Is Building a Search Engine So Hard?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Well, there's Google, and Yahoo, and, and Dogpile, and a billion others. Then Cuil came out with much accolade but wasn't very good... now there's Viewzi. Yuk, another bomb. :-p The idea behind Viewzi is supposed to be that it offers cool screenshots of the websites you're searching for, as well as a million other things (celebrity photos, songs, etc). Well, the screenshots are very nice, but they have nothing to do with what I was searching for! (my standard of search results IS biased, I admit-- I want to see if my travel site shows up; if they don't, the site stinks, lol!). So I did a little search on "New York Traveler." Results were disappointing; everything was related to New York City, and none of my sites or photos showed up. I found Viewzi confusing to use and a little cluttered (have they tried out conversion rate optimization or anything? pdf file)-- Viewzi seems to have lots of flash and little substance. It might be nice for people who love gazing at search results. Not me- search results should take mere seconds, because they are just pointing the way of finding where I want to go, and are not the destination itself. 

So the quest for the perfect search engine continues....

1 remarks
Anonymous said...

Mrs. Mecomber,

First, I completely understand your position. We are well aware that Viewzi isn't for everyone. Ironically, that's kinda the point. We're not after those in the marketplace who are well-served by Google. I mean, seriously. GOOGLE is FANTASTIC at finding millions of results about ANYTHING. The beauty of Viewzi is that we build upon what Google, Yahoo!, Ask etc do. They provide the data and create user experiences that are more relevant to the kind of data a person is looking for.

As for the quality of data (or lack thereof) you experienced in your search. Depending on your search, we actually use Google, Yahoo!, Ask, Microsoft and others to provide the data for our search results. So, if you are unhappy with the results you got for "New York Traveler" are the same as the top search engines. To be frank, for you to expect your blog to show up for the phrase "new york traveler" you have to understand that you are competing with ALL kinds of top brands in the travel industry.

"search results should take mere seconds, because they are just pointing the way of finding where I want to go, and are not the destination itself." Sums this up my point perfectly. Some travelers fly because they are only interested in getting to the destination. I LOVE driving because the journey is just as much fun for me as "getting there". When I fly, I always gaze down at the miles and miles of land we're bypassing and imagining the shops, mom & pop restaurants, scenic views, etc I'm missing because I've got to be in NY, SF or somewhere in two hours and I can't afford the time to actually "see" America. To me, that's a loss.

So, if don't think of us as a "search engine" - we're actually not from a technical point of view, that's okay. Perhaps think of us as a "discovery", "lifestyle" or "entertainment" engine.

Lastly, is building a search so hard? I've been at it for over a decade and the answer is and unqualified "yes" - :-D

In any event, thanks for having a peek and putting your thoughts out there. All the feedback we get helps! Have a good one!

giovanni gallucci, viewzi
change the way you look at search.

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2:49 PM  

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