Is there such a thing as Spring fever for search engines?Publié : 2009-04-07
On April 1st, Alexa has changed its search logic moving from documents to site-level searching. Probably a good thing actually.
Since April 4th I am losing Nutch (Wikia's open index). First problem occurred in March when open-index.visvo.com vanished. And now search.isc.org has become silent. This index was very small in comparison to the field leaders, but did provide some useful validity check (if two leading indexes give radically different counts, even an imprecise third party will help singling out extreme errors)
And now Sphere is changing its search tool. It is no longer possible to discriminate between news items and blogs. And more importantly, it is no longer possible to perform quoted searches.
A quoted search is when multiple items are enclosed between quotes. Sometimes called a phrase. As you may guess, there are relatively few news/blog items about the Canadian Green Party leader, Elizabeth May. Google reports 11 blog and 3 news items. But that is if you search for ["Elizabeth May"]. Remove the quotes and you jump to 17k blog and 10k+ news items, about an assortment of Elizabeths but mostly about things that happen in May or things that *may* happen. The ability to perform quoted search of people's names is crucial if you want relevant results.
I can only hope that Sphere will restore its quoted search capability (I would guess that the current situation is just an oversight). Here again, not because the world relies on Sphere to get news about various topics, but because sites like theirs are becoming more and more important as validation tools.
Typing [Elizabeth+May] will (apparently) yield the desired result.