Thursday, September 02, 2004
Search and Directories: Compare and Contrast
Yahoo Directory vs. Google Search
- Two students started a directory while at Stanford and then started the company Yahoo!
- Two students studied search and search engines while at Stanford and then left to start Google.
- Directories point to websites.
- Search engines point to web pages.
- Directories are lists of web sites, many times created manually by hundreds of editors.
- Search engines use programs called spiders to roam the Internet saving vast indexes to individual web pages.
- Directories would be the table of contents that pointed to chapters - websites and
- Search Engines would be the book index that points to specific pages - webpages.
- Directories would be the card catalogue and point to books - websites
- Search engines would be .... well, there is nothing comparable unless all the indexes to all the books were gathered into one huge index that pointed to book pages - webpages.
The Search paradigm points us to specific pages on the website that contains the exact terms we seek. See When Search Engines Become Answer Engines by Jakob Nielsen for one view of this paradigm.
There is a fascinating quote from the creators of the Open Directory Project. They started the project to build a better directory than Yahoo, and after hundreds of hours and thousands of websites, and comparisons between the directories of Yahoo and the Open Directory Project, they concluded that "Google Won", because by then, search had become the dominant way to find information on the Internet.
Search means that each website can have multiple points of entry. Each page can be an entry page. No longer do we consider the website as an organic entity, because visitors will jump into a site looking for something specific, find the reference, and then leave without ever seeing the home page.