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The Internet Businesses

Yahoo! Switches Search Engines 395

Posted by timothy
from the look-this-way dept.
Giorgio Baresi writes "As several sources are reporting, Yahoo! in the last hours dumped Google and rolled out a brand new search engine mainly based on Inktomi search technology and Overture sponsored results. On Monday Yahoo! also launched its own crawler, called "Yahoo! Slurp", which replaced former "Inktomi Slurp". Hey, it seems the search engine war has begun!"
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Yahoo! Switches Search Engines

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  • by MullerMn (526350) <andy@a n d r e w a r bon.co.uk> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:52AM (#8315479) Homepage
    I think you mean, "Begun, the search engine war has.".
  • by glen604 (750214) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:53AM (#8315485)
    or does a webcrawler named "slurp" sound like something more appropriate for booble.com?
  • by The One KEA (707661) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:53AM (#8315489) Journal
    Yahoo has been talking about dumping Google for a real long time now, so I doubt Google is really surprised. Besides, with the recent update [slashdot.org] to their index that they just made, I have a feeling that Google is not going to succumb just yet.
    • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:56AM (#8315525) Homepage
      Of course it's not a major problem. I know very few people that still use Yahoo as their first choice in search engines (and I am not talking about computer saavy people either).

      My mother uses the Google toolbar and knew about it w/o me telling her. My father refuses to use anything other than Google as his homepage.

      My number one reason for believing that Google is the all important, #1 search engine: My girlfriend's parents said, "I'll just google for it." at dinner one night (and this is a family where they have a shortcut to every file on the desktop and they use AOL 6.0).
      • by hendridm (302246) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:12AM (#8315701) Homepage
        On a related note, I was at my parents home this weekend. They like to use Yahoo for their searching. No problem, but they were complaining of popups. I decided to install the Google toolbar for them. The thought crossed my mind to install the Yahoo toolbar, since they prefer Yahoo, however, it came down to a matter of trust. When Google says they're not going to resell my information or track my moves, they've given me no reason to disbelieve them. But seeing some of the ads on Yahoo makes me feel they're willing to do anything for an extra click. I appreciate that they're in the business to make money, just as Google is, but Google just makes me feel more comfortable about it.

        Not a big deal either, since there's a goof chance my parents won't take notice the new bar anyway ;)

        It is sad that you have to question every motive and move you make on the Internet thanks to all the toxic waste that is present. One wrong subscription and your inbox is hosed. I made that mistake the other day. Fortunately, I used a throw-away [spamgourmet.com] e-mail address so the damage was minimal.
        • by naoiseo (313146) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:14PM (#8316310)
          No need to be so warm & fuzzy with Google. That toolbar they distribute, that 'sends information back to google' -- well, SEOs have realized that you can view a web-page that google does not have indexed, with their toolbar installed, and a few minutes later the googlebot will come along.

          Google claims they do not do this, and that sites are only indexed via incoming links. Privacy issues worthy of note. webmasterworld thread on the topic [webmasterworld.com]

          Somebody isn't telling the truth, and I doubt it's the log files. Point is, left hand and right hand are not familiar with eachother, even in the land of making order from chaos, ye ole googleplex.
        • by claar (126368) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:22PM (#8316379)
          You made a good decision not installing the Yahoo search bar. I haven't bothered to read why exactly, but the Spybot -- Search & Destroy software labels it and/or its components as spyware.

          For some reason, whenever I run across machines that have the Yahoo Search bar, this lovely "Search Assistant" thing that gives extra pop up windows when searching is on the machines as well..
      • by Popageorgio (723756) <popsnap@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:58AM (#8316148) Homepage
        Yahoo has far more traffic than Google: Alexa says so [alexa.com].

        But under 10% of Yahoo's traffic goes to their search sections: Again, Alexa [alexa.com].

      • I know very few people that still use Yahoo as their first choice in search engines (and I am not talking about computer saavy people either).

        Nonetheless, among search engines it's second only to Google in driving traffic to my site (ok, some people block the referrer, but not many). It isn't much, but it beats the rest of the crowd (Google brings ~45% of all traffic, Yahoo 3.4%, then MSN with 1.5%).
    • by blorg (726186) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:00AM (#8315563)
      ...hidden as they were among the enormous amount of other crap, it was difficult to tell which were the real results. As it was, I found Yahoo search to be so bad as to dilute Google's reputation if anything.

      This new search so far seems better than the previous Yahoo search if anything, as they are putting the 'web' results up front, reasonably uncluttered, with everything else as seperate tabs. They could have done this with the Google ones before, but I presume they wanted to promote their own content.

