Teoma takes on Google?

April 2, 2002 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Teoma takes on Google?
Ask Jeves launched its new search engine yesterday aimed at challenging Google for the best search engine on the web. Teoma offers options to narrow your search using "subject-specific popularity." For example, if someone searched for the name "Bill Clinton," Teoma offers ways to refine your search, showing links to topics related to your search, such as "Clinton Scandal" and "Monica Lewinsky." Will this search engine replace Google as the SE of choice for the Internet savvy? Also, what other search engines do you use?
posted by DragonBoy (35 comments total)
I realize that Teoma was linked before, but that was to the beta site. Now Teoma is live.
posted by DragonBoy at 8:39 AM on April 2, 2002

Crap, I forgot the news link.
posted by DragonBoy at 8:42 AM on April 2, 2002

Is it just me, or does the new Teoma suck just as hard as the old one?
posted by Jairus at 8:44 AM on April 2, 2002

Bah -- I was just about to post my FPP on Teoma. Damn -- too slow.

Anyway, here's the Mercury News story on it.

Never used it, personally. Anyone else?
posted by me3dia at 8:53 AM on April 2, 2002

wait, it's coming to me, yes, yes, something about google and prying, oh yes, prying. i see cold dead hands too.

teoma looks ok. i do think the competition will be good for both sites. i'll try both for a short time.

will it survive? i dunno. i think it can. google got to where it is now virtually entirely on word of mouth, some press things in magazines and such. but, google was great when it broke big time because it was so vastly superior to everything else. it really succeeded while the others sucked. is teoma vastly better than google and can it grab a sufficient share of the market to survive? i'm betting no, although i'm not sure how much of chare is needed. there are still a lot of crappy search engines around.
posted by complex at 8:56 AM on April 2, 2002

Trust me, having used search engines pre-web for law, the the idea of narrowing is an empty advance. Nothing will ever be better than the type of search offered by Google.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:57 AM on April 2, 2002

The biggest problem with Teoma from my point of view?


At least 75% of my Google queries are single words, and I click straight through to the dictionary. Until Teoma links up with a dictionary, I won't be using it as much as Google. (Although the results I've seen so far with Teoma are less than impressive anyway.)
posted by wackybrit at 8:58 AM on April 2, 2002

No sir, I don't like it. Perhaps the weighting of weblogs in Google presents me with the stuff I'm more interested in reading, but Teoma's relevance sucks. Use "metafilter" as a search term. It doesn't lead you to the site with the most links to it, but to the site with the most instances of the word metafilter. yuck.
posted by machaus at 9:00 AM on April 2, 2002

Nothing will ever be better than the type of search offered by Google.

That's not true. I'd love to see Google give me some more control over my searches: Paris w/4 Paramus, for example.
posted by gd779 at 9:01 AM on April 2, 2002

machaus -- Not to say you're wrong about Teoma's relevance, when I tried your test, I got MetaFilter as the first return. Were you hoping to find some article on it first?

I'm more disappointed by the depth than the relevance -- a search for "me3dia" picked up nine references, wherease Google returns more than 500. That may be the result of their "narrowing technology," but if that's the case I'd prefer it if they allowed me to have a hand in the narrowing.

As an aside, their homepage sucks, aesthetically speaking.
posted by me3dia at 9:08 AM on April 2, 2002

Paris w/4 Paramus

All roads lead to Westlaw ...
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:08 AM on April 2, 2002

Other than the fact that it uses a swoopy logo, it sounds like they use basically the same strategy as Google to rank pages.

Only not as well. Compare searches for, well how about "swoop logo design": Teoma gives you two design firms and then wanders off into some dancer's homepage, fantasy baseball, etc. Few of the results seem to have anything to do with logos or design. Google has a few oddball results as well, but it's at least clear that all three keywords are included on every page, and most of the returned pages have at least some relation to logo design.

Even the sponsored results are better at Google.

Besides, anything even remotely related to "Ask Jeeves" can't possibly get the support of the l33t.
posted by ook at 9:14 AM on April 2, 2002

The past 5 out of 7 searches I've made using Teoma have produced 404s in the resulting links. With no "Teoma Cache" available, Google reigns supreme for my searches.
posted by Hankins at 9:14 AM on April 2, 2002

A few trial searches on Teoma this morning resulted in no good hits in the first few pages of results. Google brought me the pdf document I wanted right at the top. Is Teoma not indexing pdf docs?

And the matches were 404 and there is no cached copy of the page.

This is competition?
posted by Geo at 9:26 AM on April 2, 2002

me3dia, I got metafilter.net as the first result, not metafilter.com.

big difference if you look at the two.
posted by machaus at 9:43 AM on April 2, 2002

Here's where Google has Teoma beat:

Google allows anyone to add their page to the spidering database for free. Teoma does not. Thus, Google will get a better picture of the web because anyone can tell Google that they've started a new site, while Teoma has to find the new site the hard way if the site owner is unwilling [unable] to pay.

For instance, Teoma still hasn't spidered my new domain, even though a search for the domain brings up a page with a link on the old domain.

Google? A spider arrives every morning, right on schedule.
posted by iceberg273 at 9:53 AM on April 2, 2002

I have a few proper name searches that I run through Google on a regular basis, so I decided to see how Teoma would do with them. On all of the searches, Teoma pulled up about 1/5 of the Google hits--that is, after Google finished eliminating the duplicates--and came up with exactly one link un-spidered by Google.

I'll stick with Google, methinks. I also use AlltheWeb, however, and the premium service on Northern Light; luckily, my campus has subscriptions to things like Lexis-Nexis, Electric Library, and ProQuest.
posted by thomas j wise at 10:08 AM on April 2, 2002

I'm not impressed with the refinement thing at all -- it can't figure out context and is erratic at best.

