There’s a new race going on and we can benefit without even running. Several search engines want to claim they have the “most pages” and by summer we should be the beneficiaries. Right now, at least according to the companies themselves, the largest index of pages on the Web is held by AltaVista with 150 million pages. Northern Light, not too well known in recruiting circles, says it has 140 million. But look out. Alltheweb.com, from FAST in Norway, is aiming for 200 million pages by July and 550 million eventually. It’s at 80 million now. Of course, Northern Light, hearing the news, said it would be at 225. Good old Inktomi, which powers HotBot and Snap, only has 110 million – the same number for the past year. It doesn’t really matter to us which site wins. We’re not investors looking for the next awesome IPO. But we would like an easy way to search more of the estimated half billion pages on the Web. Even more, we’d like to find relevant results without getting a Master’s degree in Boolean search logic. Of use are more search engine features like Direct Hit of HotBot, which highlights the most relevant pages for your search, and the folders at Northern Light, that try to classify the results in some sensible fashion. And another bit about alltheweb.com. It’s fast. Really fast. So if you’re tired of waiting for search results, try them out.
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