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Subtle But Helpful Changes At HotBot

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Subtle But Helpful Changes At HotBot

From The Search Engine Report
July 5, 2000

Unlike at Lycos.com, Lycos-owned HotBot has no dramatic search provider announcements. HotBot says that it is pleased with its current major providers, Direct Hit and Inktomi, plus says that having a different mix helps the site appeal to a different audience than those using Lycos.com.

In response to popular searches, matches from the Direct Hit database appear under the heading, "WEB RESULTS Top 10 Matches."

"We're pretty happy with Direct Hit," said Kevin Cooke, Director of Engineering at HotBot. "Top ten matches are what [our users” want."

Inktomi results appear when Direct Hit fails to report good matches, or when you go to the second page of HotBot results. To that degree, Inktomi provides HotBot with comprehensive coverage, and Cooke says that HotBot intends to use the larger 500 million page index of the web that Inktomi is now offering its customers.

There have been a number of small changes at HotBot that users may appreciate:

+ You can now uncluster results. Use the "Disable 'Best Page Only' Filter" option on the advance search page to do this, in order to see more than one page per web site in the top results.

+ Due to user demand, HotBot recently introduced more precise count numbers that appear in the non-Direct Hit portions of its results.

+ Users can now search within categories of the HotBot version of the Open Directory.

Also, HotBot has been operating a beta site for several months. The key difference there is that a company called e-Cyc is providing alternative meanings to searches, in the "Refine Your Search" area that appears at the top of HotBot's search results.

For example, search for "chips," and HotBot will provide these suggestions: CHiPs (TV show), french fries, computer chips, chips (snack food). Click on one, and your search will be rerun with words meant to get you pages aimed at that meaning.

On the normal site, Refine Your Search is replaced by the "People Who Did This Search Also Searched For" area at the top of the results, which show you the top queries related to what you may be looking for. A related searches feature appears at Lycos. The results come from in house work that Lycos does to monitor what people click on. The can help it understand if similar sites are selected for different searches, thus helping it determine that a query like travel is related to things like "airlines," "hotels," "vacation" and "cruises."

One goal at the beta site is how to best incorporate the e-Cyc information alongside the existing related searches.

HotBot
http://www.hotbot.com/

HotBot Beta
http://beta.hotbot.com/

e-Cyc
http://www.e-cyc.com/

Lycos Partners More Closely With FAST
The Search Engine Report, July 5, 2000

Lycos has finally committed to using FAST Search's results to power the "Web Sites" section of its search results. Over the past two months, Lycos experimented with using results from its own crawler, from Inktomi and from FAST Search in this section. Now, FAST Search, in which Lycos has a significant investment, has been given the nod. The change does not impact Inktomi's deal to power results at Lycos-owned HotBot.


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