    • I dunno, these new Yahoo/Inktomi results are looking pretty sharp compared to google.
    • by martijnd (148684) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:11PM (#8316274)
      My (limited) observation is that Googles dominance is limited to the area they are playing in.

      My European websites obtain 90% of their hits from Google.

      My Chinese/Japanese language sites obtain 90% of their hits from the local Yahoo.

      The browser wars are far from over outside of the ASCII 1-128 area.

  • Well, that has to be the dirtiest sentence I've read on /. this morning.

    But the morning is young.

  • Result relevance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tet (2721) * <slashdot@astraEI ... minus physicist> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:54AM (#8315493) Homepage Journal
    Google prides itself on having not just the largest number of indexed pages, but more importantly, the relevance of the returned results. In general, I've found them to be ahead of the pack for this, which is one of the reasons I switched to them in the first place (the other being the uncluttered interface). I was quite surprised, then, when a couple of test searches with the new Yahoo engine returned more relevant searches than Google. I'm not going to switch just yet, but it's certainly something I'll be keeping an eye on...
    • Re:Result relevance (Score:5, Informative)

      by costas (38724) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:12AM (#8315693) Homepage
      Well, the good news is that Yahoo is trying to innovate, which in turn should push Google even further. For example, Yahoo is now linking directly to RSS feeds if you are using RSS-autodiscovery within your page's HTML. That's pretty cool.
      • by puppet10 (84610) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:28AM (#8315868)
        Also I think its a good thing if there are a number of search engines with results on the same order of relevance as google returns but using different algos to get there.

        The more there are the harder it is for the people trying to distort the results to succeed in distorting all of the various methods.
    • by Moderation abuser (184013) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:26AM (#8315841)
      She was the stunt double for Gena Lee Nolin and plays the Darak'na in most of the Sheena episodes. See if you can get a photograph of her sans makeup.

      I wanted to see what she looked like under the makeup once, happened to have the laptop running at the time and fully expected to find a picture in seconds through Google. Nope. Eventually using other search engines turned up her photo and stunt information.

      I've said this before but it's good that there's competition, Google isn't the be all and end all of search engines. It looks fairly wide but shallow.

  • by Noryungi (70322) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:54AM (#8315498) Homepage Journal

    Gentlemen! Start your slurping!

    You goal is to slurp more than 6,000,000,000 elements of the World Wide Web! It's a fight we cannot afford to lose! Now, go, and may Bob be with you!
  • by naoiseo (313146) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:54AM (#8315502)
    It's been live for about 6 months in some parts of the world.

    I still have google results, but can see the new ink results by appending &tmpl=E088 on the end of the SERP url.

  • by ProudClod (752352) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:55AM (#8315505)
    CEO: We want a search engine that evokes pride and confidence. Disgruntled Employee: *aside*Let's face it, compared to google it's gonna suck. */aside* How about "Slurp"? CEO: Slurp! I like it!
    • slurp has been inktomi's name for years preceeding google.

      all the google love in this place.. sheesh, the algo has fallen apart over the past year, teoma.com [teoma.com], alltheweb.com [alltheweb.com] and now, likely, yahoo.com [yahoo.com], will all provide better search results.

      spammers love google for pr hyping their massive index, cus it keeps their huge cloaked spam sites in there just a little longer.
  • by justanyone (308934) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:55AM (#8315508) Homepage Journal
    What hardware are they running it on?

    Did they replace the hardware or just the software?

    Does anyone know?

    Also, what is the basis of a search engine? Sparse-matrix navigation? How does this stuff really work? Any links to summaries of this stuff? It happened after I graduated (1992, BSCS)...

    -- Kevin
    • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:09AM (#8315664) Homepage
      Warning: OS detection will be MUCH less reliable because we did not find at least 1 open and 1 closed TCP port
      Interesting ports on m1.search.vip.dcn.yahoo.com (216.109.117.133):
      (The 1656 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: filtered)
      PORT STATE SERVICE
      80/tcp open http
      Device type: general purpose
      Running: Apple Mac OS X 10.1.X
      OS details: Apple Mac OS X 10.1.5
    • by ravydavygravy (230429) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:29AM (#8315877) Homepage
      Also, what is the basis of a search engine?

      Well, the paper from 98 that describes the PageRank algorithm (as used by Google) can be found here [nec.com]

      Theres a simple explanation of various indexing/ranking schemes here [searchenginewatch.com], but if you really want to get up to speed on research into searching the web, try looking at some of the papers from the TREC Web Track [csiro.au]

      Happy reading,

      Dave
    • Well I know for that google uses thousands of linuxs machines for cost and reliability reasons. I would suspect that yahoo does the same but I can't say for sure.

