Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Monday, December 22, 2008

Is Google Still the Best Search?

As a Microsoft MVP I was asked to just try Live.com for a week and report back to Microsoft. What I discovered surprised me. In May 2007, I wrote about testing Ask.com. In October 2007 I did some extensive testing of Yahoo Search. So I thought it was time to update my impression of various search engines.


Search Habits
I discovered that I never go to a main search page like Google.com anymore.  That means I miss what ever cool Google logo has been created for the day. The main Live.com has nice color photo background which changes daily but I guess I’ll never see that either.  Live.com does provide some mouse-over links relative to the image which is nice.


For the last couple years I found myself just using Google toolbar for my search. I’ve actually been using Google’s Chrome most of the time so now I just type my search directly into the address bar and voila. So good bye to toolbars and sayonara to main search pages.


Search Results
Using my traditional search, the Pytlovany Test Live Search didn’t score to bad.  For years I’ve been able to test search engines by using my last name because it’s so unique it has always worked well. 
Live Search reported it found 4,710 results
Google reported “about 5,720”
Ask.com now reports 1,330
Yahoo claimed the most with 32,500 pages in English. I didn’t get a chance to check them all out.


Search Value
Typically, I never go  past the first page of displayed results so the number of pages found becomes less important. I was surprised to see that Ask.com cleaned up their results so it no longer included a lot of the bogus sites they used to list. I started to test other search terms and Ask.com failed again. Live.com and Google both provided the best results in the way of relevant pages.


I did notice one big change in Google from previous tests and other search engines. They now seem to give more weight to the social Web 2.0 sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and even Twitter. 


Danger of Ads and Related Sites
Google and Live.com did best in presenting related ad based sites. Yahoo and Ask.com failed and displayed sites that are either dangerous or use keywords of their competitors to steal your business. I could still find some questionable ads on Google and Live.com so they both need to spend more resources on reviewing their advertisers.


Like Google, Live.com has been introducing some special features that will help bring on new users but as expected Google still maintains its hold on the search market. According to my most recent research Google still holds over 65% of the search market.  Yahoo and Live/MSN are still doing their best to put a dent in this but Ask.com has all but disappeared from the stats.


You never know what how the market will flow so Google will need to continue to innovate. During the coming year it will be fun to watch and evaluate what Google and Microsoft come up with. I’ll also be keeping an eye on other unique search engines like the following…


LeapFish

Cuil 

Dizzler


Boogami


And for real-time information you can’t really beat Twitter Search


 

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10 Comments:

Blogger Trevor said...

The best way to search is Clusty.com - organized results which are easily refined.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still use google...i found out that all my different email accts can come on the google home page besides search. I also have direct access to portfolios, finance news and date and time calendart, all by using google as my home page...it even changes the screen with the weather...

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noted that the search site "Altavista" was not listed nor investigated. There is also a site "GoodSearch" that pays a charity if used.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Mina said...

There's a search engine that's been overlooked. Please try out http://www.big.com

Its a search engine for the sight-impaired. I use it everytime my eyes don't feel like straining with Google's results.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why use one search engine when you can use many - in a single pass. And you can validate the links before you actually try them. Use the search engine to search search engines. It's called Copernic and I've used it for years. Oh and by the way you save your searches, if you want, and use them over and over again.

6:16 PM  
Blogger scott said...

I haven't heard of some the readers search engines..But I really get tired of Google and AOL search engines..I look into Cuil which its new and I really like it better for researching items,etc.
I wish they had a place for people to purchase their stock which I would invest in a new search engine than Google or Yahoo.com even Microsoft...
Have a good Season's Greetings
Support our Troops during the holidays please write to a soldier who serves us for FREEDOM and SPEECH~~!!

10:59 PM  
Anonymous dark41 said...

To each their own. I can't stand tool bars. I want as mucah of my window open for viewing as possible.

Google is my home page and my wife's home page. We use it constantly.

5:05 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

I'm stuck with Google for now as Safari presents only two search bar choices: Google and Yahoo!, of which Google is the default. It isn't bad, but it isn't particularly good, either. When I used IE, I would always use Dogpile(.com), which aggregated results from a bunch of different search engines. Some of those Google Labs features look interesting, though.

1:11 AM  
Anonymous otter said...

I agree with Sam. Dogpile is by far the most complete and thorough search engine out there.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use Google for most of my searches but I also have other favorites like Find Engine and Directory - a newly re-launched search engine and a content directory-in-one which also offers PPC advertising. Do check them out.

3:36 PM  

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