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Google and Search
Old 01-01-2007, 06:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi,

There is an interesting NY Times article http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/01/te...ss&oref=slogin that discusses start-ups wanting to dethrone Google.

Quote:
“There’s definitely a segment of the market that thinks we are crazy,” said Charles Moldow, a partner at Foundation Capital, a venture capital firm that is Powerset’s principal financial backer. “In 2000, some people thought Google was crazy.”

Powerset is hardly alone. Even as Google continues to outmaneuver its main search rivals, Yahoo and Microsoft, plenty of newcomers — with names like hakia, ChaCha and Snap — are trying to beat the company at its own game. And Wikia Inc., a company started by a founder of Wikipedia, plans to develop a search engine that, like the popular Web-based encyclopedia, would be built by a community of programmers and users.
What I found interesting is that there are still venture capital monies available for newer and better search engines. The field has not been left to Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. It's a tough competitive business.

The NY Times article is free with registration. I think the free period lasts for 7 days or something like that.

Best regards,
Kevin
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Re: Google and Search
Old 01-01-2007, 08:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The thing that really bothers me about all of this, is the hype given by the media. The three you mention are guilty of nothing much more than an excellent marketing strategy. Everyone was ready to hang Gates out to dry because he refused to break up his company. Everyone wanted a piece of the pie, without spending any time in the kitchen. Same with Yahoo and Google. I personally do not use Google. I was using Teoma, which was as quick and as thorough as Google. They used the same technology. They were bought out by Google. I also used, and continue to use alltheweb.com for searches. Just as quick, just as concise, minus all the grey-market downloads and advertisements. If Google, Yahoo and MS are able to build their kingdoms through marketing and acquistion of the competition, more power to them.
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Re: Google and Search
Old 01-01-2007, 09:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freneticist View Post
The thing that really bothers me about all of this, is the hype given by the media.
But search has become an important part of people's lives. It is how many of us get our information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freneticist View Post
The three you mention are guilty of nothing much more than an excellent marketing strategy.
I am not so sure. Yahoo! missed its earnings last quarter, in large part, because of the delays with its new search Panama. If Yahoo is bashing its brains out to develop a new search engine called Panama, I wouldn't call that a "marketing strategy" as much as I would call it research and development.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freneticist View Post
Everyone was ready to hang Gates out to dry because he refused to break up his company. Everyone wanted a piece of the pie, without spending any time in the kitchen. Same with Yahoo and Google.
I am trying to connect the dots here but am not having much success. How does Gates not breaking up the company tie into Google and search?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freneticist View Post
I personally do not use Google. I was using Teoma, which was as quick and as thorough as Google. They used the same technology. They were bought out by Google. I also used, and continue to use alltheweb.com for searches. Just as quick, just as concise, minus all the grey-market downloads and advertisements.
Yes, there are lots of alternatives. Some like to use a search engine called http://clusty.com/ . Me, I continue to use Google. It suits my needs well, and it is convenient.

While they may share similar technologies, I suspect that they are not the same. In fact, if you go to Teoma's website and browse around a bit, you'll find the following:

http://sp.ask.com/en/docs/about/webmasters.shtml

Quote:
History

Teoma has been the heart of Ask search technology since 2001. The power of the Teoma algorithm, now known as ExpertRank, makes Ask one of the world's most powerful and unique search engines. Two significant events helped develop Ask search technology. First, in 1999, Ask acquired Direct Hit, a Massachusetts company that had developed the world's first "click popularity" search technology, which was licensed to MSN and Lycos, among others. Second, in 2001, Ask acquired Teoma, a 10-person start-up out of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and its unique index and search relevancy technology. Teoma was the first, and is still the only, major search technology based upon the clustering concept of subject-specific popularity: ExpertRank. In fact, Teoma means "expert" in Gaelic.

How it works

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. The result is world-class relevance that often offers a unique editorial flavor compared to other search engines.
Although not an expert in search engine technologies, I would venture that Teoma's technology is most definitely different Google's, based upon the desciption above. By the way, the forum has a resident search engine specialist, R Frederick Smith. He might be able to shed more light should he choose to read and reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freneticist View Post
If Google, Yahoo and MS are able to build their kingdoms through marketing and acquistion of the competition, more power to them.
Yes, all companies usually try to do that--that is, beat or buy their competition.

The reason for mentioning the NY Times article was for general interest. Photographers are putting images out into the internet and need to be aware of the various search engines. In fact, RFS has an article How Google Image Search Works 1.01 outlining how Google's image search works.

I was and am not advocating a position. Rather, I am just sharing information.
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Re: Google and Search
Old 01-02-2007, 12:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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There are so many search engines out there because everyone thinks they can bring a better system to the table to find what someone is looking for. In reality, at present, you have to be willing to use several search engines to really cover the field of any given search. This requires the user to have a basic knowledge of how the engines work.

The difficultly comes because each SE tries to keep their methods secret. This is not only to one up their competitors but to try and stay ahead of the spam artists who try to "game" the SE and get top positions. But even if you have a legitimate web page and you want to score high, you often have to use every trick you can find and get as close to the edge as you can without going over. For example, you can use a "stealth" type method where you serve different pages to different IP addresses for the same page request. One page designed for the SE and the other for the public. The SEs don't like this, but will allow it in some cases if it is not abused (primarily for database driven sites that are very large).

