Will there be any alternative search engine to really challenge Google’s stranglehold in the near future? Will spam sites and parked domains continue to rate highly? Will we be able to search and actually easily find exactly what we are looking for? Will we be able to access a good range of valuable information on a topic without finding only those sites who have been successful in keyword and search engine optimization techniques?
Google Search does has a lot going for it. It is the most popular, many people are happier staying with something they are familiar with and it integrates with so many other highly used services, mostly its own. Google search did make search more effective and it does an fairly adequate job. Most people do not question it – it is just there. If they can’t find what they want users are likely to blame their own search terms.
Results based on keywords are not reliable. Take the word ‘Paris’ for example.
You would assume that such a search would result in travel sites and information on the capital city of France but the Google results are interspersed with Paris Hilton (lots of Paris Hilton) and ads for Disney and Las Vegas Hotels.
Alternate Search Engines
Checking out other search engines for the word “Paris” produced these results:
“Semantic Search” attempts to incorporate “meaning” into the process by taking account of context and the interrelationships between words rather than isolated keywords and how backlinks there are to a site. For example:
Human Edited Search Engines
Human edited search engines are being touted as a better system. Quality control issues plague current search engines – fully automated systems not being able to filter out all spam sites or those of little or no value.
Wikia Search Alpha
Launched in January 08 is a search engine in the making – if there are enough contributors to develop it into a comprehensive search engine. Its concept is that of “trusted user feedback from a community of users acting together in an open, transparent, public way”. Users are urged to help with the “mini articles” that appear at the top of popular search terms.
Another search engine that is developing around human submissions. Mahalo employs editors, paid contributors and volunteers to add sites and pages to the search engine.
The more approved links you recommend the higher your rank on the Mahalo Social Leaderboard. Link submission is achieved by searching for a specific term and then adding relevant sites. A curator managing the results for that term then decides if the link is to be rejected or added to the results page under “recommended links”.
Mahalo has just added a social profile component Anyone can now create a profile, recommend links for a search term, “make friends” and share recommended links. You can add your blog address and profiles from social networking sites such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn,Twitter and Pownce.
Mahalo Follow is a new toolbar for Firefox that allows you to view Mahalo’s search results next to the results from the major search engine of your choice or have them appear in response to pages you view on the web. You can submit recommendations using either the Mahalo toolbar or directly from the site.
It must be remembered that both these sites are in their early days of development and are not yet going to produce the range of results expected from fully developed search engines. I like the concept though and will be monitoring their progress.
Visual/Clustered Search Engines
Information is presented in a two dimensional ‘map’ rather than a one dimensional list.
A visual search engine based on Yahoo! search. A search for a specific term will display a tag like collection of related terms surrounding your search term. Hovering over one of these related terms will display a similar cluster of terms relating to this term and so on. I have used Quintura on my Blogging Mentor Award page and here is an embedded example for the search term “Paris”
Meta crawlers do not crawl the web themselves but send out searches to other search engines to give you blended results. Example:
For me the challenge is to remember to use alternatives to Google search more;to discover which produces the most relevant results and which suits my searching style. I would be interested to hear your suggestions or views on alternative search engines.