I am hoping to start a discussion on what people like and dislike with the various search engines out there. Personally my own preferred search engine is Google. Ok I know that this is not very original but the reason
that I like Google is not because as many people say, it finds more accurate results than other engines. The feature that Google has and I like is its luck of features. I mean Yahoo and even MSN might find quite sufficient results for me perhaps, but unfortunately
there interface is overloaded. MSN gives you a full page asking you to Find a house, Shop for Flowers, Read news, etc, etc, plus a whole list of choices the use of which might not be apparent until you click them. Whilst Google on the other hand offers a simple
interface. A page which, surprise surprise!, can load much faster. Google's page gives you only the basic choices: Web, News, Froogle, Groups, Directory. No unnecessary and confusing toolbars (Money, People Chat, Shop, Hotmail, My MSN, etc) and whole lists
of unnecessary links. I know that you can customize your choices with My MSN and the same on Yahoo! with My Yahoo, but users who need to perform just the most popular thing on the Internet which is just to search will soon find that Google's simpler approach
is far better as it is faster and easy to learn by everyone. With these I do not mean to say that less used features like Finding a job, a House, Yellow Pages, etc, should not be developed. On the contrary, these features are useful, especially the many facilities
currently offered by Yahoo! such as its excellent Briefcase, free calendar and Note-taking feature, its chat, etc. I would be very happy if MSN for example were to develop the richness of Yahoo!'s free facilities, like a free calendar. However, what is important
is for these extra features to be organized better. For example, like Google, a search portal could first show a simple page with a simple search box and include a link More>> which would reveal its other offerings. Or just organize the various services under
different and easy to understand links, rather than placing everything on the home page. Another problem is that features that do not work outside specific countries eg. the
USA should not be offered.
Finally, the search engine that I dislike a lot is Microsoft Search. Not only it rarely finds what you ask for, its real problem for me is the categories. Categorising results into eg. downloads, technical info, etc is surely useful. But why do I have to wait
5-10 secs for the Microsoft Search results to load, skip the unnecessary toolbar at the top (All Products, Guide, Home, etc), plus skip another search box and then click the category I wish? Microsoft Search should programmatically choose which categories
it should display based on my query, or at least offer a combo box on every page next to the search query box for choosing the category. It should I believe display results grouped into categories on the results page, but intelligently place at the top the
category whose results are the most relevant to my query, eg. searching for "Directx Downloads" should show the download category at the very top, followed by let's say Product information results category. On the other hand searching for Directx API should
show the technical Info category at the top followed let's say by results in the developer chats category about the Directx technology. The number of results shown in every category group should also increase or decrease based on my query. Is this difficult
to implement? I wonder...
What do you think about the search business? What are your own experiences? By the way, when will MSN launch?
Google rocks. I like the way the initial search page is pretty generic instead of the crap you find on Yahoo or some of the other Search sites that are filled with advertising drivel.
I honestly try other search engines on a weekly basis but always end up going back to old faithful time and time again because I get the most targeted hits and if it's a company I am looking for targeted ads which I don't mind becuase I was searching for that
It would be easier to ask if someone does NOT use Google as their primary search engine. Sometimes I visit good old Altavista for nostalgic reasons. Yahoo directory can also be useful sometimes. Most of the time I just use the Google Toolbar. It
MSN is (I'm sorry to say) just PATHETIC. The page is ugly and the results suck. 'nuff said.
Google! It's fast, smart (i.e., it notices if I may have mistyped something), and it's simple.
Runner up: A9.com. For when I want to search the contents of books.
Yahoo! is OK, but too much extra stuff. I use it occasionally for shopping, but I suspect that's because I haven't tried Froogle yet.
MSN search absolutely blows. At one point, they mangled their search results. Not OK. It appears to be fixed now, but a little search tampering
goes a very long way in my book. I don't trust it.
Microsoft.com's search is pretty worthless too. About a quarter of the time, the search engine breaks, and returns no results at all.
Google...the opening interface is brilliant in its simplicity, especially compared to Yahoo!, which tries to be everything to everybody on the opening page. I ignore 95% of what comes up on the first page anyway with Yahoo. The clutter is distracting.
I've tried several other engines, from AltaVista to MSN, but Google seems to return the most relevant results. And I could see where the "did you mean..." suggestions for misspellings is an added benefit.
ironic timing of this post... on monday I removed the google toolbar and installed msn's to give it a chance. after four days of less than desired searching experiences I found myself typing google into the address bar and hitting ctrl + enter. needless
to say I removed the msn toolbar and reinstalled the google toolbar this afternoon. aesthetic differences aside, the google search experience is far better than msn's. jmho.
I made a deliberate decision to stop using google, because it is regulated in a country that passed the Patriot Act, and I'm concerned about the motivation behind services such as g-mail and orkut. To me, they seem to gather a vast amount of information about
human networks and the content of human communications. Google seems particularly interested in this, and whether the motivation is 'commercial', 'evil', or 'otherwise', I'm not interested in supporting their success.
Call me paranoid, I don't use google.
Er, you do realize that Mamma uses google (and other engines) for its results, right? I suppose that this has the side effect of anonymousizing (er, is that a word?) your search.
However, I do applaude your initiative and concerns.
You have a very good point. As an Orkut + GMail + Google user the thought have crossed my mind.
I would never use GMail for my private mail. And I've not exposed anything on Orkut that I couldn't just as well have put on my own site. A little paranoia is sometimes good.
If and when Google gets a Gazillion $$$ we will see many more search engines pupping up.
"Knute" Google rocks. I like the way the initial search page is pretty generic instead of the crap you find on Yahoo or some of the other Search sites that are filled with advertising drivel.
So I guess that many people here agree that perhaps the user interface is the most important factor when choosing a search engine and not as much the kind of results it returns. Google has the simplest and fastest interface, which also happens to give good
results. Many users though do not evaluate to a great degree the quality of these results I think. Yes, users do mind if the results they get are relevant but not if Google let's say returns 5 relevant results and if Yahoo! returns only 3 very relevant and
2 not so good. So if MSN or Yahoo! are rebuilding the engines I believe that they should give their interface design a priority.
By the way, I heard that MSN Search was going to launch a preview at least on June 1. Again it has been delayed. From last year to March of this year, to June of this year, to God knows when!
So I guess that many people here agree that perhaps the user interface is the most important factor when choosing a search engine and not as much the kind of results it returns.
Not necessarily. If I didn't get good results out of GOogle, I woundn't use it. Yesterday, I did a search on Yahoo and Google-- the Yahoo results filled a page, the Google, many pages. I didn't emphasize that factor enough when posting the first time around.
It is incrediably nice that Google is simple and elegant.
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