Voila Covers Europe, Reaches To The US

From The Search Engine Report
Feb. 3, 2000

A longer and more detailed version of this article is available to Search Engine Watch "site subscribers." This is just one of the many benefits that site subscribers receive. Click here to learn more about becoming a site subscriber.

Most of the major US-based search engines have established European editions over the past three years. Yahoo France, AltaVista Sweden and Lycos Germany are just some of the many examples. But one European player has been just as busy: Voila.

Backed by France Telecom, Voila is a crawler-based service with editions for countries such as France, Denmark and The Netherlands. At any of its European editions, you have the choice of searching across the entire world or just within that particular country or country's language.

At the core of Voila is a 150 million page index. Voila filters out country-specific results from this index primarily by examining the language of a web page or its domain. Thus, a page written in German but hosted within the non-geographic .com domain might still appear when searching for German web pages. Similarly, a page written in English but hosted within the .de German domain might also appear in the German results.

Aside from its main index, Voila maintains a special index of 10 million French web pages, in order to provide especially deep coverage for French speakers.

Beyond Europe, Voila also operates US-oriented Voila.com, but that site isn't meant to challenge the existing US-based search services. Rather, the company maintains Voila.com for users of its other sites that wish to perform an "American" search.

"We need to have an American element to compliment the European effort, said Julie Paratian, managing director of Voila.com. Paratian estimated that about 10 percent of requests at Voila's non-US sites are aimed toward American content.

To satisfy this, Voila.com presents human-compiled information from LookSmart in response to many queries. For instance, search for "travel," and the results in the "Top Matching Channels" area are LookSmart categories. Similarly, the top listings in the "Matching Web sites" area are out of the LookSmart database.

You can also use the icons next to each listing as a guide. LookSmart content is identified by little eyes, while Voila crawler-based results all have a world icon next to them.

A unique feature of Voila are its "Thematic Search Engines," or TSE. Basically, you can think of these as specialty search engines for particular subjects such as Star Trek, movies and James Bond. In general, only pages about these subjects should be within each TSE.

For instance, a normal search for the television show "ER" on Voila.com yields no relevant crawler-based results. But search for "ER" using the television TSE, and all but one of the top results is about the popular medical show.

Voila also offers a useful "Highlight Keyword" feature. This option appears below each page that it lists. Select the option, and Voila will present the page with all your keywords highlighted.


Voila.com TSE

Direct route to all Voila's Thematic Search Engines.

Voila Network

Links to all the Voila editions.