As part of a renewed commitment to improving its web search capabilities, Lycos has quietly introduced new advanced features that are both powerful and easy to use.
Lycos' advanced search interface uses "filters" that allow you to limit your searches by words, URLs or sites, and languages. These filters are controlled by drop-down menus and radio buttons on the advanced search form.
A notable new addition is the catalog filter, which allows you to limit your search to a single Lycos catalog. Lycos uses the word catalog to describe the five sources it searches: The primary Lycos index, which is actually powered by FAST, the Direct Hit and Overture indexes, and the ODP's full catalog or category results only.
Previously, advance search results were drawn from all five catalogs. "What we had in the past was a tiered catalog," said Tom Wilde general manager of search services for the Lycos Search and HotBot search engines. "We've streamlined that, so that it only hits FAST, unless you select one of the other catalogs."
Wilde noted that there are differences between Lycos catalog results and AllTheWeb.com results, FAST's flagship search engine. "FAST does a slightly different deployment on AllTheWeb," said Wilde, so results for the same query will differ despite the fact that they're both powered by the FAST database.
Once you've run an advanced search, your filters are inserted into the search bar at the top of each result page. Next to each filter is an "edit" button that allows you to tweak your query if your results aren't exactly what you'd hoped for. No more scrolling to the bottom of a result page for further advanced search options.
Filters are also persistent now, making it easier to progressively fine-tune your query. When you click the edit button, you're returned to the advanced search form, and all of your previous filters remain in place.
To see how this works, try the query "lincoln" with a word filter set so results "must include" the word "ford." As you might expect, most results relate to the Ford motor company, which produces the Lincoln Continental automobile.
Now click the edit button on the word filter for "ford" in the search bar. You'll see that your first word filter remains set to "ford." Add a second word filter so that the text "must include" the word "theater."
The result set is completely different, properly returning pages with information on the Ford Theater, the infamous site of president Abraham Lincoln's assassination.
Queries using popular words like "ford" and "lincoln" that carry multiple interpretations often flummox search engines. Lycos is improving on that front, as well. "Query analysis is something we're putting quite a bit of R&D into, because there's quite a bit of ground to gain on that front," said Wilde.
The renewed efforts by Lycos to enhance the quality of web search are really beginning to show, and the search engine is once again becoming a first-tier resource for serious searchers. More enhancements and improvements are on the way. Stay tuned -- we'll keep you posted.
Lycos Advanced Search
Terra Lycos Exec Search Ends Fast
Boston.internet.com, Jan. 11, 2002
Terra Lycos, the Spanish Internet network with U.S. operations in Waltham, Mass., has named Tom Wilde general manager of search services for the Lycos Search and HotBot search engines.
Lycos Redeems Itself With Relaunch
The Search Engine Report, Nov. 5, 2001
Lycos unveiled a new format to its search results this week that make the service well-worth revisiting, if you'd given up on it, in the past.
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