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Essential Features of a General Web Search Engine

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Joined: 08 May 2004
Posts: 11
Location: Osterhofen, Bavaria, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While the media is just looking at the three big players (Google, Yahoo, MS), there are a lot of smaller engines being developed. Some of then try do differentiate themselves from the big ones providing special features. So the question is: What features are essential for a general search engine in the near future?

* Being as spam free as possible,
* Having a big index.
* Clustering search results. (like Vivisimo)
* Localized Search ("show me all lawyers in D-94486 Osterhofen")
* Personalized Search (with all its variations)
* Answering queries asked in natural language.
* Presenting results in a graphical way. (like Kartoo)
<a href='' target='_blank'></a> - die Suchmaschinen-Alternative (Testversion)
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Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that it would be nearly impossible to compete head-to-head with the top 5 engines.... I think what would make more sense is to offer something that these top engines can't or won't offer. (If you can come up with something like this, please let me know so I can get to work on it!)

I believe that the user interface must be easier to use than what is currently offered by google/yahoo/msn, and not more complicated. Statistics show that hardly anyone uses the "advanced search" features that these sites offer. People want to type in 1 - 3 words and have the web site read their minds, finding what they want in just a few clicks. I don't know how to accomplish this, but I know that sometimes this means having a smaller index rather than a larger one.

My experience has been that one of the most important functions of a search engine is to display results fast. I've had sites receive twice as many searches after the search time was cut in half. Seems like people may tolerate irrelevant results better than slow results.

Then there's the issue of profitability. For any web site to last, it must earn enough money to pay the people who make it work. Google has proven that sometimes people actually appreciate advertising, as long as it helps the user find what he or she wants.

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Joined: 08 Apr 2006
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that bit of info... I was dreading having to add an advanced search to mine!!!

Come to think of it, I don't bother with using advanced search myself. I think I must try get mine to mind-read sometime, like you say! Laughing

It's true though, seems like people just want to type in two or three words, or even a whole sentence (I sometimes do that if two or three words gives me the wrong results)

<b><a href='' target='_blank'>WebWobot Search Engine</a></b><br><a href='' target='_blank'> ~ No Ordinary Debate!</a>
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Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My own personal beef is that general search engines must do better to understand what a user wants, and how information is presented on the web. It's been known for quite a while now that user queries cover a range of purposes and intents, e.g., question answering, service location etc., but we still only have keywords and boolean operators to create queries. This means the user has to make the query as basic as possible in order to create a large enough "net" with which to catch approrpiate web pages. So, I would like a general search engine with a better (i.e., more intelligent) query front end that took some of the load off of the user.

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Joined: 12 Apr 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always wondered why there are so many directories on page 1 of the serps on the big engines. It is one thing if I search for "directory" "widgets", but when I search for widgets, and then have to search a directory, to .. well, it gets discouraging.

I am also extremely curious whether the majority of consumers (vs academics) are looking more for answers or for sites about. IOW, are 2 and 3 word searches specific enough to find pages with final answers?

How many layers deep a crawler goes depends a lot on the size of the index.

My first impression is that a consumer subject search engine should not even index pages with query strings. Maybe that's a really foolish comment, but it would eliminate a lot of affiliate pages. As an example, I know of a travel website with thousands of affiliate pages indexed because of dynamic links to hotel booking pages.

I agree wholeheartedly about clustering.

I also think prefetching might be a good idea of it gives faster searches.
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