      I wouldn't think that they would have to replace the hardware but you never know. With the power of todays even bargain machines, I suspect that the bottleneck would be the bandwidth. I could be mistaken though.

      I sat in on a short talk by a guy from google. From what I remember, google has several starting pages for their crawlers. They
    • by caluml (551744) <slashdotNO@SPAMspamgoeshere.calum.org> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:47AM (#8316031) Homepage
      To answer one of your questions:

      Does anyone know?
      I would imagine someone does, yes.
  • Didn't.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zebra_X (13249) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:55AM (#8315510)
    This happen before. I had thought that Yahoo! had been using google up until about a year ago. They dumped them, and started using their own search. I stopped using the Yahoo search becuase the results were not as good as google's, or so it seemed. Am I completely off here? I couldn't find anything about it on the web.
  • I love Google. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chess_the_cat (653159) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:55AM (#8315512) Homepage
    I love Google (the new deskbar rocks) and I also frequent Yahoo! for chess and Fantasy Hockey. What I want to know is this: why is being the number search engine worth fighting over? Other than selling services to corporations and little text ads, how does Google make money? Or more importantly, why does Google need to be the number one search engine to make money? This reminds me of the browser wars. The logic was, you owned the browser, you owned the 'net. And although you could make the case that IE won the war, how does IE being the most popular browser translate into money for MS when they give it away for free? I didn't understand it then, and I don't understand it now.
    • Re:I love Google. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by L-s-L69 (700599) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:08AM (#8315653)
      Google to a lot of people is the ONLY search engine. Its become a brand much more so than IE, or even (arguably) Windows. The phrases 'to google' and 'googling' are fast becoming part of the english language on both sides of the pond. In order to google to keep getting the fat ad subs they live off it still needs to be number one. With IE it was just to eliminate the competition.
    • Re:I love Google. (Score:5, Informative)

      by sugar and acid (88555) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:22AM (#8315802)
      >Other than selling services to corporations and little text >ads, how does Google make money?

      Ummm by selling services to corporations and little text ads. Googles advertising model is a very good way to make money on the internet by servicing both types of customers well, the normal google user and the advertisers.

      Why, well the text ads are unobtrusive and obvious as advertisement links, and often welcome by the searcher. Why are they welcome, because they relate directly to the search term used. So you search for widgets, and widget inc. pays to put themselves on the first search page. The company gets trade, and the customer gets what they are looking for. In the real world this is the equivalent to the yellowpages directory where companies pay money to be listed with a small advert under a relevant indexed title like plumber or something.

      So why does google have to be number one, because the more eyeballs they have the more money they can charge for an ad and the more companies that will be clamouring to get their little ad link under the "widgets" search term. Again for the yellowpages, in the US ever seen those ads from one or the other yellowpages directory saying that they are the preferred yellowpages by consumers, they are advertsising to potential advertisers in their directory implying that you will get the most value if you advertise in our directory and not the competitions. Same reasons google needs to be number one to maximise their profit.
    • Re:I love Google. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Glog (303500)
      It's not a question about who gets to index more webpages. It's a question of control of the flow of information. If you control the flow you can pretty much demand any price for your services.
    • Re:I love Google. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ykardia (645087)
      The logic was, you owned the browser, you owned the 'net. And although you could make the case that IE won the war, how does IE being the most popular browser translate into money for MS when they give it away for free? I didn't understand it then, and I don't understand it now.

      Being the most popular browser on the net means that you can add your own extensions to it, and a lot of people designing websites will cater towards that. If you don't release IE for other platforms, people who don't use your OS
    • Why did the browser war happen. What did MS have to gain and why should we care.

      MS doesn't seem to care about a lot of different programs made by third parties for the Windows OS. You don't see MS trying to compete with Photoshop and the like. 3D animation programs or IRC programs. So what is different with browsers.

      Once the web was a total free for all. Everyone could run a site and everyone could visit them. This was in the days when universities owned the net. It was good and peacefull and cheerfull me

  • Flawed idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bish.dk (547663) <haas AT itu DOT dk> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:56AM (#8315517) Homepage
    From the CNET article: [com.com]
    One of the key ways Yahoo plans to make money from its search platform is to charge companies for more rapid and frequent inclusion into its index--a program called paid inclusion.

