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What's New on Search Engine Showdown
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News from Online:

11/01 - 9/01 - 7/01 - back issues

Page updated Nov. 29, 2001

Google Stop Word Changes

Nov. 29, 2001: Google now automatically searches for stop words when they are in phrases, without requiring the + sign in front of the stop words. Google has added and will be adding more stop words in non-English languages (Chinese now and German next week). This bears watching as articles in one language may have a different meaning in another, such as the German 'die.' This automatic stop word searching means that only the unsearchable stop word 'the' can be used for the full world wild card within phrases. Google also now has a "help us improve" link at the bottom of the results page where searchers can tell Google why they didn't like the results. Google Review updated.

Yahoo! Adds Paid Positioning

Nov. 15, 2001: Yahoo! has joined the other portals in putting Overture (formerly GoTo) paid positioning results in its searches. These can appear at the top and bottom of the search results page under the 'Sponsor Matches' heading. Read the Overture press release.

NewsTracker Gone

Nov. 15, 2001: Excite has killed off its NewsTracker current awareness tool, one of the first Web news alert services. Its search voyeur is also gone, shut down sometime last month. Its News Search is still available.

AllTheWeb Changes

Nov. 12, 2001: Today, AllTheWeb unveiled several changes from Fast Search. They added a news database to their Web, image, multimedia, and FTP databases. The searchable news database covers more than 3,000 Web news sources. Up to two headlines will be displayed with a typical AllTheWeb search, and the results will note that day and time the news page was last crawled. Pages will only remain in the index for five days, but the news crawl is continuous and fully updates all pages every two hours. AllTheWeb has also added dynamic clustering known as Fast Topics. These appear at the top of the results and divide the top 200 hits into folders using the Open Directory vocabulary or automatically generated terms if no Open Directory term seems to match. On the simple search, AllTheWeb now has dynamic query modification that will automatically detect phrases and use antiphrasing to remove phrases like “where can i find information on.” All of these new features along with many others can be turned on or off using the newly improved customization capabilities. One additional and unique new feature on the advanced search page is the ability to limit by page size.

InfoSpace to Buy Excite

Nov. 9, 2001: Excite@Home announces its intent to sell Excite's domain names, trademarks, and user traffic to InfoSpace. If the bankruptcy court approves and this sale goes through, traffic to the site will go to InfoSpace's metasearch engines. Excite@Home retains the old Excite search engine technology, but where and when it will be used remains to be seen.

New Google Search Features

Nov. 5, 2001: Google now has an advanced image search page. It gives options to limit searches by file type (gif or jpeg), color (black and white, grayscale or full color), or to a specific domain. In addition, regular Google increased their language limits to 27 with the addition of Arabic and Turkish.

Site Updates: AllTheWeb, WiseNut

Nov. 3, 2001: Several site updates today. On the Inktomi review, I added a list of former Inktomi clients that no longer use Inktomi which now includes Anzwers which has switched to Yahoo Australia/New Zealand. References to GoTo have been changed to its new name of Overture. I added new information about advanced proximity operators to the AltaVista Review and clarified placement of Overture listings. On the HotBot Review, I updated information about truncation. The Google Review was updated with its new filetypes and an updated description of its databases. The Reviews page was updated to note that NBCi Live Directory is defunct

Wayback Machine Debuts

Oct. 26, 2001: The Internet Archive launches their Wayback Machine at The Wayback Machine provides access to Web pages the way the used to look, and how they looked on particular dates when the Internet Archive visited them. This is like the Google cache on steriods, since it contains not only text but images from the past as well. And rather than just archiving one version of the page, it contains multiple versions. The entire archive is not keyword searchable. Instead, access is by URL and then by date.

Google Goes to Tabs

Oct. 2, 2001: Google has changed its design to incorporate a new tabbed interface. Its four databases (Web, images, Usenet news groups, and the Open Directory) are listed as separate tabs on the main search page and on subsequent pages as well. In addition, they have added a new “Language Tools” search option next to the advanced search link which gives choices on 66 interface language, 26 language limits, and links to regional versions of Google.

BullsEye 3.0 Released

Oct. 2, 2001: Intelliseek announces the release of BullsEye 3.0 New features include SurfSaver integration, report formats including XML, and a new government agent.

CompletePlanet Expands

Oct. 1, 2001: CompletePlanet, BrightPlanet’s directory of Invisible Web databases and search engines, announced that it now has nearly tripled its listings to almost 90,000. These resources are organized by subject using more than 7,000 terms.

New Fast Search CEO

Oct. 1, 2001: Fast announces that Dr. John M. Lervik is their new CEO along with several other management changes.

Contentville Closes

Sept. 30 , 2001: The eclectic search engine for full-text from books, articles, transcripts, dissertations, and more has shut down, unable to find sufficient profit from its model.

Excite@Home Bankrupt

Sept. 28, 2001: Excite@Home, the parent company of the Excite search engine announces the sale of its broadband business to AT&T; and that it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Yahoo! Remodels

Sept. 27, 2001: This week Yahoo! has modified the way its results are displayed. They have reduced the number of category matches displayed to just few with links to the other category matches. This ensures that entry matches will be displayed on the first page as well. In addition, the category labels have been shortened and no longer necessarily represent the full taxonomic hierarchy, at least in the search results display. Choosing the category will usually bring up the full hierarchy at the top of that page. Read more about it at SearchEngineWatch or Web Search at

Google Buys Outride, Inc.

Sept. 20, 2001: Google announces the purchase of Outride, Inc., a small relevance technology firm. According to its Product Technology page, "Outride's technology is based on pioneering research done by the company's founders at Xerox PARC in the fields of data mining, pattern recognition, natural language semantic analysis, artificial intelligence, and information search and retrieval. Ultimately, our Outride Relevance Builder technology and the products on which it is based deliver real-time personal relevance." How Google will incorporate this, if at all, remains to be seen.

