Will this be better than Google?

11 Oct 2005 - 1:50pm
10 years ago
5 replies
1051 reads
Petteri Hiisilä


(I hope this was not old news :)

Please check that out. I've got nothing to do with the service, but I
believe that this kind of search will become hugely successful in the


Google doesn't support search with words that aren't complete. This
will be a bottleneck for them, if they wish to serve instant
searches. Maybe they could complete the words "behind the scenes" and
perform the search with those guessed / most likely words?

For instance, if the user inputs "itun down", it is close enough to
"itunes download", and the search would "secretly" be performed with
those words instead of what the user actually typed.

Google already knows which words are the most popular, so they
probably could make an educated guess whether "comp" is more likely
to mean a "computer" or a "compass".

I don't know how well this algorithm would perform in practice. It's
just an idea.


Petteri Hiisilä
Senior Interaction Designer
IX Design Tmi / +358505050123 / petteri.hiisila at luukku.com

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


11 Oct 2005 - 1:56pm
Petteri Hiisilä

Petteri Hiisilä kirjoitti 11.10.2005 kello 21.50:

> Google doesn't support search with words that aren't complete.

Doh. Neither does http://www.inquisitorx.com/beta/, now that I look
at it more carefully. That's a pity. But it's no surprise, since the
service uses Google as its backbone.

The code is below.

In any case, instant search is cool.


<form method="get" action="http://www.google.com/custom" id="MainForm">

<table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0">
<tr><td valign="top" align="left" style="padding-right: 2px;">
<input type="text" name="q" value="" autocomplete="off" onkeyup="keyUp
(event);" onkeydown="keyDown(event);" onkeypress="keyPress(event);"
style="font-size: 16px; width: 320px;" id="MainSearchField"></input>
<input type="hidden" name="client" value="pub-7495752375333827">
<input type="hidden" name="forid" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="channel" value="9642017717"></input>
<input type="hidden" name="ie" value="ISO-8859-1">
<input type="hidden" name="oe" value="ISO-8859-1">
<input type="hidden" name="cof" value="GALT:#008000;GL:
<input type="hidden" name="hl" value="en">


<td><div id="SearchButton" onMouseUp="document.getElementById
<tr><td colspan="2" nowrap="nowrap">

<div id="ContentRegion">
<div id="SuggestionArea" class="Hidden" style="border-bottom:
1px solid white"></div>
<div id="ResultsArea" class="Hidden"></div>
<div id="SearchSitesArea" class="Hidden"></div>


11 Oct 2005 - 2:01pm
Peter Boersma

Petteri Hiisilä said:
> http://www.inquisitorx.com/beta/
> (I hope this was not old news :)

I believe Dan Saffer told us about this ealrier this week...

> For instance, if the user inputs "itun down", it is close enough to
> "itunes download", and the search would "secretly" be performed with
> those words instead of what the user actually typed.

FYI: A search on "itun downlo" results in Google suggesting "Did you mean:
itune download" so the algorithm is working alright. I assume some of it is
put to work in Google Suggest (http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1&hl=en)

Peter Boersma | Consultant User Experience | www.UserIntelligence.com
Vlaardingenlaan 9 | 1059 GL | Amsterdam | The Netherlands
p:+31(0)204084296 | f:+31(0)204084298 | m:+31(0)615072747
mailto:peter at peterboersma.com | http://www.peterboersma.com/blog/

11 Oct 2005 - 2:02pm
Kristen Groh

> Google doesn't support search with words that aren't complete.

I believe they're working on it:


Kristen Groh
Account Director
VSA Partners
kgroh at vsapartners.com
o: 312.895.5042
c: 773.320.1211

11 Oct 2005 - 3:34pm
Cullen Newsom

No, I do not believe it will be "better" than Google. It may be
"better" for a majority of searches. But it has the potential to ruin
the core functionality of Google. Who really needs Google to help them
find itunes? I am guessing almost no one. Many people use Google to
find itunes, because it is not as clunky as learning, or bumbling
through the hierarchies of various websites. If secret non-intuitive
string substitutions are made unawares to the user, then it may make it
very hard to find obscure things which are similar to popular things.


11 Oct 2005 - 8:13pm
Jeff Howard

Inquisitor has a plug-in for Safari that I've been playing with for a few days and I think I'm
starting to understand its niche.


Google and most other search engines are built around a theme of "discovery". If you know
what you're looking for, then Google can help you to quickly locate it. This puts the burden
on the user to know enough about the search domain to formulate a reasonable query--to
know what they want to discover.

Inquisitor (and to a lesser extent Google Suggest and Yahoo Instant Search) is much more
concerned with "exploration"--a different prospect than discovery.


As I use Inquisitor (both the site and the plug-in), it shows me connections that I would never
have thought of on my own. Sometimes this gets in the way of rote discovery, but if I don't
know the topic well (or the search terms are difficult to spell) it helps me conduct a mini-
exploration while I'm involved in discovery. In this way, Inquisitor does a better job than
Google Suggest or Yahoo Instant Search. To me, Google Suggest feels very much like a proof
of concept, and Yahoo doesn't really show enough context or respond quickly enough to aid
in exploration at all.

So the answer is, "it depends." Google is still better for simple discovery, but for exploration I
think Inquisitor wins hands down.

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