Your search for talent is only as good as the tools you use. When it comes to search engines, the relative newcomer FAST Search has two things going for it– as its name suggests it’s fast, and it’s big, very big. As of January 17, 2000, FAST Search expanded its database to 300 million URLs, promoting it to the head of the search engine class in terms of size. FAST Search has seen explosive growth before only to be surpassed (as recently as last fall) by contenders such as Northern Light. Now, most experts agree that FAST’s recent accomplishment propel it significantly toward its ambitious goal of accessing “all the Web.” In terms of its other claim to fame, no one seems to be able to fault FAST. It is indeed speedy, displaying its search time to the nearest ten-thousandth of a second. Where FAST has traditionally fallen short is in the area of advanced searching, but even here, this dark horse seems to be making some strides. In December, FAST introduced its Advanced Search option, which allows for the display of up to 100 records at a time. More importantly, FAST’s new Advanced Search has expanded its field searching capability, now providing word filter boxes with the pull-down options of “should include,” “must include” and “must not include.” Similar pull-down windows also let the user choose additional filters for text, title, link name, URL and link to URL. In spite of these advances, FAST remains limited in terms of Boolean searching, relying on “+” or “-” to include or exclude terms. A pull-down window offers the choice of “all of the words,” or “any of the words” options. In terms of relevancy ranking, FAST Search receives mixed reviews; the buzz being that while it does well in this regard, there are better models out there. The Extreme Searcher’s Web Page, however, states that Fast Search “may be significantly more effective than that of some other major search engines.” The verdict? In terms of numbers, FAST Search’s database size and speed are promising. Its limited search capabilities may prevent it from being considered the strongest search engine out there now, but given its ease of use and potential for growth, FAST Search ranks among the Web’s rising stars. Try it out yourself to determine how well it produces the results you’re looking for.
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