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Which search engine to use?

By ramses0 in Culture
Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 08:40:36 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

In the discussion of the AskJeeves article recently posted, a few people were dumping on AskJeeves, and Mr. Jeeves certainly doesn't deserve such a bad reputation. He's just been locked up in a mansions for a few years and doesn't get out much. In the interests of expanding on this subject, I'll go over the search engines that I use, and how to use them most effectively.

The three search engines I use most often are Google, Yahoo, and AskJeeves. With these three search engines, I can usually find information about anything that I'm looking for with just a few queries. Without a doubt, each of these three search engines have their own personality.

For instance, if I'm looking for something official, like the Kraft foods corporate website, or official bose audio, I'll usually go to Yahoo for my first choice. While the results for the Bose audio search (www.bose.com) is exactly what I'd expect, the results for Kraft (www.kraftfoods.com) was sufficiently different to make searching for it a time-saver.

If it's common "internet" knowledge that I'm looking for, Google is the place to be. This is mostly due to the way Google works. Google searches for keywords in a website, just like Excite, or Lycos, or Altavista. What makes Google so unique and useful is that the website with the most hyper-links pointing to it gets displayed first.

My guess is that when I search for "Bose Audio" on Google, it will return

  • places to buy bose speakers
  • commentary or reviews on bose speakers
  • the bose corporation website
You can view the results for yourself.

The way I guessed what google would return is by asking myself a simple question: "What would I (a random internet user) be talking about when I was using the term Bose?"

If I had bought "Bose Speakers", thought they were really good, and think others should buy them, I'd probably link to a place to buy speakers.

But if I were a professional magazine talking about the comparative sound quality of different speakers, I'd have different reviews of speakers. It's pretty easy to tweak the google search to pull in more reviews on Bose speakers.

Finally, whenever I need information that is almost impossible to search for, I Ask Jeeves. I challenge you to find a map of the United States in less than 10 seconds using any other search engine.

Jeeves is also great for "encyclopedia" type information (like What is the capital of Peru?, or How far is it from Chicago to Washington D.C.?), or information that you'd expect a butler to know (Where can I buy tickets to a New York musical?). So don't dump on Jeeves, man. :^)=

Some other search engines worth mentioning: http://astalavista.box.sk/, very useful when you're looking for ~underground~ information, like cracks, serial numbers, or virus information. I can't count the number of games that I've bought and paid for, but don't want to be bothered swapping in and out CD's for a CD-check. You can usually find some kind of program out there to make life a little easier for you.

Also I like the idea of http://www.goto.com/ and their search technique. Try a search for Alanis Morisette. Businesses can buy placement on this search engine, but it's neat because you actually see how much they paid. If you think some business out there is crazy enough to *pay* for you to click on their site, this is the place to go. After all the advertisers have been shown, you see the "normal" search results, which can provide you with more starting places.

My favorite in keyword search engines is http://www.excite.com/ simply because if you have multiple keywords, you can make "certain^2 words^3 more important" than other words by putting the exponentation symbol after them. I usually stay away from keyword searches, but sometimes it's unavoidable.

And what treatise on search engines would be complete without mentioning languages or books?

For meanings of words, go to the official source, Merriam-Webster. To rhyme words, try this rhyming dictionary at Carnegie Mellon University.

To translate web documents (sometimes humorously), try http://babelfish.altavista.com/, and finally to buy books for cheap, try this meta searcher: http://www.snmputils.com/booksearch/ It's focused somewhat on tech books, but the 50 seconds it takes to trawl through book prices all over the internet could save you $10-$20 on certain books.

Whew. That's enough of that. Share your search experiences below, tell us all about your favorite unknown search engines.


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Related Links
o Yahoo
o Google
o AskJeeves
o Kraft foods corporate website
o official bose audio
o the results
o Bose
o others should buy them
o http://ast alavista.box.sk/
o http://www .goto.com/
o http://www .excite.com/
o rhyming dictionary
o http://bab elfish.altavista.com/
o Also by ramses0

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Which search engine to use? | 10 comments (10 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
I liked it. Informative. And lord... (none / 0) (#3)
by nascent on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 02:55:35 AM EST

nascent voted 1 on this story.

I liked it. Informative. And lord knows we don't get enough discussions going on kuro5hin. This might start one. =)

I like Google because of the amusin... (none / 0) (#2)
by pwhysall on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 03:36:00 AM EST

pwhysall voted 1 on this story.

I like Google because of the amusing seasonal graphics. (Oh yeah, it's a decent search engine too.)

AFAIC, the jury's still out on the directory thing.
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.

There is also a search engine for j... (none / 0) (#1)
by Philipp on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 05:49:32 AM EST

Philipp voted 1 on this story.

There is also a search engine for job offers: Flipdog. I think we will see more such specialized search sites in the future. Disclaimer: I might work for them over summer

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'

Oooh, let's have a flamewar over se... (none / 0) (#4)
by marlowe on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 08:17:41 AM EST

marlowe voted 1 on this story.

Oooh, let's have a flamewar over search engines.
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --

Speaking of babelfish... (none / 0) (#5)
by rusty on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 09:01:31 AM EST

It's pretty likely that few of you were reading the site when I posted my little experiment with babelfish. It involves Amigas, and stuff, and I found it pretty amusing. :-)

Not the real rusty
Hotbot for me (none / 0) (#6)
by evro on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 11:03:11 AM EST

I've been using HotBot since 1997 and it rarely fails me. It usually turns up exactly what I'm looking for, usually right at the top. And their pull-down "all the words, any of the words, the exact phrase" menu for how you want to search is indispensible. The only Search Engine cool enough to make it onto my toolbar.
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"
Re: Hotbot for me (none / 0) (#7)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 11:28:45 AM EST

I used Hotbot for a while, back when they somehow managed to get new pages indexed within 3 days of being put up, but I stopped using them when 99% of the hits I was getting were dictionary-searchspam pages. I complained to the administration about this, and they said that it shouldn't be a problem (but it was). I can't remember what I used until Google showed up. Altavista I think.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Hotbot for me (none / 0) (#8)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 11:32:12 AM EST

I forgot about hotbot! Their "exact phrase only" search is perfect for finding old jokes. ;^)= <[>--Robert

[ Parent ]

Re: Which search engine to use? (1.00 / 1) (#9)
by Skippy on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 02:00:31 PM EST

I don't use it, but I thought the way that Northern Light organizes their results should be used by more search engines. If you get multiple relevant pages from the same site (which ALWAYS happens) then it puts them in a folder under the name of the site. You can then expand the folder to see individual pages. It sometimes gives you a good idea of which sites are going to be more relevant to your search.
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
Meta engines? (1.00 / 1) (#10)
by Strange Charmed One on Tue Apr 04, 2000 at 06:01:56 PM EST

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the meta engines such as metacrawler or mamma which search multiple other search engines.

I personally use Copernic a piece of downloadable software which allows me to search other engines, and easily keep the results obtained. It can also be configured to replace the useless IE and Netscape engines. I also of course use Google .
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Which search engine to use? | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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