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Deprecated - Altavista, Alltheweb.com Forum

Should google be worried?
recent increase in quality

 2:06 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Did any one noticed a significant increase in search result quality in alltheweb?

Also, I am starting to receive some visits from them.

I think Fast will soon be a adversary that could threath google's position. (at least in quality)



 2:17 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

i'm sure google is worried about fast! it is the most underestimated company in the search enginge world! the quality is great, their index is the 2nd biggest after google and if someone would ask me to tell the difference between google's results and fast's - i couldn't tell it!


 2:18 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Should google be worried?

Not yet. The quality of the SERP's isn't really the issue just now - lots of people are commenting on how well FAST are shaping up, though I'd like to see them lose their bias towards keyword-laden domain names myself - the point is more that FAST is a good product that forever seems to be lurking in the wings.

You can almost hear them straining at the leash, but until they start to power a big boy, or come up with the fastest and most effective PR campaign since, well, Google, they just don't count. Refererrals are at a sub-atomic level compared to G.

Will their time come? Who knows. Answers on a postcard please.



 2:33 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Did any one noticed a significant increase in search result quality in alltheweb?

YES, somebody did:
[webmasterworld.com...] ;)

>Should Google be worried?

Well, they should at least keep an eye on FAST. As mentioned above, if FAST lands a major portal - specially in the US - they could very likely become one of majors referral-wise. The technology is unmatched IMO and it's just a matter of time before they take off. The quality of the SERPS have been increasing a lot lately and they are more than up to par with gg.

We just need that major partner. Hopes and whishes that it will happen in 2003 :)


 2:44 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure if Google should be worried about that too much. Though Google referrers have dropped in my logs, Yahoo has shot through the roof (I get more from Yahoo than GG now!). I think the Yahoo/Inktomi deal may be a larger worry.

Although to be honest, I now use FAST a lot more than ever - Google's quality has dropped (although it seems to be getter a bit better in www3 at the moment) but FAST is highly relevant and just as quick as Google.


 3:19 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

ATW specifically need to start somesort of marketing campaign to get noticed by the average user.
Sure, they're pretty great, their design is nice, and its xhtml & css standards compatible (I do hold a sweet spot for them, because of this), but outside of the more web-savvy circles (ie. power users, like ourselves) they're relatively unknown. Its rather a shame, though I suspect they're lulling me into a false sense of security until their algo is 'on the money' - at which point they're sure to start asking people to notice them.


 4:38 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think that is of the biggest problem WibbleWobble.

Few people know them. However, I'll start to recommend them to my friends.

Mat, I also get subatomic number of referrals when compared to google, but I am starting to get a few more visits from them. Maybe they are finally getting into the game. Well, only time will answer that...

The fact is that they are increasing in a consistent and fast way the quality of their service. I really like what I am seeing from Alltheweb. Very fast, great results, cool features like different templates and diffenrent font sizes, and not to forget the amazing advanced search. But few people knew google a couple of years ago. That's what is fun about this market, things can change in a short period of time.

And yes,they lack a major portal. I think this is also a marketing problem. They should dump their price (or whatever they charge) in order to get into a major portal, just to be known in the market. It is an investment that is almost certain to pay-off.


 4:57 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

A new name couldn't hurt though. I do think one of Google's little advantages is the way it can be used as a verb.

'Go AllTheWeb for that information' just doesn't sound the same.

All else being equal... Every little helps.. and so on an so forth


 6:06 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

The first and most important question is this: Does Fast even try to scare Google?

There are three core areas of interest:
1 marketing to the users
2 marketing to portals
3 marketing to corporate search

In the corporate search market Fast is lightyears ahead of Google.
In the portal market they have some good deals. In Europe they do have some major partners and are on par with Google. In the US they lack a prominent partner.

Marketing directly to the user, that's the area where fast has never gone. They just don't do it. Period.
Just like Ink Fast has based their websearch divison solely on portal partnerships.

Should they be able to get a major worldwide partner, like MSN, this strategy gets rewarded.
If not, they might finally start rethinking this strategy and start pushing ATW.
they gonna hate me for saying this...;)


 6:16 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Fast does not blow my skirt up, Google has anything to worry about IMO. :) Perhaps Google should be worried about what they do not know about!


 6:20 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'd be more inclined to use Fast if they offered a "Search Without Spam" option. IMO, spam on Fast is worst than it ever has been.


 6:25 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

they should at least keep an eye on FAST

Traditionally the bigger company makes the smaller competitor an offer it cannot refuse, then closes it down!

interested in

 5:17 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Heini - spot on (from someone who knows)

[edited by: heini at 5:22 pm (utc) on Jan. 10, 2003]


 6:40 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Traditionally the bigger company makes the smaller competitor an offer it cannot refuse, then closes it down!"

-> Well, as a would-like-to-be-GG-Premium-Listings-custumer with the appropriate budget, when I see how difficult it is to buy this, just because the GG commercial teams are either "overflowed" or unmotivated, I think FAST could try to fill in this commercial gap... at least in Europe where FAST can bring nice convertions to B2B sites...

The market needs at least two or three alternatives to Google. Monopoly is undemocratic. Competition would be an advantage to Google itself - it would wake up its commercial teams... As far as quality is concerned the alternatives do exist already - FAST and Teoma for instance.


 8:45 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

I personally think that Fast have missed a big Google trick...

