Greg Notess and Gary Price, two genuine experts on search engines and our choices.
Greg and Gary both start out by saying "Google's not the only answer." It's the job of information professionals to know all of the options, not just the most popular one. Gary notes how hard it is for anybody but Google to get the word out about their products.
Current web search engines with unique databases
MSN (says librarians really should pay more attention to this!)
* dogpile (one of the few that hits all 4)
- findory (heh...I just had dinner with the ceo of this.)
Greg says that he doesn't like to start his searches with Google. As a reference librarian, if he starts with something other than Google it boosts his credibility with patrons--he's not just doing the same thing that they do! :) Shows the example of a discussion list posting that was only available on Yahoo (not on Google or MSN). If you care about comprehensivenss, you have to be willing to use multiple sources.
AskJeeves give you a different kind of relevance view. Says they've come the farthest on "quick info" on a search. Shows a search on "Chicago" as an example. He and Gary then also show a search on "the Beatles," which gives you a variety of useful "expand your search" options. They note that AskJeeves have reduced the number of ads on their pages, which many people don't realize. (In contrast to other
MSN Search is up next. Acknowledges that not all Microsoft products are best of breed. BUT...MSN search is no longer powered by other people's indexes, and right now they're doing a better job than anyone else of keeping things fresh. They also mention that MSN Search gives you free access to Encarta content. You get two hours of access each time you do a search leading to Encarta (can limit to Encarta only, or let it be part of the overall results). They haven't promoted it, but it's a feature that librarians should be promoting--particularly as a comparison to wikipedia.
Shows MSN's search builder, which is great for showing people how to build complex searches--uses drop-down boxes and sliders for ranking. They don't show start.com; will have to ping them about that, because I suspect they may not be aware of it.
Next up is Yahoo; they recommend that people use search.yahoo.com rather than yahoo.com, to avoid clutter. Shows that you can edit the tabs (there's a tiny "edit" link up there...) to the kinds of vertical/specialized searches you want. (That's cool! I didn't know that!) If you're logged into Yahoo, the settings will follow you. In advanced search, they show off the creative commons option, as well as their "subscriptions" search, which is extremely interesting (Mary Ellen mentioned this on Monday, too). He shows the blog search stuff that's been added (that's another post that's brewing for me; I'm extremely unimpressed by their implementation of blog search). Then they show Mindset, as well--again, I don't love that shopping/research is the only axis. Shows the shift from "did you mean"
Complains about lack of transparency in how search engines (especially Google) works.
Damn. I need to go to the airport, and will miss the metasearch and vertical search discussion. Hopefully someone else will blog it...I'm outta here!