Sunday, January 16, 2005

Yahoo squashes Google -- again

Yahoo! Search Results for "fermi paradox" "intelligent design"

I'd just posted on the results of a Google search on "fermi paradox" and "intelligent design". That search didn't come up with much, hence my post.

Then it occurred to me to try Yahoo Search. I already know that Yahoo does a far better job of indexing Blogspot (Blogger) than Google does (Google owns Blogger/Blogspot).

Sure enough, the same search in Yahoo finds many more posts. These aren't just "noise" results, the Yahoo search is simply much better than the Google search.

So it does look like the intelligent design folks are starting to tenderly inch their way towards the Fermi Paradox. Tenderly, because the ones doing this are smart enough to see the perils of this line of inquiry. My old Fermi Paradox page is still the top result, but not for long I'd guess. This should become interesting in a year or two.

In the meantime, Yahoo is a better search engine than Google! It's not really much of a contest. It will take me a while to switch over -- Google is so embedded in my workflow. Fortunately Firefox can be readily reconfigured, though Safari is stuck on Google.

I like Google as a company and an innovator, but they're clearly struggling in their core domain. If Yahoo can beat them, then so can Microsoft.

I wonder why Yahoo doesn't get more credit for their new search excellence? Yahoo is still dumb in a lot of things (their map/address book/directions integration has been broken for years) and often fails to deliver (of course my needs & criteria are not typical) -- but they are showing flickers of excellence. Maybe they'll join Amazon and Google in the top ranks of the innovators this year ...

Update 1/16: It occurs to me that Yahoo has a significant advantage over Google. It's the same advantage OS/X has over XP. Google is the dominant player, so the bad guys target their hacks against Google's search algorithms. It's a constant war, and it often means Google has to use suboptimal algorithms to thwart easy attacks. Yahoo isn't a dominant player, so they can use the algorithms Google has passed over or has abandoned (once Google abandons them, so do the bad guys, they need to track Google).

Of course if Yahoo's current search excellence gets noted, they'll be targeted too. The costs of targeting both Yahoo and Google are high however, indeed techniques that work for one may fail for another.

If this sounds familiar to you, then perhaps you're a life sciences person. This is the same kind of struggle one sees in ecosystems, and in antimicrobial therapy. HIV multidrug therapy works because HIV can readily adapt to one drug, but that adaptation makes it more vulnerable to another.

Again I wonder, how do the anti-evolution folks make any sense of the universe around them?

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