The Noisy Channel

 

Lots of Search News Today!

August 10th, 2009 · 3 Comments · General

I try not to write posts that are just cut-and-paste from Techmeme, but it’s hard to resist a trio like this:

OK, perhaps that last item isn’t strictly search news, but it may as well be, given that the microblogging wars are in no small part about “real time” search.

I’m not a huge Facebook fan (as those of you who have looked at my spartan profile page may have noticed), but I am curious about how they’re implementing search over their sprawling collection of content. I’m underwhelmed with my own search experience on the site, but that might be my own fault for not being an active Facebook participant. Perhaps folks here who are more active can share their own experiences.

As for the acquisition of FriendFeed, I’m surely in good company to assume this was Facebook’s second choice after the attempt to acquire Twitter fell through. If, as has been reported. Facebook only paid $50M for FriendFeed, then the acquisition was pocket change compared to the $500M they offered Twitter  (granted, some or all of that being based on a controversial valuation of the Facebook). Anyway, it should keep life interesting in the status-sphere.

And then there’s Google’s preview site, which you can try here. The only difference I see between it and the non-preview Google search is that the estimated result counts tend to be slightly higher. The top-ranked results seem almost identical, modulo tiny permutations for the queries I checked, as do related searches and any other features I tried. But apparently that’s the idea:

The new infrastructure sits “under the hood” of Google’s search engine, which means that most users won’t notice a difference in search results. But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences, so we’re opening up a web developer preview to collect feedback.

Anyway, it’s more fun reading all of this stuff than hearing the CEO of the web’s great search brands proclaim that her company has never been a search company–or wondering where all the great search people I know there will land as Yahoo search is assimilated into Bing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the competition between Google and Microsoft–one that I think will finally be waged in earnest. But I’m still sad for Yahoo and its employees.

Which bring us to the last news item: Doug Cutting is leaving Yahoo for Cloudera, where he’ll continue to work on Hadoop. According to his blog post about it, “This move will not fundamentally change my day-to-day activities.” It will certainly be interesting to see what comes next from someone who has been instrumental to so many major open-source packages associated with search.

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jeremy // Aug 11, 2009 at 1:32 am

    The only difference I see between it and the non-preview Google search is that the estimated result counts tend to be slightly higher.

    It seems snappier (faster), too. Though if I were to offer my unsolicited opinion, I would prefer more interactivity and dialogue-based search than I would an extra half millisecond off the response time of a static ranked list.

    And yeah, what is the deal with those inaccurate page counts? They were already incorrect and overestimated. (See: http://www.ryanware.com/2006/02/17/brrreeeport/) Why are they even worse, now?

  • 2 Daniel Tunkelang // Aug 11, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I agree on speed–I dismissed that as potentially being from lower user load or my browser having a number of add-ons that could slow down the regular Google response.

    As for estimated result counts, that’s a discussion worth at least an entire post!

  • 3 Tech // Aug 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    I think Facebook has bitten off more than it can chew.

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