    Read: "Google is still king". I want an objective search engine, not one where companies can pay for placement. It seems very stupid of Yahoo! to introduce a product that is flawed this way, if they really want to take on Google. Google has the advantage of currently being considered the best search engine by almost everyone, so Yahoo! needs a superior product if they are serious about getting more popular.
  • by yog (19073) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:57AM (#8315528) Homepage Journal
    Most people use Google as their default search tool, even a lot of those unsophisticated Windows users whose IE still comes up with the default MSN page. It's entered the vernacular as a common verb.

    How does Yahoo! improve its service by switching away from Google? Unless they have developed an equivalent if not better search engine, which up until now no one has done, all they are doing is downgrading the quality of their service.

    Thumbs down, Yahoo. Use the best tool for the job.

    • by bad-badtz-maru (119524) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:06AM (#8315625) Homepage
      Yahoo's objective isn't to improve their service, their objective is to improve company revenues. Since Yahoo has owned Inktomi for over a year, it's ridiculous for them to continue to license results from Google.

      As for what is the "best tool for the job", you might want to actually take a look at the new Yahoo results instead of blindly pimping Google. It looks entirely possible that the current Yahoo/Inktomi algorithm returns results that are more relevant than Google's current algorithm.
    • by Unwise One (609996) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:09AM (#8315665)
      How does Yahoo! improve its service by switching away from Google?

      I don't believe that improving their service is a necessity here. Simply providing something roughly equivalent is probably OK. Most users never knew that Yahoo search and Google were the same thing, despite the "powered by Google" logo next to it. A very talented network guy commented to me the other day that he preferred using Yahoo search to Google since he got similar results without Google's advertizing. He was stunned when I pointed out the obvious reason for this.

      But the real reason for the switch has nothing to do with providing an improved service: they are either making more of a profit with their own engine than by licensing Google, or believe that they will in the near future.

    • by XaXXon (202882) <xaxxonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:10AM (#8315686) Homepage
      Thumbs down, Yahoo. Use the best tool for the job.

      Unfortunately, the job in this case is "Make money." Google has all these ethics things that get in the way of that. Things like not resorting their main search results order to include paid results, always putting advertisements in color. Advertisers don't like that.

      It's kind of weird.. The way I look at it is this: Guys always want the virginal girl.. but they don't want her to stay a virgin around them. Advertisers want a search engine just like that. They want a search engine that everyone respects, except they want to underhandedly move their results up to the top.. which loses respect. Google does everything it can to keep the respect. Sure, for a few dollars, it might let you feel it up, but if you go around claiming that you shagged it, it goes and changes its entire rating system and drops your pages to the bottom of its list.

      Google frickin' rules.
    • by joeykiller (119489) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:33PM (#8316475) Journal
      Why give Yahoo! thumbs down for using their own technology? If you're an average Slashdot user, shouldn't you be an advocate of choice?

      To simplify: We have Gnome and we have KDE, we have Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, we have Perl and Python. Would you like a world where everbody used Windows, or everybody said that Perl was mandatory? Or to live in a one party state?

      Maybe Yahoo! and MSN's new search engines won't be of Google quality in the beginning, but I guess they'll catch up. We should cheer them on. Google's starting to get a position where they actually can (if they want, I'm not saying they are) control the flow of information. So my position on this is that the more search engines, and the more equal they are both in capabilities and market share, the better.

  • Ugly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by glpierce (731733)
    Now that is one ugly search engine. It's amazing they made it look that bad, especially when you consider that they just ripped off the Google color scheme and format.
  • by JohnGrahamCumming (684871) * <slashdot.jgc@org> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:57AM (#8315536) Homepage Journal
    Or not.

    I mean this is just another stop along the way which has brought us the original Yahoo! directory, Altavista, Inktomi, Hotbot, Metacrawler, MSN Search, ..., Google, etc.

    It's hardly worth thinking about. So Yahoo! dropped Google: good for them. The best thing we can have is competition between different vendors, then we'll get some innovation. After all, Google innovated like hell to be better than the other engines, now let's see what Yahoo! (or others) can do to be better than Google.

    This doesn't have to be portrayed as some kind of war: that assumes that you take sides, and I'm not willing to be on Google's side. If something better comes along I'll switch.

    John.
  • by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:58AM (#8315546) Homepage Journal
    Imagine the cash shelled out to develop their new name - and they come up with Slurp. Some marketing jackass is sitting in his yacht, drinking - no, *slurping* - a pina colada, and thinking to himself, "I can't believe they paid my for that."
  • by bstil (652204) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:59AM (#8315555)
    Yahoo has gone so far as to imitate Google's search results design:

    title: blue, size +1
    excerpts: two lines
    date: green, size: green, "cached" link: gray, etc.

