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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.
YES, somebody did:
>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 :)
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.
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.
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...;)
-> 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.
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 ;)
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.
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.)
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.
Pretty facile stuff, but it really isn't the size of the ship, it's the motion of the ocean.
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.
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.
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.
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.