New CEO at AltaVista

Sept. 18, 2001: AltaVista announce the appointment of James Barnett as new CEO. Formerly president of, Barnett fills the post the Rod Schrock left last October after AltaVista's portal play failed. In the same press release, AltaVista reiterated its emphasis on an exclusive search focus and announced a repositioning of their comparison shopping service to become more of a search functionality.

Site Updates: AllTheWeb, WiseNut

Sept. 7, 2001: Several site updates. I have separated the Fast Review from the AllTheWeb Review, and added the new AllTheWeb features. The WiseNut Review and other mentions have been updated with the new feature and changed usage from WISEnut to the new WiseNut. WiseNut has also wisely dropped the difficult to read white on red for the WiseGuide categories. It is now white on black.

Teoma Bought by Ask Jeeves

Sept. 11, 2001: Teoma has been bought by Ask Jeeves. According to the Ask Jeeves Press Release, Ask Jeeves will use Teoma's technology across its Web properties (which include both Direct Hit and Ask Jeeves), and will continue as a pure search engine.

WiseNut Launches Out of Beta

Sept. 4, 2001: WiseNut has officially launched with a new logo, redesigned site, and a new feature. The new feature is the [Sneak-a-Peek] after the result. In Internet Explorer, clicking [Sneak-a-Peek] will bring up an abbreviated, scrollable window just below the search result which contains the actual Web page. In Netscape, it just brings up the result in the same window like clicking the title. The new red color scheme makes the WiseGuide categories difficult to read.

Threads at Google Groups

Aug. 24, 2001: The Google Groups have been improved with an enhanced thread view capability that is similar to the thread capability that DejaNews used to have. In addition, the full, original, detailed header information for each posting is available in the original format display option.

New Size Stats

August 23, 2001: I have updated my Relative Size Showdown and the Total Size Estimate analyses with data from Aug. 14, 2001. Using 25 search terms, and verifying the actual number of hits available for the largest search engines, Google has maintained a solid first place, followed by Fast's All the Web and then the new Wisenut. I also updated the Database Change Over Time page which compares the same 8 searches run on the five largest search engines at various times from May 1999 to Aug. 2001.

New WISEnut Review & Other Showdown Updates

August 23, 2001: Added a WISEnut review and have added the new WISEnut to the Search Engine Feature Chart, Search Engines by Feature Page, and the Review Page. Those pages were also updated by removing NBCi (now just serving GoTo results) and iWon (primarily serving GoTo results). Excite review updated to note site clustering. Updated case sensitive searching section on AltaVista Review and the Search Engines by Feature Page. Fast Review updated with information about using parentheses for OR: (term1 term2).

AltaVista Launches Trusted Feed

Aug. 16, 2001: AltaVista announces the launch of its Trusted Feed program. This pay for inclusion program lets companies submit 500 or more URLs via an XML feed and can include dynamically-generated Web content as well as standard HTML pages. It will be refreshed weekly, and companies will pay based on a pay per click model. However, the ranking of results in AltaVista searches will be determined by AltaVista's relevance algorithms, not by partipation in the Trusted Feed program.

LexiBot 2.0

Aug. 15, 2001: BrightPlanet announces the release of version 2.0 of its LexiBot desktop client search tool. Version 2.0 can search among 2,000 databases considered to be part of the invisible Web (or deep Web as BrightPlanet prefers to call it).

New Google CEO

Aug. 6, 2001: Google announces that Eric Schmidt is their new CEO. In addition to Google's official press release, several news stories, such as a CNET story from Reuters, note that Schmidt states that "We are quite profitable."

Ads at AlltheWeb

Aug. 1, 2001: Fast has abandoned its no-ads approach at AlltheWeb. Banner ads are now showing up on results pages.

NBCi to GoTo

July 30, 2001: NBCi now only searches GoTo, instead of the way it used to be with Inktomi for its search engine and its own directory.

Fast Revamps AlltheWeb

July 23, 2001: Fast announces several changes to AlltheWeb including a more frequent refresh rate of nine to twelve days.

Excite Clusters

July 20, 2001: At some point earlier this month, Excite started clustering its results by site. There is no way to "ungroup" the results, a feature available from other search engines. It also does not identify which hits have more than one page per site available since all results say "more from this site."

Google Adds Date Limit

July 13, 2001: Google has added a date limit to its Advanced Search page. However, it is only a very limited limit. The only choices for the limit available are Past 3 Months, Past 6 Months, or Past Year. And since Google neither displays the date in its results listing nor gives an option for displaying the date of pages, the Google date limit is not nearly as useful as AltaVista's or Northern Lights'.

Google Groups Link on Google Home Page

July 10, 2001: Google has finally made it a bit easier to find their Google Groups Usenet archive and search engine. It is now featured on the main Google page below the search box and to the right of the Google Directory (which uses the Open Directory) link.

Updates at AllTheWeb

July 8, 2001: a new look and has updated its interface, introduced some new features, and expanded its customization capabilities. The default drop down list is now for language limits, rather than for choosing AND, OR, or phrase searching, although this can be changed back with the customization form. There is now a check box for phrase searching, and some unusual field searches have been added. The AllTheWeb name (with an updated logo) is now more prominent.

Added Teoma Review

July 7, 2001: Added a new Teoma Review and updated the Search Engine Feature Chart, Search Engines by Feature Page, and the Review Page. I also gave a full update to the Search Engines by Feature Page to correct links to MSN, add information about the MSN family filter, and remove Magellan and WebCrawler notes. MSN Search Review also updated with note about the adult filter which is always on.

For older news see the news archives:
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