I did a search for "Seshat" (an Egyptian goddess) and found three suggestions for refinement:

"Archives Message"-- not a phrase that makes sense. There are four links under it, three of which come from my site seshat.org. It got "archives message" from the links "archives" and "message boards" on my sidebar menu. There are 33+ pages on my site with the exact same menu, but Teoma thought my main page and archives 4 and 7 were the only relevant ones. WTF?

"Ancient Egypt" -- a valid category, if redundant.

"De Jerogl" -- a corruption of "de jeroglifico" ("of hieroglyphs"), a phrase that occurs on a lot of Egyptological pages in Spanish.

Within the "De Jerogl" category I could keep "refining" the search results with "De Jerogl" an infinite number of times and get the exact same result set. But the search winds up being something like "De Jerogl, De Jerogl, De Jerogl, De Jerogl, De Jerogl, De Jerogl, De Jerogl, De Jerogl, De Jerogl, Seshat".
posted by Foosnark at 10:10 AM on April 2, 2002

let's not forget the image search, the usenet search, the news headline search, and the catalog search. not to mention i can pipe an address into google and be offered maps, use google as a phone book and have all the search results i find in german translated to english.

<sarcasam>yeah, teoma's going to clean google's clock...</sarcasam>
posted by boogah at 10:18 AM on April 2, 2002

I didn't like the way Teoma lists it's search resuslts. So until Google does something really evil, I am gonna stick with it.
posted by riffola at 10:33 AM on April 2, 2002

Boogah: You could have made practically the same post praising AltaVista when Google launched.
posted by rcade at 10:43 AM on April 2, 2002

I also love moreinfoabout at bookmarklets
- http://bookmarklets.com/tools/search/index.phtml
posted by peacay at 10:59 AM on April 2, 2002

what, was this a third-place science fair exhibit?

a search for Tony Pierce, not only does not return any result pointed to tonypierce.com, nor tonypierce.com/links.htm which links and lists 12 other tony pierce's, which of course makes this so-called search engine, an utter failure. at least to me.

of the half million hits ive gotten this year so far, it's appearts that not one of them was a spider from The Next Big Thing.
posted by tsarfan at 11:15 AM on April 2, 2002

I think Teoma will eventually gain its share of users. It will need to index more of the web first.

Teoma has done a number of things right, and the 'refine searches' tool is going to be handy for a large number of web surfers who still do not know how to phrase a search query. The majority of non web-savvy folks I know still start searches with a one word phrase, which on Google can be daunting. I think that Teoma is a better interface for novice-searchers, and that will probably be its strong suit. Teoma does need to rethink the way it displays sponsored results, they are too prominent as things stand.

Of course, Google is still the front runner in terms of searches. It offers more bang for the buck than any other search engines, and with the addition of google News, there really isn't anything that Google can't do for me.

The Google Cache does rule, it's just too bad that my employer thinks the google cache is a "proxy avoidance system" and blocks it at the firewall (bastards).
posted by DragonBoy at 11:46 AM on April 2, 2002

It will need to index more of the web first.

I think that requiring payment to tell them about your site will stand in their way in this arena.
posted by iceberg273 at 11:55 AM on April 2, 2002

I like google because it is a fun word to type. For example, Teoma bombing? Hmm...

AllTheWeb, as mentioned before, is pretty useful for finding files. It appears that the FTPSearch engine that Lycos aquired some time ago now belongs to them.
posted by samsara at 12:10 PM on April 2, 2002

Teomabombing sounds like a terrorist activity.
posted by boogah at 12:26 PM on April 2, 2002

Paris w/4 Paramus

All roads lead to Westlaw ...

I'll study this thread more carefully, but I fail to see when a "w/4" type delimiter would be that useful. Examples, please? Language is not a chemical formula. If you're getting too many search results, add more words, or subtract some from the search (both are possible with Google). These delimiters date from a time when people were being billed per-search or by the amount of time a search took; and when searches took many seconds.

I was surprised to learn that Google turned up Mefi results posted the same day. Is that typical, or is Mefi a favorite Google haunt?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:41 PM on April 2, 2002

You also can't beat the Google toolbar. That thing is brilliant.
posted by adampsyche at 12:46 PM on April 2, 2002

Just an interesting observation: Google doesn't cookie me to death, or at all - when I used Teoma just now I got 4+ cookie attempts. [shrug]
posted by thunder at 12:47 PM on April 2, 2002

I use google exclusively. Then again, I also play 18 holes of golf using nothing more than a 5 Iron.
posted by BentPenguin at 1:32 PM on April 2, 2002

I was surprised to learn that Google turned up Mefi results posted the same day. Is that typical, or is Mefi a favorite Google haunt?

Google visits many frequently updated sites every single day. Sometimes Google visits more than once a day.
posted by iceberg273 at 1:49 PM on April 2, 2002

Even if it was as good as Google, Teoma would still fail because it has three syllables in its name, whereas Google has only two. AltaVista was doomed almost immediately when Google came along with half the number of syllables.
posted by kindall at 2:53 PM on April 2, 2002

I use Google almost exclusively for the following reasons:

High quality results (constantly updated)
Pages load quickly
They care about their users
Cached pages
It's a "hip" company

Like skalls said, Teoma needs time to get there but for now, Google is the clear winner.
posted by jaden at 4:27 PM on April 2, 2002

Google is the Kohinoor of the internet.

I even googled the spelling.

Anyone remember who mentioned "googling" first? Was it Adam Rice of randomwalks?
posted by emf at 4:04 AM on April 4, 2002

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