    Yahoo does not have a time stamp for pages, but everything else looks very similar!
  • Yahoo is Inktomi (Score:5, Informative)

    by Soukyan (613538) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:00AM (#8315559) Homepage
    Yahoo! has owned Inktomi since March of 2003 so the name change is cosmetic issue. As to dropping Google, it was only a matter of time. I'm thinking Yahoo!'s Paid Inclusion Services to their search engine technology is making a tidy profit. The problem? Their search technology still doesn't appear to be as reliable, accurate or quick as Google.
  • Yahoo's Own Search (Score:5, Insightful)

    by faust13 (535994) <contact@hERDOSan ... g minus math_god> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:00AM (#8315561) Homepage
    Overall, I'm pretty impressed with Yahoo's new search. It returned relavent results, and a little to my surprise that were different that what Google offered.

    In the long run competition is good, and I hope that we yield the benefits from having two good search engines. Although, I'm still apprehensive about Yahoo's "paid inclusion." Which seems to offer misleading results to the Internet novice.

    Check out what I'm trading [cdgoround.com]
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:01AM (#8315564) Journal
    Hmm... I just have a feeling they did and that it sucked. :-) But it seems Inktomi recently released Web Search 9 [inktomi.com] of their search engine (version 9?) and this change by Yahoo! seems to coincide with that one well enough that they might use some brand new engine, and not just rolling back to some old pre-Google quality crap.

    Here's by the way the press release, which I think should have been linked to from the /. article at least:
    Yahoo Press Release [yahoo.com]
  • I'm serious.. I was curious about their 'farm'

    whatismyip.com is a nice page that tells you your ip. Google's cache for that page at
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=U TF-8&q=whatismyip.com shows the machine that indexed it was at 64.68.82.168 which IP lookup traces ultimately back to http://www.cwusa.com/ a microsoft centric company with ip, hosting and data services.. what is google's database holding a record that originated from there-- any theories?

  • Thank you.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bob670 (645306) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:01AM (#8315574)
    Microsoft, for once your black touch came near something as simple and useful as Internet searches, everyone smelled blood and money in the water. Yahoo and anyone with a little cash will now try to turn searching into huge profits and advertising tie ins, it will become more difficult to do legitimate research, then we can have another round of dot.com funding, create another tech bubble and screw the industry up some more. With both Linux and Mac OS X having proven themselves as outstanding alternatives to Windows I do wish more people would wake up to switching and start depleting Microsft's cash coffers a little, that way they coudn't move in and screw up other industries like smart phones, gaming and now search engines. And if you don't see the tie-in between Yahoo's actions and Microsft overtures toward search you are not paying attention.
    • Re:Thank you.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      Uh, I am paying attention and I don't see the tie-in between Yahoo's actions and Microsoft's "overtures". The first company to successfully monetize search results was our old buddy Google, MS came in late in the game as always.
  • searches (Score:4, Interesting)

    by scarolan (644274) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:01AM (#8315578) Homepage
    Lately the quality of Google's search has declined significantly, especially for less common phrases. Seems a lot of what comes up is spam/redirect pages that are just packed with keywords to get you to visit a porn site.
  • Results (Score:5, Funny)

    by savagedome (742194) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:03AM (#8315588)
    Searching for Yahoo on Yahoo [yahoo.com] comes up with about 102 million hits.

    Searching for Yahoo on Google [google.com] comes up with 119 million hits.

    Google got depth :)
    Yahoo can't even search its own kind!

    • Re:Results (Score:3, Funny)

      by lcde (575627)
      whats really bad is searching
      site:yahoo.com [google.com] on google yeilds 14,100,000

      while
      searching site:yahoo.com [yahoo.com] on yahoo only yeilds 7,580,000


      (Side note: yahoo's url is also longer, this will take more time to type in on IE :D)
  • nice page (Score:5, Interesting)

    by minus_273 (174041) <aaaaa@SPAM.ya h o o . com> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:03AM (#8315590) Journal
    i like the new lean yahoo page: http://search.yahoo.com/ also the results are comparable to google. Searching for my name turned out a few things i had never seen on Yahoo. Quite nice. I think i have another search engine to use. Gotta love capitalism!
  • Slightly OT, but take a look at that page [google.com] (No images, just text page for those at work)...it lists all the misspelt versions of britney spears detected by their spell checker.

    Not sure why this page is even up there...it doesn't look like it's linked to from anywhere else.

    And even the location is wrong...it's under their Jobs area. I think this page isn't supposed to be up on a public server...maybe somebody'll look at it here and correct a possible vulnerability.

