Thursday, June 30, 2005

Search Engine

Why is there no better search engine than Google out there yet? Before Google my favorite SE was Alta-Vista which actually searched pages by words on the page. It had a huge database of pages, the most at the time and it was incredibly fast at doing queries.

Obviously AV had problems with people putting invisible meta data into their pages so Google came along and said, well, our search will rate pages on the users percieved utility by seeing how many links others give to the page. So for example, if there were 2 web sites that sold water balloon launchers, the one with the most links from others would be considered the more popular and therefore a better result.

This was cool for a while, but I'm not sure people link to other pages on their web sites as much as they used to. There are barely any "home page"s on the net any more and personal link collections, its all blogs and commercial pages. As such, I can't find a damn thing with Google any more.

As I see it, Google has 2 problems, one is that its base algorhythm is flawed (unless it has changed) and second, it doesn't seem to search text anymore. As an example, this post is about search engines and Google in particular. If you were to type into a google search box something like "As I see it, Google has 2 problems, one is that its base algorhythm is flawed" which is a very specific reference to this very post, it will not come up. Why is this?

I would argue that there are 2 main types of searches people do. The first is the commercial search which I would argue is further speciefied with the following question "Where can I find the best x" or "what is the best x". If I want to buy a wall calendar I don't want a seach to give me 10,000 pages with the words "wall calendar" in them or even 10,000 vendors of wall calendars. I want to buy the best wall calendar. So of all the people in the past year who searched for and purchaced a wall calendar, tell me where they all went to do it. Something like that.

The second seach is one where someone wants to learn about something. This search should be non-commercial, it should look in blogs and in public info archives. So when I search for "search engine commentary" I find a listing of current blog posts and articles on search engines.

Now, I'm being over simplistic here I know, but what I'm getting at is this: The net is huge and contains almost certainly the answer to any given question a person could have about anything. The problem is that x% of those people don't find anything close to a usable answer because there is no tool that has been developed for them to find that answer. The tools that exist are archaic and useless. Some may disagree with me, but I would guess that x = 80 and it should be something on the lines of 10-20.

IF someone builds this tool, they will be in instant billionaire. So fucking get to work dammit! I need to find this damn water balloon launcher.

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