The Google toolbar

OK itís not perfect and yes every time you use it you get though to the results and then do an advanced search, however, from a marketing perspective it means that Google is ďin your faceĒ just try and beat that, OK so letís couple it with the carrot Ohhhh this month my PR value is PR?

The industry love it and they also tell their clients about it and the clients love it - so everyone Googles.

Personally, I would love to see an ATW toolbar (as long as it offers similar facilites + advanced search)but then I donít use Macs ;)

My 2Cs



 8:48 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yeah, a toolbar... wouldn't rule that out...
IMO they should start out by doing one for Opera and the Gecko based browsers, coming from left field.


 12:34 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Personally I think they should all be worried. None of them are even coming close to indexing the whole web. In fact, I'd bet Google has less than half the pages in FAST and vice versa.

Take this example. Search for "Kaleb Mack" on Google, Inktomi, FAST and Teoma. Each SE comes up with only one result... and they are all different. In other words, EACH ONE of the search engines found one and missed three. Wisenut, with 1.5 billion pages, found none :-( AltaVista found two.

I realize coverage isn't everything, but without it, I can't depend on the SE. So, if anybody wants to beat Google, I suggest they get a bigger index first.



 1:50 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

"So, if anybody wants to beat Google, I suggest they get a bigger index first."

Exactly the opposite. Big indexes not only aren't a priority, they are an anti-priority for a search engine that wants to compete with Google. Fast is a good example, lots of results, low relevance. *Relevance* is what sets Google apart. For most (but not all) queries it manages to put up a ssolid set of results. This isn't close to true for any other big index engines. It often is for specialty engines though. Finding an extra million websites is of zero value if you don't know what to do with them.

Search results are like food. Most people like good food, not piles and piles of mediocre or bad food. (And if food is bad, bigger portions aren't the answer.)


 7:44 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

steveb, put me down for some of that Nouvelle Cuisine. Haven't seen such a succinct and 'yep, me too' post for a while. Maybe it's just down to subject area, but I continue to be amazed by posts praising FAST serps over G ones.
They're good, but still country cousins from where I'm sitting.


 8:02 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Its when I'm searching for old threads in WebmasterWorld, that I really appreciate a large index, a complete index.

A large index is one of the major factors in competing with Google.

Teoma e.g. are too arrogant in their quality over size.

Fast knows the size is important, they were showing it off, the few weeks that they claimed they had a larger index than Google.


 8:20 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

The point is that a 'big' index in and of itself is not going to topple G. My local library may decide to stock every book on the planet, but if the librarian isn't up to speed then not a lot of books are going to get eyeballed.

Pretty facile stuff, but it really isn't the size of the ship, it's the motion of the ocean.

Robert Charlton

 9:53 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>IMO, spam on Fast is worst than it ever has been.<<

I absolutely concur. It's awful.

Also, on very competitive searches, I'm seeing results that are totally out of left field... like a weather site coming up when I'm searching for "widgets information," where "widgets" has nothing to do with weather, but where "information" might be mentioned on the page. Sites that are high Google PageRank often seem to mess up Fast... ranking for terms they shouldn't, because Fast doesn't quite have the context and relevancy nailed down.

For me, relevancy is best Google... then Inktomi, Teoma, and Fast, in that order. I like the people at Fast... they're great... but they still have some catching up to do.


 11:53 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Fast has made different statements as to the size of their db.
They did show off when they were bigger than G for a while.
They also said something to the effect they were not keen on adding every page there is, and also that there's much stuff out there not worth indexing.

I think that's true. There's lots of stuff not worth indexing, insofar that it doesn't benefit the user finding it in an index.

Still, I think size matters for two reasons:
- There is an awful lot of quality information in the deep web, which none of the engines has even touched upon. All engines have undertaken steps to get to that content, by adding new file types, by starting to crawl databases. Look at what Fast has announced for this summer, going for "universal search", where the approach is not to find the best single result for a query, but to offer a bundle of information related to a query from different sources.
I think Google is heading in the same direction. Can't remember the exact quote, but didn't Brin state they were trying to basically make all information available to a searcher?
- Second a large index is important for finetuning any algo that relies on linkpopularity in any form. Doing a worldwide index means a search engine has to map the web as completely as possible in order to avoid distorted maps.


 1:16 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree with your view heini, but what plausible excuse should Fast use when their DB always is smaller than the Google DB? ;)


 3:54 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

They got a large index. Second to - well, one.

Excuses? None. What they should do is fire up all they got, crank up the ship till it aches, build, build, build. Speed up the update cycles, make them regular and reliable. Get to the deep web, suck up every little piece of info there is.
Push ATW.


 7:37 pm on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes, yes, yes. Size isn't everything. In fact, most of the time it is useless, and even problematic. Most of our searches are banal, simple, easy to get right, even if you only index the top 10,000 sites.

But, every now and then we all need a complete index. Last week, I heard of a recent medical study involving "L-Carnosine and Autism". The search engines were all useless. No results.

Searching today, they are a little better. But I could point out at least 15 pages that none of them have indexed. And in my opinion, this is unacceptable. I count on these engines to know the web, and today, they don't.

Any engine that can beat Google in size will automatically be my preferred engine when doing harder, deeper searches. And that is a surefire path to success. Give people a reason to come back.

In short, Quality is important, and for most easy searches, Google wins hands-down. But Quantity is also important, for deeper more obscure searches, and all engines lose this one.


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