May 2001--Almost two years ago I
took a look at search engines and gave Google a thumbs up based
on the technology used to generate search results. Since then I've
continued to use Google and it
looks like the rest of the world has as well.
Since then I've developed a deeper appreciation for
another reason that Google consistently returns the best results and
that may surprise you.
Rather than some secret complicated technology
Google employs to ferret out data it's rather simple; Google doesn't
charge web sites to be included.
What's this you say, you thought that all search
engines crawled the web, indexed web sites, cataloged them according
to key words and scored the results based on those keys? Not a
chance, it's often based on how much the web site paid to be
included or, in many cases, didn't pay and were excluded.
Oh, most sites will accept a request to be
included for free but my personal experience is that the chances of
that happening are pretty slim.
Let's take a look at the default search engine in
Internet Explorer, MSN. Go to their
submission request page and you'll find that the Express Submit
program, which promises two day turnaround is $199. The basic
program, with eight week turnaround, is $99. Not to pick exclusively
AltaVista offers the same exact program and prices. Ditto
GoTo.com and most other (but not all) search engines.
I don't have a problem with this, it's tough
trying to stay in business without generating some sort of income,
but don't be fooled that all search engines are created equal and
when you're looking for a solution you'll want to be aware of this
and use something that includes as many sites as possible; the
answer is out there it's usually just a matter of finding it.
If you don't use
Google.com (Yahoo search
seems to use the same technology and database) and aren't interested
in switching do be sure to check the "submit a site" entry on your
favorite search engine and check their policy as they may be
excluding sites that contain the info you're looking for.
Until next time, best in computing.