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Archive for July, 2008
There is a new search engine in town – Cuil (pronounced "Cool") was officially launched yesterday by three former engineers from Google: Anna Patterson, Russell Power and Louis Monier.
Cuil claims to have more than 120 billion pages in the index that is "three times as many as Google"
How does Cuil rank search results?
Cuil’s algorithm uses the actual content of a Web site for ranking. It looks at the text you have on a page and how relevant it is to the user’s search and results are shown in a 2 or 3 column layout rather than a vertical list like Google.
Cuil also promises not to log searchers’ history, surfing habits and IP information that can be traced back to the individual.
Will Cuil become Google’s top competition? Try it out and decide for yourself! www.cuil.com
In positive Yahoo! news the hottest search commodity has announced it’s BOSS(Build Your Own Search) platform that will help ‘developers, start-ups, and large Internet companies… …build and launch web-scale search products that utilize the entire Yahoo! Search index’
Yahoo!, recognizing the extreme talent base of its web users, is opening the doors in an effort to further improve its search product. BOSS is an open platform that lets partners ‘developers… …take advantage of Yahoo!’s production search infrastructure and technology, combine that with their own unique assets, and create their own search experiences.’
In a blog post Yahoo! gave a quick summary of what is available to BOSS partners
- Ability to re-rank and blend results — BOSS partners can re-rank search results as they see fit and blend Yahoo!’s results with proprietary and other web content in a single search experience
- Total flexibility on presentation — Freedom to present search results using any user interface paradigm, without Yahoo! branding or attribution requirements
- BOSS Mashup Framework — We’re releasing a Python library and UI templates that allow developers to easily mashup BOSS search results with other public data sources
- Web, news and image search — At launch, developers will have access to web, news and image search and we’ll be adding more verticals soon
- Unlimited queries — There are no rate limits on the number of queries per day
At first glance this seems like a pretty cool thing but the first point above opens a Pandora’s box of possibilities. Allowing sites to ‘re-rank’ search results could potentially cloud search results on some less reputable sites giving top place to advertisers. I know what you are saying ‘We pay to have our ads on sites like Yahoo! and Google’ but you don’t pay to have your site on there organically(non paid).
Search manipulation aside this is a great thing for sites that want to offer a search function. There are no limits on queries per day and no restrictions on presentation. So, search as much as you want and make it look however you want, that’s pretty cool
More on what’s available to date:
Yahoo! has provided some examples of BOSS Partners
- Me.dium, a start-up that’s built an innovative collaborative browsing product used BOSS to build a web-scale search engine that leverages its real-time surfing data. By combining the depth of the Yahoo! Search index with its insight into where users are browsing, Me.dium can provide its users with a unique buzz-based search experience.
- Hakia, a semantic search start-up, is using BOSS to access the Yahoo! Search index and dramatically increase the speed with which it can semantically analyze the web. With BOSS providing this important infrastructure, Hakia is able to deliver a language search experience that isn’t available from any of the "big three" search providers or other semantic search engines.
- Daylife To-Go is a new self-service, hosted publishing platform from Daylife. Anyone can use this platform to generate customizable pages and widgets. Daylife To-Go uses the BOSS API platform to power its web search module.
- Cluuz, a next-generation search engine prototype, generates easier-to-understand search results through semantic cluster graphs, image extraction and tag clouds. The Cluuz analysis is performed in real-time on results returned from the BOSS API.
Get a BOSS Application ID(at time of posting login does not work )
Yahoo! was again courted by Microsoft this past weekend in a deal that might be akin to drunk dialing. Drunk Dialing, you know, you’ve had too much to drink and its late and you really want to talk to someone so you convince yourself that you should call them even if it is 4 in the morning. Basically, you throw away any hint of reason and against your better judgement you do it anyway. Well it seems that Microsoft did a little drunk dialing on the weekend, called up Yahoo! and made another offer that left many heads shaking and gave them 24 hours to decide.
Microsoft teamed up with Yahoo! stockholder Carl C Ichan in a bid to take over Yahoo! and completely replace(fire) the entire board of directors and the top management team.
Wow, they must have had a few too many Grey Goose martinis if they thought that one would have passed.
Yahoo! Chairman Roy Bostock had the following to say in an official release from Yahoo!;
“This odd and opportunistic alliance of Microsoft and Carl Icahn has anything but the interests of Yahoo!’s stockholders in mind. Clearly, Microsoft, having failed to advance in search, is aligning with the short-term objectives of Mr. Icahn to coerce Yahoo! into selling its core strategic search assets on terms that are highly advantageous to Microsoft, but disadvantageous to Yahoo! stockholders. Yahoo’s Board of Directors will not allow that to happen. Yahoo!’s Board remains open to any transaction that delivers full value to our stockholders – we just do not believe such a transaction should be dictated by Microsoft and a single short-term investor…"
…After negotiating among themselves without the involvement of Yahoo!, Carl Icahn and Microsoft presented us with a ‘take it or leave it’ proposal under which we would be required to restructure the Company, hand over to Microsoft Yahoo!’s valuable search business and to Carl Icahn the rest of the Company, giving us less than 24 hours to respond. It is ludicrous to think that our Board could accept such a proposal. While this type of erratic and unpredictable behavior is consistent with what we have come to expect from Microsoft, we will not be bludgeoned into a transaction that is not in the best interests of our stockholders”
In business speak that translates to; ‘Are you out of your *&$%@#^mind? Look we were never together. I’m with Google now, ok? You need to move on. Go buy Apple or something’
In the press release Yahoo! references its new deal with Google and refers to it as having ‘superior financial value and less complexity and risk than the Microsoft/Icahn proposal’
This doesn’t mean the dance is over yet. Later in the press release Yahoo! states that it ready to sell to Microsoft for the original $33 but Microsoft balked at that deal. I’m not certain but the recent deal with Google’s AdWords, that has come under scrutiny, might have something to do with it.
Whatever happens this sure has been fun to watch, sort of like Desperate Housewives for search nerds
Stay Tuned next week as Steve Balmer cuts the break lines on Jerry Yang’s Mercedes – that is a total falsehood but would make for a good movie though, wouldn’t it?