Wikia Incs idea is sort of a re-hash of what we've seen in the pass. DMOZ which is still used by Google somewhat is basically a user defined and edited catalog of sites. The problem with all of these kinds of methods is that they allow those who are the editors to control the content and influence the ranking of results. This means that if your competitor is an editor (and it happens more times than you think), you may find your site sinking to the bottom, or sometimes even vanishing from these kinds of indexes. If done cleverly, they can often get a way with it. I've been dealing with this kind of stuff for over 10 years and have often had to spend a year or more to dislodge an editor that is gaming the system.

Another part of the mix is the Pay Per Clicks (PPC) and how each of the major players use this as part of their SE strategy. Yahoo has just made major changes to their PPC and as introduced changes that make it similar to parts of Google's system. MSN has a totally different model. In the next few years I would expect to see some radical changes in the PPC areas. As it is now, giant companies like eBay, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others buy up every keyword and phrase, even though they are often not taking you to a relevant page.

The other interesting thing about the major engines is how they will let certain types of sites "game" the system, but will penalize other types of business who use the same strategies. For example the porn sites are still able to use "keyword spamming" and get away with it, but just let a normal website try the same thing and they can get banned.

I use several different search engines regularly. A couple of these are of note and you may want to check them out. Here is the first (owned by Yahoo):

http://mindset.research.yahoo.com/

Play with the slider to see how it changes the results.


One of the most unique is a graphical visual clustering site with a odd name. It is: Kartoo

http://www.kartoo.com/

Try hovering over any of the results (in all areas of the screen) to see what you can do or what info you can gain. Look at connecting lines and point and them. I use this one fairly often.

You might also look at a site like

http://www.webcrawler.com/

If you want to see how a "m e t a" search engine works.

There are lots of tricks to searching. Often you have to try and guess how people who have created websites that might have information you want to find might have designed the websites that display the information. Often the obvious search may fail simply because the designers didn't make the right choices. The more you know about how not to design a SE friendly site, the easier it often is to find those sites.

Anyway, if you your interested in more detail on any of these topics, I'll be happy to add my point of view from time to time.

All for now.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Google and Search
Old 01-02-2007, 01:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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RFS,

Thank you very much for your post above. I think many of us could benefit from a general increased knowledge of how search engines work and how to effectively use them. If you care to provide us with articles periodically, I would be a loyal reader.

I have a blog (financial stuff) and have noticed that my Google page rank bounces around tremendously. It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me, so the more I learn, the better. And I am sure that others who have photography related blogs would benefit as well.

Best regards,
Kevin
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Re: Google and Search
Old 01-03-2007, 01:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R_Fredrick_Smith View Post
As it is now, giant companies like eBay, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others buy up every keyword and phrase...
Excuse my lack of knowledge of such matters... but buy from whom?

Aren't words in the language public domain unless they are a registered or something trademark name like Kodak?

I'd like to get into the business of selling keywords... Sounds like a low overhead operation with some significant profit potential.
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Re: Google and Search
Old 01-03-2007, 01:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Excuse my lack of knowledge of such matters... but buy from whom?

Aren't words in the language public domain unless they are a registered or something trademark name like Kodak?

I'd like to get into the business of selling keywords... Sounds like a low overhead operation with some significant profit potential.
When I talk about buying a keyword, I'm basically saying that they bid on every keyword or phrase whether it is relevant to a specific page or their site or not. By doing this they often end up at the top of the PPC's for many search phrases that are not really relevant. Here is an example:



I searched for "softbox roger the great". But note that shopzilla and ebay have bid high for the keyword "softbox" and they have bid in such a way that if the word softbox appears anywhere in the phrase, then they will come up. But if you go to either of these pages, you will not find anything about "roger the great" which means that they are not relevant to my search.

Lots of advertisers who use PPC with Yahoo or Google or MSN, etc, do not like the practice of allowing these giant companies to buy up so many words when they dilute the search results. And if fact, you will often get keywords rejected by Yahoo and MSN if they find them not relevant to the page that the ad takes them to. Google also has this policy but only enforces it in a fairly selective way. The larger the company the more likely all of the big three are to allow them to bid on any keyword they want.

As far as trademarks, neither of the three search engines in question will stop advertisers from using them. It is up to the advertiser to complain if he sees some one bidding on his trademark. I regularly manage PPC accounts for large companies (some spending $10,000 or more a month on Google alone). One of the things I do (along with monitoring for click fraud by competitors, etc) for these companies is watch for competitor's bidding on the trademarked name of the company. When they do, I send a copy of a lawyer's letter to them asking them to cease and desist and also send a copy to Google, Yahoo or MSN. So far this always has worked.

One might ask why Google, Yahoo or MSN, just don't refuse to allow any one but the actual owner of the trademark to bid on that trademarked word or phrase. The problem here is that there are websites that can legitimately use the trademark name. For example a site that compares products would have the right to use the name, or partners of the company, etc. So really the current way of having a method for stopping one's competitor's from using the trademark is probably the only option.

Cheers,
rfs
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