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Friday, 28th May 2010

Are We Seeing the Beginning of a Comeback for Exalead in the General Web Search Space?

While we were working on the post about Exalead's video search tool (here's the link, some very impressive multimedia search, give it a go, we also spent some time with Exalead.com/search a database and search engine that was once a frequent "go to" resource for many, especially advanced/power searchers since it has always had and continues to offer more advanced features that the searcher can control than any other large web search engine. We're talking phonetic search, a proximity operator, spelling approximation, and many more.

Plus, with a small amount of training (an hour or two topics) it could be a wonderful tool to share in training sessions because of the ease of focusing a set of results and using taking advantage of the advanced syntax if the person does not want to commit it to memory by simply clicking the syntax they want and entering search terms.

Also note that the current right rail of an Exalead results page looks somewhat similar to what Google launched a couple of weeks ago on the left side of the page. The biggest differences are that the tools to focus/refine your search on Google automatically appear (based on search terms and other factors) or you have to click to access the refinement you want. Google also has more of these refinements but we don't think adding more to Exalead would be an issue. Plus in terms of syntax, Exalead has more.

Now, back to our story.

One day Exalead just seemed to vanish. It never ever went offline but once we found it again the database full of content was getting old and out of date. Yes, it was a new place to find cached pages from the past year or two but that was not the prime reason to use Exalead.

Finally, the positive comments, appreciation, and promo that many info pros gave Exalead seemed to quickly disappear.

We think some of these issues on the Exalead end had to do with an extra strong push by the company into the enterprise market.

Things change and in the past few weeks we noticed that the the consumer version of Exalead seems to making some sort of comeback which is wonderful. Why? It will not be all that long until the Yahoo database is no longer available. Exalead does its own crawl as does Yandex.com which launched a couple of weeks ago and is quite impressive especially for an alpha release. So, it's possible that once Yahoo leaves the crawling biz, Exalead and Yandex.com can provide large unique databases of content each with their own relevancy own ranking algorithms.

One thing we were quick to notice was that the crawl and database refresh time from Exalead for many sites was very fast. We used time stamps on cached pages to determine the time,

On Friday we checked around (10am EDST, the CNN page was less than 24 hours old; Search Engine Land was approx. 12 hours old, BBC News, less than 24 hours and finally Businesswire, about 7 hours old.

So, take another look at Exalead or for others take your first look.


+ Drop Down Suggestion for Search Box

+ Right Rail Easy Click to Focus Results along with Pie Charts to Show Country and Language

+ Used Advanced Search and the Search Box is Completed Using Syntax You Want (With Definitions)

+ Above Search Box the Wikipedia Option. Nice Job.

+ Ability to Quickly Bookmark Favorite Pages on Personalized Homepage

+ If All of this is More than You Want/Need try Exalead Light from Exalabs

Note: We have sent an email to the CEO of Exalead. As Soon as we receive a reply you'll know about it.

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