  • by filtersweep (415712) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:04AM (#8315604) Homepage Journal
    Pardon my sarcasm, but their officially "approved" "directory listings" were never all that easy to break into if someone wanted their own site listed and I've always been very skeptical that sites paid for their placement as Yahoo supplanted their "free" services with more and more paid and subscription-based services. I'm not suggesting that they should not run as a "profitable" business, but what is advertising and what are legitimate search results? It is not unlike deciphering Fox News' editorial content from their 'journalism.' I'm sure this will all quickly devolve into a paid product placement scheme.
  • Yahoo's image results [yahoo.com] still seem to be done through Google [google.com]...
  • by lennart78 (515598) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:05AM (#8315618)
    I just entered 'www.yahoo.com' into my browser to see what it looked liked nowadays. Yahoo is still positioning itself as a portal, and rams a bunch of ads down my throat before I had a chance to hit the back button.

    Their search engine seems to be working fine (but slow, compared to google), and no image-based ads between the results.

    War/Competition usually means improvement of usability of their respective products. I'm all for that...
  • Ya-who? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WebGangsta (717475) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:19AM (#8315771)
    While I know many people who use Yahoo for their tools (email, domain services, website hosting, calendar, address book, groups, etc), I don't know many who turn to Yahoo for their search results anymore. Google (and to a lesser extent, MSN - due to their tight Windows/IE integration for the uninitiated who haven't changed their preferences) IS becoming the defacto search engine on the web for the masses.

    I think website referral logs reflect this as well. Using the y2003 visitor report from one of the websites that I manage, over 50% of search engine referrals came from Google; a little over 10% came from Yahoo. Other reports that I've reviewed offer similar findings.

    As for the "slurp" name, since its been a familiar crawler for years (Inktomi), Yahoo would risk alienating some websites/website managers who would have to go adjust their Robots files just for the new name. (And let's not mention those folks who don't know how to update the Webtrends crawler ini file or their browsercap.ini files...)

    On a related note: at some point, those spam-artist "Submit Your Site to 300 Search Engines" folks will be put out of business. Other than the top 7 or so, what other search engines/portals would be considered "major"? Yahoo, Google, MSN, Altavista/Teoma, All The Web, Ask Jeeves, About (out-of-date half the time), Looksmart, DMOZ. (Heck, even Lycos pulled out of search [searchenginejournal.com] the other day)

  • by bad-badtz-maru (119524) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:22AM (#8315801) Homepage
    There seems to be some confusion as to what is meant by "paid inclusion". It doesn't mean that you pay to get your site listed higher. It means that you pay to get a specific page spidered more often. That's all. If you don't pay, your site still gets listed - and PFI sites don't rank any higher than non-PFI sites.
  • by celerityfm (181760) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:23AM (#8315817) Journal
    Before Yahoo got to the point where they could "dump" Google, they bought up Inktomi, their old search engine results provider before Google and Overture, the biggest pay per click ad distributor next to Google in order get to the point that they could even compete with Google.

    As far as relevancy is concerned, think about how relevant MSN's search results were and you've got an understanding for Inktomi's results-- MSN relied on them for their base result set (after the overture/looksmart advertisements).

    But here's the key-- Yahoo picked up Overture, who had just purchased both Altavista AND AllTheWeb-- Altavista used to be a killer search engine, and AllTheWeb is the best, most relevant search engine next to Google.. so Yahoo has really got a fighting chance here. Good news for competition. But the fact that Yahoo had to purchase up so many assets is just a sign to how strong Google is.

    Now, keep your eye on Microsoft.
    • I was wondering if anyone was going to mention alltheweb. While Google is my primary search engine, I more often than not end up on alltheweb.

      If you combine alltheweb's results with Yahoo's directory browsing (by far better than google's johnny-come-lately attempt) then I might just have a new primary search engine.

      Of course old habbits die hard. It took over a year for me to dump Yahoo in favor of google, so even if it is a lot better it will probably take a while for me to dump google
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:23AM (#8315818)
    With Yahoo owning Inktomi and Overture, and Overture in turn owning both Alta Vista and AllTheWeb, this was a move that everybody could see coming. I even wrote about it about a month ago in my little blog [studioqb.com].

    In short, Yahoo's been on a quiet buying spree. Without attracting too much attention, they've aquired enough resources so that they no longer have any need to buy anything from Google, it's all available in-house.

