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Search Engine Randomizer

For when Google is the only search engine
  (+5, -3)
(+5, -3)
  [vote for,

First the polemic: The day seems to be coming when there will be no opposition to google. Excite is dying. Teoma was there for a while before it was swallowed up. Does anyone still use webcrawler? Would anyone use msn?Northern Light closed its search engine. Alta Vista has no money. And so on and so forth. A fantastically good search engine google undoubtedly is, but I almost miss the days when there were no really great engines and one would return vastly different results from another. True, it was irritating when you entered, say "microsoft official site" and got back some kid's homepage anti-MS rant as the first result. But then, the sites you got to seemed more various in their content - again. Google's success is removing some of the variety from the resource the web is.

Now the idea: No major change to google is required. And I assume the methods they use to categorize things is probably about as good as public search engine technology gets. But what I propose is that, say one time in twenty, google completely randomises the resultset hierarchy so result 64787 might get listed first and result 1 might be found twenty odd pages into the results. In this way most of the time the search string "halfbakery" would get you here, but just occasionally it would take you to a serious page about land mines onto which riposte's EZ-LandMine idea managed to find its way.
mcscotland, Feb 01 2002

www.duh http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/www_2eduh
Where I asked for this very same thing [phoenix, Feb 01 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Predictive Homepage Selector http://www.halfbake...Homepage_20Selector
The intelligent version [phoenix, Feb 01 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Least-popular searches http://www.halfbake...-popular_20searches
peripherally related to the idea, more relevant to Googlewhacking. [beauxeault, Feb 01 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Googlewhacking: The Search for 'The One' http://www.unblinki...heh/googlewhack.htm
Since this page itself has been Google-spidered, all of the examples on it are no longer valid. [waugsqueke, Feb 01 2002]

Vivisimo - better than google http://www.vivisimo.com
A meta-search-engine (i.e. uses search results from google etc.) but categorises the results found for your convenience. [vincebowdren, Feb 04 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Google's successor http://www.wired.co...282,45905-2,00.html
To the point article [thumbwax, Feb 04 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

The technology behind Google's great results http://www.google.c...ogy/pigeonrank.html
"The heart of Google's search technology is PigeonRank™, a system for ranking web pages developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University." [bristolz, Apr 04 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       Hmm, worrying problem. We don't want Google to have a monopoly. Maybe the government could divide it into separate sites for searches A-M and N-Z.   

       Perhaps search engine skins to the Google database, because AV used to have better query syntax I seem to remember. So you could do an altavista or a hotbot or whatever search on Google. Although Google's good, it's not perfect. It seems far too keen on bringing up reputable sites with little relevance to the topic, and not keen enough on weird, off-the-beaten-track sites that may actually have a lot of knowledge, but because they're not so well known, its search engine metric discounts them.   

       Incidentally, is everyone in the world familiar with Googlewacking, the game where you have to find two words that when you type them into Google together, they only return one search result? Harder than it appears. Yesterday I got "courgette thurible" and "olfactory formicarium", but now this page will show up as well.
pottedstu, Feb 01 2002

       Yep. Sometimes you're just in the mood for something unpredictable. (See link)
phoenix, Feb 01 2002

       Just learned of Google-whacking yesterday, 'stu. I have to say, intriguing as it sounds, it has to be just about the biggest time waster there ever was.   

       I must be negative toward this idea. I'm quite pleased that Google has gotten it right. It's a blessing.
waugsqueke, Feb 01 2002

       And if you don't like the predictability of Google, try out Dogpile, a metasearch engine of other Web search engines, Usenet, FTP sites and wire services. Guaranteed to give you some unexpectedly different takes than what you are accustomed to with Google.
jurist, Feb 02 2002

       ". A fantastically good search engine google undoubtedly is"   

       Since I doubt it's 'fantastically good', this is false. If it actually paid attention to the words you put in, or if it even paid attention to its own 'advanced search' fields, it might be. Alta Vista had better syntax...if you told it 'find this phrase', it found that phrase instead of dumping half the words as too common and then randomly searching for the rest.
StarChaser, Feb 02 2002

       Oh StarChaser lets not get into an agrument along the lines "Altavista is better the google" etc. That being said, I'm going to have to correct you:
//it found that phrase instead of dumping half the words as too common and then randomly searching for the rest.
so does google (and c99% of the search engines on the net) since they all search for phrases if they are entered as phrases instead of keywords: "find this phrase", instead of: find this phrase. And of course you can use logical operators to make a search more precise.

       jurist: yeah meta search engines are fine, but since they are just running searches against existing engines they might suffer from the same problem that other search engines are finding - they are being killed off by 1. stupid business plans, and 2. the success of google. So what use is a meta search engine when it relies too heavily on one source?
mcscotland, Feb 02 2002

       I, too, prefered AltaVista - until they started putting 'sponsored' links at the top of search results.
phoenix, Feb 02 2002

       Mscotland, you apparently didn't read what I wrote; GOOGLE is the one that dumps words. If you put in 'The Lord Of The Rings', it dumps 'the, of, the' and searches for 'lord' and 'rings'. <This is an example. This particular phrase actually works.>   

