While many sites have compared the search results between Google, MSN and Yahoo, noting that generally they are all the same. I started using Scour recently which puts search results for all three into a single item (yes, it’s a Point-based search which is interesting in and of itself but reminds me of most “point-based” systems – you’ll never get enough points to make it of use without trying to game it). (you do get to “rate” each search response which may / may not have its own benefits – it’s too early to tell).
Yes – the results of all three are generally the same BUT the relevance is interesting. Here’s a sample (inspired from a tweet by Marina Martin):
1. While Amazon shows as the number one, MSN placed it as the number 1 result while Google/Yahoo placed it as number two. Just because I’m searching for a phrase that matches a book doesn’t mean I want the book – it’s great that it’s there – but if I wanted to BUY the book, wouldn’t I likely just go to Amazon or my favorite online bookstore?
2. Both Google and Yahoo link to essentially the same site but with a different URL (Google points to this one (http://www.Pragprog.com) while Yahoo points to this one (http://www.pragmaticprogrammer.com). But the content itself is IDENTICAL.
3. Google’s second result takes you to the main site whereas Yahoo’s (doesn’t show in the image) takes you to an articles page. which arguably has more details.
What all of this shows me is that the Search for all three companires is still reproducing the same site, trying to put a slightly different spin on essentially the same result. On the entire top 10 list, the same core site is listed 5 times, a book store is listed once (but at the top), Wikipedia is listed twice, an interview with the authors is listed once , and the book distributor (OReilly) is listed once as well.
Is there really more valuable content on each of the 5 different links from the same site or would a person be more likely to “click” around the site? If that’s the case, is it any wonder that people get frustrated by search?