    So, Yahoo's out to take back its role as the #1 search site that Google took from it. Google for the first time in a while has a serious threat that's going to force it to improve just at at time where the result quality is starting to slip... this should be fun to watch.
  • by scifience (674659) * <webmaster@scifience.net> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:24AM (#8315827) Homepage
    I have written up an in-depth comparison of Google and Yahoo that compares the number of results that each provides as well as user experience. The link to it is: http://www.scifience.net/ [scifience.net]. I would have posted it directly here, except there are screenshots and other such things that can't be posted as a Slashdot comment.
  • Logging is fun (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Walkiry (698192) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:25AM (#8315834) Homepage
    66.196.65.34 - - [17/Feb/2004:01:44:11 +0100] "GET /robots.txt HTTP/1.0" 404 284 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Slurp/si; slurp@inktomi.com; http://www.inktomi.com/slurp.html)"

    66.196.72.42 - - [17/Feb/2004:01:44:14 +0100] "GET /psicop HTTP/1.0" 301 316 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Slurp/cat; slurp@inktomi.com; http://www.inktomi.com/slurp.html)"

    66.196.72.42 - - [17/Feb/2004:01:45:25 +0100] "GET /psicop/ HTTP/1.0" 200 5476 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Slurp/cat; slurp@inktomi.com; http://www.inktomi.com/slurp.html)"

    Sure enough, my site! is! now! on! Yahoo! including some pages that don't show up in Google (like the Psi Cop page mentioned up there). Interesting.
    • Re:Logging is fun (Score:4, Interesting)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:44AM (#8316000)
      Eh, Slurp has been out for years, it's the been the crawler for Inktomi all along. What changed today was that Yahoo replaced Google results with Inktomi results, therefore drawing a lot more attention to what up until now had been an also-ran compared to Google.
  • by Freedom Bug (86180) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:32AM (#8315900) Homepage
    Once we have viable competitors to Google, savvy people will prefer the viable competitors. Why? Although Google has done a good job keeping ahead of the optimizers, the best way to avoid optimizers will be to use the competition. So unless you like your first 20 results to be filled with the commercial, optimized, sites, you may be better off using Google competition than using Google.

    Bryan
  • Need info? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Docrates (148350) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:38AM (#8315944) Homepage
    If you need more information about yahoo, go here [google.com].
  • by Bendebecker (633126) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:40AM (#8315968) Journal
    Was altavista. Altavista was cool, it'd give 200 good results (okay, 100 good results, 100 junk). Unfortunately it rolled out with a *new* look that made it little more than a copy of yahoo - even looked like yahoo. Go there now and it looks like google. I don't know why but it seems altavsita has become the clone of whatever the top search engine for this month is. Yahoo on the other hand just decided to use the same search engine as google so why go to yahoo and not just google in the first place? Its good that we finally now have soem variety again in search engines on the net.
  • by Alan (347) <arcterex@ufie[ ]rg ['s.o' in gap]> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:55AM (#8316117) Homepage
    Other than the URLs being different, lets see what's the same....

    'cached' link - check

    text ads on right - check

    same color scheme - check

    bold search terms in results list - check

    highlight search terms in cached view - check

    sponsored links on top - check (with more than the one or two that are given on google)

    top menu bar for directory, news, etc - check

    misspelling suggestions - check

    Hmm..... looks like a carbon copy so far. New features?

    add to my yahoo

    view as xml (to suck down rss feeds)

    The 'view as xml' is probably the most interesting to me, but other than that.... well, they've done a good job emulating/copying googles feature set, which is no small task I'll gather. But still....

    Meh.

  • by mumblestheclown (569987) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:58AM (#8316150)
    Google should IPO NOW, because if they don't, they are in serious deep doo-doo.

    Why?

    Because when you a value a company, you value them on what they actually have that's valuable.

    What google has that is valueable is 1) a great indexing technology 2) lotsa eyeballs 3) lotsa community goodwill.

    1) is imitable. sure, it will take some money, but if you paid the world's dozen top guys in this sort of thing 5m each to come up with an equivalent system, they would. add another say 20m for hardware and bandwidth and you have the beginnings of a reasonable google clone.. for FAR less than what google's current pie-in-the-sky valuation is.

    2) is malleable. people WILL change their surfing habits when the next best thing comes along. this has been demonstrated many times over the years.

    3) is slipping. at the risk of being labeled a troll, i don't like google very much any more. for one, while still better than everything out there, the searches are now heavily influenced by all sorts of nonsense. for example, since I live in the UK but do business in the USA, I often look for suppliers of things in the USA. I havent found a good way to get around google's georgraphic targeting of search results (linked to IP) and thus google results are incredibly useless. worse, it seems that half of google results these days are for sites that are themselves auto-generated stupid link pages of indeteterminate purpose (some guy making some money somewhere out there by 'beating' google).

