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daily link  Wednesday, 25 June 2003

AllTheWeb Now A Better Search Experience Than Google

After having reviewed AllTheWeb in March, I returned to see how AllTheWeb is shaping up against Google. Putting AllTheWeb through its paces against Google, I was surprised. In general, AllTheWeb is a more satisfying search experience than Google now. There are several reasons why AllTheWeb is a search engine you should consider using at least some of the time. For some time now I have been a strong supporter of Google. However, I feel that Google is resting on its laurels a little right at the moment. Here are the reasons why I feel that AllTheWeb is a better experience overall in searching the web.

Size, Scope and Recency of Database
Since my last review of AllTheWeb, this search engine has focussed on crawling more often and having a much more recent focus on new pages. AllTheWeb has my new pages from three days ago, and of 500 new pages we located in Google, they are also present in AllTheWeb. We also located about 27 new pages from three days ago not found in Google but found in AllTheWeb.

While AllTheWeb has a claim for the number of pages indexed being less than Google's, in any of our test searches this was no limitation in finding the target pages for each of the tests we completed. What AllTheWeb are missing is not clear at this stage, although we have this gut feeling that AllTheWeb is weaker in indexing University Sites and Corporations. From what we could determine there has been a remarkable improvement in AllTheWeb over the last several months in locating and indexing new pages.

Unlimited Queries
In Google, during various tests Microdoc News has completed in the last month or more, we have often come up against the Google ten word limit. When refining a search we often receive the message from Google at the top of the results page "xxxx (and any subsequent words) was ignored because we limit queries to 10 words". In all of the AllTheWeb searches completed for this article, we were able to use up to sixty words in a search with no apparent limitation. Using this number of words in a query is extremely food for refining our search from an initial 19,000,000 documents down to just 435 documents by the time we finished refining the search.

Larger Display of Results
Even though Google can locate thousands or millions of documents that satisfy your query, Google limits the number of queries to just 998 documents. If you want to see beyond that limitation, then you will need to use techniques as described in the Microdoc News article Chunking Google Results. When searching, Microdoc News researchers often have the need to see beyond the 998 webpage limitation in Google. It is not that we need to see all 998 results, but that by sampling the results beyond the 998 webpage limit we are able to understand the range of results we have within the 998 page limit.

AllTheWeb has a similar limit, but it is much more generous than Google allowing up to 4,000 results to be displayed. Rather than having to chunk results as we did in Google, with a much higher limit, we have been able to obtain a much better feel of results when searching in AllTheWeb.

Summary of Features Tested

The following table provides a summary of the features we tested and compared in Google and AllTheWeb.

Feature
Google
AllTheWeb
Query Words
10
No limit found
Query Format


Natural Language
No
Yes
Keywords
Yes
Yes
Boolean
Limited
Wider
By Language
Yes
Yes
Word Filters
Yes
Yes
Domain Filters
Yes
Yes
Save Search Settings
No
Yes
Rewrite query
No.
Yes.
Result Clusters
No.
Yes.
Display Number of Results
998
4,000
Database Size
3+ billion
2+ billion
Recency of Update
3 days
3 days

General Impressions
Our general impression is that AllTheWeb has significantly closed the gap between the leader, Google, and itself. We also know at Microdoc News that AllTheWeb is becoming more competitive in that we are receiving a lot more referrals from AllTheWeb than we used to. However, Google referrals are by far more numerous at this stage, but should AllTheWeb continue improving its search experience we believe AllTheWeb may become a search engine of choice for serious information seekers. What AllTheWeb has not done, though, is to come out with some earth shattering feature that puts them miles ahead and grabs mindshare. It remains to be seen whether AllTheWeb has something like that to put Google in second spot. On the other hand, it is about time we saw something really new from Google that makes our information seeking a smoother and easier experience, otherwise many users may swap to AllTheWeb. ++
 
12:38:32 PM  permalink 


Copyright © 2003 Elwyn Jenkins