Saturday, September 26, 2009

Google and Ask fail because of 'approximate/nearby' matching

I was reading about the DEC Alpha microprocessor, when I began to realize that it was probably an ahead-of-its-time product. The word 'revolutionary' doesn't seem like an exaggeration. I wanted to know whether others too feel/felt that this microprocessor was revolutionary. So I queried dec alpha revolutionary on the top 4 engines. Results:
  1. Google: Google also includes results with the word "revolution". And this corrupts the results for this particular query. I'm not interested in the query dec alpha revolution (I believe less people will write sentences such as 'The DEC Alpha microprocessor brought about a revolution', compared to those who write 'The DEC Alpha microprocessor was revolutionary'). Alas, there's no easy way to turn-off this approximate/nearby matching, and I have to contend with some clearly irrelevant results, resulting from Google's unsolicited oversmartness
  2. Ask: Surprisingly Google-like results, including the inclusion of revolution. Sad, again
  3. Bing: Thumbs-up for not including approximate/nearby words; Thumbs-down for less-relevant results
  4. Yahoo: Thumbs-up for not including approximate/nearby words; Thumbs-up again for showing the most relevant results for this query

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