News Zone

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Is this the begining of the Google-Troogle

Google Plans on Launching Travel Search Service

The online search giant seems to be interested in launching a feature that will allow users to search for cheap airfare and travel accommodation, which should prove quite successful with the holiday just around the corner.

Getting involved in the travel related business isn't something new for search engines, as Yahoo announced month that it plans to offer tools which turn Yahoo Travel into an online travel guide and encourages users to publish and share their travel experiences.

Google's announced feature will probably compete and be more successful than search sites specialized on travel and tourism, like Sidestep and Kayak, which skim through all published bookings information for fares and reservation prices. Google says that travel agencies such as Expedia and Travelocity, which also have online visibility, will not be affected by the new search feature, as they offer a complete package of information and the actual tickets.

On Google, users can input specific flight inquiries between two points and the results will be offered as links to websites that offer information about the fares. For the time being, Google representatives didn't give any information about when this service will be expanded or made permanent.

Specialized companies already fear the competition
~Adrian Stanciu, Sci-Tech News Editor

Monday, November 07, 2005

The History of Search Engines

The first Web search engine was "Wandex", a now-defunct index collected by the World Wide Web Wanderer, a web crawler developed by Matthew Gray at MIT in 1993. Another very early search engine, Aliweb, also appeared in 1993, and still runs today. The first "full text" crawler-based search engine was WebCrawler, which came out in 1994. Unlike its predecessors, it let users search for any word in any web page, which became the standard for all major search engines since. It was also the first one to be widely known by the public. Also in 1994 Lycos (which started at Carnegie Mellon University) came out, and became a major commercial endeavor.

Soon after, many search engines appeared and vied for popularity. These included Excite, Infoseek, Inktomi, Northern Light, and AltaVista. In some ways they competed with popular directories such as Yahoo!. Later, the directories integrated or added on search engine technology for greater functionality.

Search engines were also known as some of the brightest stars in the Internet investing frenzy that occurred in the late 1990s. Several companies entered the market spectacularly, recording record gains during their initial public offerings. Some have taken down their public search engine, and are marketing Enterprise-only editions, such as Northern Light.

Before the advent of the Web, there were search engines for other protocols or uses, such as the Archie search engine for anonymous FTP sites and the Veronica search engine for the Gopher protocol.

Google:
Around 2001, the Google search engine rose to prominence. Its success was based in part on the concept of link popularity and PageRank. How many other web sites and web pages link to a given page is taken into consideration with PageRank, on the premise that good or desirable pages are linked to more than others. The PageRank of linking pages and the number of links on these pages contribute to the PageRank of the linked page. This makes it possible for Google to order its results by how many web sites link to each found page. Google's minimalist user interface was very popular with users, and has since spawned a number of imitators.

Google and most other web engines utilize not only PageRank but more than 150 criteria to determine relevancy. The algorithm "remembers" where it has been and indexes the number of cross-links and relates these into groupings. PageRank is based on citation analysis that was developed in the 1950s by Eugene Garfield at the University of Pennsylvania. Google's founders cite Garfield's work in their original paper. In this way virtual communities of webpages are found. Teoma's search technology uses a communities approach in its ranking algorithm. NEC Research Institute has worked on similar technology. Web link analysis was first developed by Dr. Jon Kleinberg and his team while working on the CLEVER project at IBM's Almaden research lab. Google is the most popular search engine at this moment in time.

Yahoo Search:
In 2002, Yahoo! acquired Inktomi and in 2003, Yahoo! acquired Overture, which owned AlltheWeb and AltaVista. Despite owning its own search engine, Yahoo initially kept using Google to provide its users with search results on its main web site Yahoo.com. However, in 2004, Yahoo! launched its own search engine based on the combined technologies of its acquisitions and providing a service that gave pre-eminence to the Web search engine over the directory.

Microsoft:
The most recent major search engine is MSN Search, owned by Microsoft, which previously relied on others for its search engine listings. In 2004 it debuted a beta version of its own results, powered by its own web crawler (called msnbot). In early 2005 it started showing its own results live. This was barely noticed by average users unaware of where results come from, but was a huge development for many webmasters, who seek inclusion in the major search engines.

At the same time, Microsoft ceased using results from Inktomi, now owned by Yahoo.

This meant the market was now dominated by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. The other large (self described) search engines tend to be "portals" that merely show the results another company's search engine (like MSN Search used to do). The other "true" search engines (those that provide their own results), like GigaBlast, have vastly less market presence than the big three. However, since site usage is proprietary information, it's often difficult to determine which sites are most popular.

Challenges faced by search engines:
* The web is growing much faster than any present-technology search engine can possibly index (see distributed web crawling).
* Many web pages are updated frequently, which forces the search engine to revisit them periodically.
* The queries one can make are currently limited to searching for key words, which may result in many false positives.
* Dynamically generated sites may be slow or difficult to index, or may result in excessive results from a single site.
* Many dynamically generated sites are not indexable by search engines; this phenomenon is known as the invisible web.
* Some search engines do not order the results by relevance, but rather according to how much money the sites have paid them.
* Some sites use tricks to manipulate the search engine to display them as the first result returned for some keywords. This can lead to some search results being polluted, with more relevant links being pushed down in the result list.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fourth Weather Report: Yahoo! Update Tonight

We will be making changes to the ranking of our index tonight. I would expect that this update will be mild and quick compared to recent ones but will impact the ranking of some sites.

If you have any feedback for us about the new index please email: ystfeedback@yahoo.com.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Tim Mayer
Yahoo! Search
Posted by Yahoo!Search at November 1, 2005 08:27 PM

Desktop grows up

We always get a bit misty-eyed when a youngster graduates, so today we're dabbing back a few tears for Google Desktop, which leaves beta status behind with several powerful new features under its belt.Fans of Google Maps will want to check out Sidebar's new maps panel, which lets you do all the usual cool maps stuff -- local business info, directions, sightseeing -- plus a new one: finding new locations relevant to the web pages and emails you're reading and showing them in your maps panel.
Geeks, meanwhile, are invited to pore over our script support for writing plug-ins, which makes it far easier to create home-brewed Sidebar panels. And Sidebar has a bunch of new third- party panels, most notably GDTunes, which cycles through your iTunes collection (and even shows album covers).Finally, let me invite developers and anyone else who's interested to check out our new Google Desktop blog for the latest news and info.We've worked hard raising Desktop over the past two years. It's great to see it growing up so nicely.

~ Source : 11/03/2005 01:14:00 PM
Posted by Satish Sampath, Google Desktop Team