Major Search Engines
NZ search engines
For webmasters, these services are extremely important,
because they generate so much traffic.
For searchers, these well-known, commercially backed search engines
generally mean more dependable results. These search engines are more likely to be
well maintained and upgraded when necessary, to keep pace with the growing web.
Not all of the services below are "true" search engines that crawl the web. For
instance, Yahoo and the Open Directory are both "directories" that depend on humans to compile their listings. In fact, most of the services below offer both
search engine and directory information, though they will predominately feature one type of results over the other. See the
How Search Engines Work page to
understand more about the difference between search engines and directories.
AOL Search allows its members to search across the web and AOL's own
content from one place. The "external" version, listed above, does not list AOL content. The main listings for categories and web sites come from the Open
Directory (see below). Inktomi (see below) also provides crawler-based results, as backup to the directory information. Before the launch of AOL
Search in October 1999, the AOL search service was Excite-powered AOL NetFind.
AltaVista is consistently one of the largest search engines on the web, in terms
of pages indexed. Its comprehensive coverage and wide range of power searching commands makes it a particular
favourite among researchers. In addition to crawler-based web page matches, it also offers news search,
shopping search, multimedia search and human-powered directory results from LookSmart (see below). AltaVista opened in December 1995. It was owned
by Digital, then run by Compaq (which purchased Digital in 1998), then spun off into a separate company which is now controlled by CMGI. AltaVista also
operates the Raging Search service, below.
Ask Jeeves is a human-powered search service that aims to direct you to the
exact page that answers your question. If it fails to find a match within its own
database, then it will provide matching web pages from various search engines.
Direct Hit measures what people click on in the search results presented at its
own site and at its partner sites, such as HotBot. Sites that get clicked on more
than others rise higher in Direct Hit's rankings. Thus, the service dubs itself a
"popularity engine." Aside from running its own web site, Direct Hit provides the main results which appear at
HotBot (see below) and is available as an option to searchers at MSN Search. Direct Hit is owned by Ask Jeeves
Excite offers a medium-sized crawler-based web page index, as well as access
to human-powered directory results from LookSmart. Excite was launched in late 1995. It grew quickly in prominence and consumed two of its competitors,
Magellan in July 1996, and WebCrawler in November 1996. These continue to run as separate services.
Formerly called All The Web, FAST Search aims to index the entire web. It
was the first search engine to break the 200 million web page index milestone and consistently has one of the largest indexes of the web. The Norwegian
company behind FAST Search also powers some of the results that appear at Lycos (see below). FAST Search launched in May 1999.
Google is increasingly becoming the search engine of choice for
many users. It makes heavy use of link popularity as a primary way to rank web sites. This can be especially helpful in finding good sites in response to general searches such as "cars" and
"travel," because users across the web have in essence voted for good sites by linking to them. The system works so well that Google has gained wide-spread praise for its high relevancy. Google also has a huge index of the web and provides some results to Yahoo
and Netscape Search.
Unlike the other major search engines, GoTo sells its main listings. Companies
can pay money to be placed higher in the search results, which GoTo feels improves relevancy. Non-paid results come from Inktomi. GoTo launched in
1997 and incorporated the former University of Colorado-based World Wide Web Worm. In February 1998, it shifted to its current pay-for-placement
model and soon after replaced the WWW Worm with Inktomi for its non-paid listings. GoTo is not related to Go (Infoseek). Paid listing from GoTo also
appear on other major search engines, including AltaVista, AOL Search, Lycos, HotBot and Netscape Search.
HotBot is a favourite among researchers due to its many power searching
features. In most cases, HotBot's first page of results comes from the Direct Hit
service (see above), and then secondary results come from the Inktomi search engine, which is also used by other services. It gets its directory information
from the Open Directory project (see below). HotBot launched in May 1996 as Wired Digital's entry into the search engine market. Lycos purchased Wired
Digital in October 1998 and continues to run HotBot as a separate search service.
Backed by US television network CBS, iWon has a directory of web sites
generated automatically by Inktomi, which also provides its more traditional crawler-based results. iWon gives away daily, weekly and monthly prizes in a
marketing model unique among the major services. It launched in Fall 1999.