    I am also a google advertiser--I spend i think $50/day on google ads. While my site has always been the most popular in its field with enthusiasts, I noticed that it didn't show up highly in the regular search results until I started paying for paid ads. I found this disconcerting, to say the least, since my understanding is that such a link is denied.

    I can't complain about the actual ad servcie, except that, again, its inimitable. if we had 4 or 5 good googles, which is technologically and economically plausible, we'd have price competition on ads and "bs" competition in terms of people going to less cluttered and more honest-ranking engines more.

    So go google, IPO now.. before somebody else understands that it would really not take much more than USD $50M to pretty effectively replicate your "3 billion" dollar company.

  • by GoogleGuy (754053) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:34PM (#8316487) Homepage
    Hi,

    here's a small tool to compare the search results of Google and Yahoo [googleguy.de].

    Have fun.
  • Google Bombs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Derkec (463377) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:52PM (#8316749)
    I thought it'd be interesting to see how Yahoo handled 2 classic google bombs. "Miserable Failure" and "French Military Victories".

    Miserable Failure:
    History (as I understand it): There was an effort to link "miserable failure" to the white house biography of W. This happened after Gephardt declared Bush a miserable failure of a President. If the sites were bomb proof, we'd see articles relating to that major declaration high. If not we'd see the bomb's target high followed by the numerous right wing counter attacks against Michael Moore and others.
    Google: Google's results are dominated by the bomb, but its fifth place mark gets a relevant article.
    Yahoo: Also bombed, but has the article as its 1st link.

    Winner: Yahoo

    French military victories:
    History:
    The French military has had some victories, but not a ton. To mock them for not jumping on board on the whole blow up Iraq gig, somebody spoofed a google result to make it appear that there were no results but did you mean "defeats"? It got big.
    Google: Totally overwhelmed by the bomb. It's top choice is the bomb target and everything else is people linking to the bomb, talking about it, or reporting on it. No non-bomb related historical pages for 100 hits as far as i could see.
    Yahoo: Pretty much the same results. Although results 21 and 35 suggests Yahoo selling your search results. However, hit number 80 scored a paper on Napolean.

    Winner: Yahoo by a hair.

    Overall: Yahoo shows itself to be vulnerable to attacks targetting Google albiet slightly less so. It also appears to intentionally seed its results with crap you don't want. I'll stick to google for now.
  • "Futurama Samples" (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gannoc (210256) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @02:00PM (#8317515)

    Try searching for that in google and then do it in yahoo. Looks like Yahoo has pulled ahead until the bastards figure out how to trick the crawler again.

  • wrap-up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by falsification (644190) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:49PM (#8321388) Journal
    Well the thread is wrapping up and again the discussion was pretty boring. We can do better, people. We can do better.

    A couple of big points that were unspoken AFAICT:

    • Yahoo competing again in the search engine market is good. Yahoo has the financial resources to play ball with Google and MSN. With three real competitors, none of them can get away with mediocrity anymore. (Yahoo now owns Inktomi, Teoma, Ask Jeeves and lots of other name brands.)
    • Yahoo will be building back its index over the next couple of months. They will also continue to tweak their algorithm. To help Yahoo get back on its feet, we should run lots of searches through Yahoo for a while. The search examples will give Yahoo the data it needs to improve.
    • No one mentioned that lots of people login at Yahoo, and nobody logs in at Google. Presumably, Yahoo could use their already-existing cookies to target search results more effectively. OTOH, this could result in privacy invasions. Google does have its own infamous cookie, but it does not necessarily carry personal ID information on it.
    • Somebody said Google screwed up by not issuing their IPO already. Good point.
    • Somebody else said Google (via Blogger) is adopting Atom while Yahoo is sticking with RSS. I wonder what MSN will go with.
    • Lots of small search engines, like Scrub the Web [scrubtheweb.com] still exist. Their indices tend to be small. It must take several tens of millions of dollars in capital to get in the search engine game in a major way.
    • Why hasn't anyone tried a different search engine business plan? Instead of trying to trick users into coming to your site and clicking on ads, how about charging a subscription fee to search ad-free? It would be like Northern Light, except it would index the whole web.
    • Why don't we have semantic searching yet? I want to search web pages with "location:belgium" or "year:1999."
    • The search engines are missing out on a big market: blogs. The blog search engines like Bloogz [bloogz.com] have an interesting niche to develop all by themselves.
    • Perhaps Google's Page Rank feature is overrated. Why not index words immediately before and after those that are linked, not just the link words? Wouldn't that increase search result relevancy?
    I'm looking forward to better results on all of the engines.

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