Thursday, March 17, 2005

Better than Google

Yes, you read right. I was reading an article last autumn about browsers and search engines, and it said that the Web user was a very fickle audience- it switches browser in a matter of months as the next big thing comes along, and therefore Google's rule in searching might also end soon and quickly. At the time I thought this was rubbish- who could improve on it? I had used it faithfully for years as the only good way to get at content.

But I must now admit that although I still hate the Yahoo! directory search, the word search yields a lot more content, particularly for very obscure subjects [ie when Google yields no hits at all]. This is because Yahoo's mechansim is different: instead of counting how many sites link to a page, it counts how many times the search term appears. Google's ranking is basically telling you how many web designers thought the content was cool. Now, I trust web designers to do many things, but not to assess the validity and usefulness of content. There is therefore a theoretical basis for the observed advantages of Yahoo, particularly now that Google is swamped by the advertising directory sites, so that time after time a supposedly relevant site has simply listed every village in the country as content on their site, without anything in the category you want.

But,veven better, you don't have to choose between Google and Yahoo: metasearch engines like run your search in several engines, including those two, and then show the results. So while I'm glad that Google at least has found a way to make money from the Web, I won't be investing in their shares.

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