       If I put in a phrase, I want it to search for THAT PHRASE, not to decide I didn't know what I was talking about and change it on me.
StarChaser, Feb 03 2002

       starchaser & unabubba are we using the same google? If you want google to search for a phrase enter it as one. Your example: enter the *phrase* "the lord of the rings": google ditches no words. Enter the *keywords* "the" "lord" "of" "the" "rings", then "the" and "of" are dumped. Have a glance at the advanced search pages, which explains it better than perhaps I have.
mcscotland, Feb 04 2002

       While we're having this argument, I used to use google but now prefer vivisimo (see link). It arranges it's search results in a tree hierarchy, according to their content. Can make the job of finding the results you're actually after a lot quicker, because it cuts out the hassle of trawling through a load of irrelevant results.
vincebowdren, Feb 04 2002

       VIVISIMO! - thanks vince the bowdren - more relevance by/within folders than NorthernLight (which was acquired by divine, inc. Jan. 18 BTW) - Though I like the fact NorthernLight lists the article source itself straightaway, vivisimo lists Search Source which is fine in most apps. far and away better than Google.
thumbwax, Feb 04 2002

       The distinction that mcscotland is making isn't coming through clearly. Fact is that Google will not dump any words if you enter a phrase within quotation marks...   

       "I am the Walrus" - will search for exactly this phrase.
I am the Walrus - will search for 'Walrus' only.
waugsqueke, Feb 04 2002

       <meek>sorry Mr Bubba</meek> I kind of expected as much, which is why I was a little surprised to read you "loosing" words in such a way.

Right, enough! I didn't start this to get a "one search engine is better than the other" debate going, this idea is based on the assumption that google is well on its way to having a Redmond-like stranglehold on its particular market sector and ways to reintroduce less of a hierarchy in the information it provides us. I should choose my ideas more carefully...mibbe I should just go write an HB song?
mcscotland, Feb 04 2002

       [pottedstu] - Hurrah! - "ichthyosaurus harpsichord" only has one hit on Google.
hippo, Feb 04 2002

       I think the theory that Google will conquer all the other search engines is flawed. The reason I use Google is the same reason I like the 1/b the page layout is simple and eye-pleasing. All of the search engines started out that way but with the advent of "sponsered sites" and added features they became harder to use. Google is already making concessions in this direction. Googlewhack "cheesecake weebling" and you will get this page and a sponsered site for some chessecake store.
salmon, Feb 04 2002

       I think the theory that Google will conquer all the other search engines is flawed. The reason I use Google is the same reason I like the 1/b the page layout is simple and eye-pleasing. All of the search engines started out that way but with the advent of "sponsered sites" and added features they became harder to use. Google is already making concessions in this direction. Googlewhack "cheesecake weebling" and you will get this page and a sponsered site for some cheesecake store.
salmon, Feb 04 2002

       [hippo] Hoorah! so does "ostracod pyromania"!
goff, Feb 04 2002

       <checks> How about that? They finally fixed Google. Before, typing 'I am the walrus' into the plain search would have searched for 'walrus'. Typing it into the exact phrase field in the advanced search would have searched for...'walrus', because' i am and the are all common words.   

       The LOTR thing was an example, way back when I tried a search for that and all I got was 'lord' and 'rings' because the others are all common words.
StarChaser, Feb 05 2002

       No search engine can index overly-common words; while they have different threshholds of what's "overly common", an index holding every "the" on the web would be extremely large and not terribly useful.   

       Awhile ago I was playing around with Altavista and what it seemed to do was tag 'real' words with an indicator of which stop-words were near them. It didn't necessarily keep track of order, though, so finding certain unusual phrasings wasn't possible (they'd get drowned out by the common ones).   

       BTW, I just tried Google searches on "Lord of Rings", "Lord of the Rings", and "Lord of the the Rings". The first two searches found about 144,000; the last found 117. Oddly, though, I can't find any occurrence of "the the rings" in most of the latter pages (some careless typists did put in a few elsewhere!).   

       AltaVista seems to require "the" if specified; unlike Google. it did find one hit for "Lord the of Rings", though the link doesn't seem to work and I can't tell if the searched text really was there.
supercat, Feb 05 2002

       My first attempt at Google Whacking: I tried:   

       "dental mice infections"   

       and got 4,900 hits complete with graphic photos and links to dentists that will get them out of your mouth!   

blainez, Mar 06 2002

       Proctology Triskaidekaphobia brings up no matches while Ornithology Triskaidekaphobia brings up 2, go figure.
barnzenen, Mar 06 2002

       My questions involve the mixing of the web into the world political scene:   

       Will Google become more powerful than the international media in influence? Is google leading us towards true rule of anarchy?
RayfordSteele, Apr 04 2002

       Don't forget it still is an issue of money. The best listing placement goes to the site that is willing to pay the most for it. This expense can be in the form of money given to the search engine or in the expense of IT staff that can trick the spiders and robots that collect the data for the search engine. (No the engine is not searching the web for your criteria it is seraching its own database)   

       If you start scrambling the results the companies won't be willing to pay for placement. Obviously this means no revenue. No revenue = no search engine.   

       Gone are the good old days of Boolean searches - too bad. Now every site has been reduced to the lowest level of user competency.
smitch466, Apr 04 2002


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