to add to their index.


2. What kind of searches does it do? (keyword, subject) Does it support all Boolean syntax?
   (AND, OR, NOT)

Ask.com searches previously asked (and answered) questions on its own site – and on the web.

Boolean syntax is not supported – but “?” marks are encouraged.

From the ask.com website:
The Ask.com search technology uses semantic and extraction capabilities to recognize the best answer from within a
sea of relevant pages. Instead of 10 blue links, Ask delivers the best answer to user's questions right at the top of the
page. By using an established technique pioneered at Ask, our search technology uses click-through behavior to
determine a site's relevance and extract the answer. Unlike presenting text snippets of the destination site, this
technology presents the actual answer to a user's question without requiring an additional click through. Underpinning
these advancements are Ask.com's innovative DADS, DAFS, and AnswerFarm technologies, which break new
ground in the areas of semantic search, web extraction and ranking. These technologies index questions and
answers from numerous and diversified sources across the web. It then applied its semantic search technology
advancements in clustering, rephrasing, and answer relevance to filter out insignificant and less meaningful answer
formats. In order to extract and rank exciting answers, as opposed to merely ranking web pages, Ask.com continues
to develop a unique algorithms and technologies that are based on new signals for evaluating relevancy specifically
tuned to questions.



3. Does it give you any general tips for searching.

 One tip is to peruse the ask.com subject / frequently asked questions pages. Other than that, the
site will usually direct the user to type in the form of a person asking a regular question. In that
way, it is more supportive of grammatical issues than other search engines.


4. What special punctuation is necessary or helpful?

Question marks are encouraged.
5. How does it order/rank responses?

According to ask.com:


Ask's ExpertRank algorithm provides relevant search results by identifying the most authoritative sites on
the Web. With Ask search technology, it's not just about who's biggest: it's about who's best.

Our ExpertRank algorithm goes beyond mere link popularity (which ranks pages based on the sheer
volume of links pointing to a particular page) to determine popularity among pages considered to be
experts on the topic of your search. This is known as subject-specific popularity. Identifying topics (also
known as "clusters"), the experts on those topics, and the popularity of millions of pages amongst those
experts -- at the exact moment your search query is conducted -- requires many additional calculations
that other search engines do not perform.




6. Any special features? (customizing, etc.)


Ask a question.


7. Overall, how would you rate this search engine? Any special comments?

Ask.com can be useful for some applications, but it is not one that I would want to use every day
– unless I had lots of time to just go exploring.

				
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