Originally, there was an Inktomi search engine at UC Berkeley. The creators
then formed their own company with the same name and created a new Inktomi index, which was first used to power HotBot. Now the Inktomi index also
powers several other services. All of them tap into the same index, though results may be slightly different. This is because Inktomi provides ways for its
partners to use a common index yet distinguish themselves. There is no way to query the Inktomi index directly, as it is only made available through
Inktomi's partners with whatever filters and ranking tweaks they may apply.
LookSmart is a human-compiled directory of web sites. In addition to being a
stand-alone service, LookSmart provides directory results to MSN Search, Excite and many other partners. Inktomi provides LookSmart with search
results when a search fails to find a match from among LookSmart's reviews. LookSmart launched independently in October 1996, was backed by Reader's
Digest for about a year, and then company executives bought back control of the service.
Lycos started out as a search engine, depending on listings that came from
spidering the web. In April 1999, it shifted to a directory model similar to Yahoo. Its main listings come from the Open Directory project, and then
secondary results come from the FAST Search engine. Some Direct Hit results are also used. In October 1998, Lycos acquired the competing HotBot search
service, which continues to be run separately.
Microsoft's MSN Search service is a LookSmart-powered directory of web
sites, with secondary results that come from Inktomi. RealNames and Direct Hit data is also made available.
NBCi is a human-compiled directory of web sites, supplemented by search
results from Inktomi. It was formerly known as Snap but had a name change in late 2000. Backed by US television network NBC, the site's future is in doubt,
as NBC announced wide-spread layoffs in April 2001.
Netscape Search's results come primarily from the Open Directory and
Netscape's own "Smart Browsing" database, which does an excellent job of listing "official" web sites. Secondary results come from Google. At the
Netscape Netcenter portal
site, other search engines are also featured.
Northern Light is another favourite search engine among researchers. It features
a large index of the web, along with the ability to cluster documents by topic.
Northern Light also has a set of "special collection" documents that are not
readily accessible to search engine spiders. There are documents from thousands of sources, including newswires, magazines and databases. Searching
these documents is free, but there is a charge of up to $4 to view them. There is
no charge to view documents on the public web -- only for those within the special collection. Northern Light opened to
general use in August 1997.
The Open Directory uses volunteer editors to catalo the web. Formerly known
as NewHoo, it was launched in June 1998. It was acquired by Netscape in November 1998, and the company pledged that anyone would be able to use
information from the directory through an open license arrangement. Netscape itself was the first licensee. Lycos and AOL Search also make heavy use of
Open Directory data.
Operated by AltaVista, Raging Search uses the same core index as AltaVista
and virtually the same ranking algorithms. Why use it? AltaVista offers it for those who want fast
search results, with no portal features getting in the way.
The RealNames system is meant to be an easier-to-use alternative to the
current web site addressing system. Those with RealNames-enabled browsers can enter a word like "Nike" to reach the Nike web site. To date, RealNames
has had its biggest success through search engine partnerships.
WebTop is a crawler-based search engine that claims an extremely large index.
In addition to listing web pages, WebTop also provides information from news
sources, company information and WAP-related content in its search results.
The company also offers the WebCheck tool (formerly called k-check), which
is an Alexa-like search and discovery tool. WebTop is backed by Bright Station, the company that acquired some search technology and other
resources from the former Dialog Corporation. The Dialog search service itself is now owned by a different company, the Thomson Corporation.
Yahoo is the web's most popular search service and has a well-deserved reputation for helping people find information easily. The secret to Yahoo's success is human beings. It is the largest human-compiled guide to the web, employing about 150 editors in an effort to categorize the web. Yahoo has well over 1 million sites listed. Yahoo also supplements its results with those from Google (beginning in July 2000, when Google takes over from Inktomi). If a search fails to find a match within Yahoo's own listings, then matches from Google are displayed. Google matches also appear after all Yahoo matches have first been shown. Yahoo is the oldest major web site directory, having launched in late 1994.
Zealand Search Engines
|"THE EASIEST WAY TO FIND WHAT YOU NEED IN NZ"
Probably the most
popular NZ seach engine SearchNZ. A fault-tolerant ("fuzzy") search engine, restricted to New
Zealand cyberspace and part of the NZCity group of websites.
This is the web
directory for SearchNZ. NZSearch contains some of the best sites New
Zealand has to offer. Unlike a search engine a web directory is easy to browse and only returns
one result per website. Also has a new websites section.
Other NZ search
engines and directories:
- New Zealand links & resources site