Number One with a Bang
Saturday, December 7, 2002
The young upstart search engine, Google,
is, well, no longer the young upstart search engine. The latest Nielsen//NetRatings
results reveal that the 4 year old Google has the largest
reach of any search engine. With 29.2% of all home and work users,
Google just edges out incumbent Yahoo.
So, it seems you've all taken our advice and started using Google. :)
Google's index of the Web contains over 3 billion pages. Despite that, most
searches take less than a second, and the results returned tend to be
uncannily accurate. The relevance of search results is do in no small part
to PageRank, which uses links to judge a site. In other words, each link
pointing to a site is like a vote for that site.
This has all led to some interesting and heretofore undreamt of uses for
search engines. Someone recently searched for all the letters in the
alphabet to see "who owns the alphabet." The results
are interesting if useless from any practical sense.
Another fairly useless (but nevertheless extremely fun) site is Google
Fight. It uses Google to determine the popularity of two opposite
phrases. The more popular of the two is the winner. So, in a battle between
The New York Times and The
Washington Post, The Times takes
it. Though over 90% of computer users use Microsoft
Windows, in a Google Fight with Apple,
the disparity is not
Ironically, a Google Fight between Google itself and Yahoo shows that
is the most popular search engine. Hmmm, so much for Google Fighting. Or
maybe someone should tell Nielsen to double check their scores. After all,
as we all know, Google is never wrong. :)
One particularly interesting search reveals the most
linked to sites on the Internet. Theoretically, these are also some of
the most popular sites on the Internet. Again, Yahoo takes first place, just
above Google itself. Several other Google competitors appear in the top 10.
Microsoft, Adobe, and CNN
round out the list.
Finally, Google publishes Google
Zeitgeist, which tracks the most popular searches and categorizes them
by several criteria. From the top gaining and declining lists, you can get a sense
of current fads and trends. Among the gainers last month, for instance, are the
names of viruses, celebrities in the news, and current events. Most notable
among the decliners are the ominous phrases "world trade center" and
Now that Google has usurped the crown from Yahoo, I'm afraid I'll need to
find another search engine to champion. After all, I can't be caught using
the same search engine everyone else uses.
Notable up and comers include Teoma and WiseNut.
Like Google, Teoma and WiseNut also rank sites by links. Teoma goes one step
further, however, grouping sites by subject, called communities.
Unfortunately, Teoma has a relatively small portion of the Web indexed, and
since it doesn't accept free submissions, this is not likely to change.
WiseNut, on the other hand, has a fairly large index with 1.5 billion pages.
A WiseNut feature provides related sub categories for searches. So, a search
for "Cape Cod" lists several categories such as "Cape Cod Real Estate" and
"Cape Cod Vacation." The categories are meant to help you refine your
search. It's a very nice feature; however, it's probably the reason
WiseNut searches tend to be so slow.
So, for the moment, it appears I'm stuck with Google. Sigh. :)