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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 11:41 GMT
Search wars - which is the best?
As Microsoft enters the internet search engine market, users find themselves overwhelmed with options. We compare the big players on five key areas.

Google

MSN

A9

Yahoo!

Ask Jeeves

The verdict

The test

  • First a search for "raleigh" - chosen as it is a word with several meanings including the bike company, the US city, the expedition charity and the Elizabethan explorer.
  • How fast? Although engines can be slowed down by problems in receiving networks, searches made within minutes can give a comparison.
  • Then how did it look and could it tell us an Alsatian's IQ (reportedly 60 - whether this is true or not is irrelevant). Finally, the simple question - what is the time in Sydney?

A9

RELEVANCE

The Amazon search engine uses Google technology so its 2.5 million results are listed in similar relevance.

But what is interesting is the refined mechanism down the right-hand side.

It means a web search can be narrowed to images or references in books, movies or an encyclopaedia. Each search can be displayed alongside another.

So a click on books throws up a biography written by one of Sir Walter's descendants.

And one of the top movie references is the 1955 film The Virgin Queen, starring Bette Davis as Elizabeth I.

SPEED

No speed is given, but not noticeably slower.

THE LOOK

Nice clean front page and the sponsored links are very discreet.

Comparing books, web, movies and images can make the results page a little busy, but each column can be closed down.

THE OBSCURE FACT

What's the reported IQ of an Alsatian? Will I find the answer in The World of Jewish Cooking (More Than 500 Traditional recipes from Alsace to Yemen)?

THE QUESTION

What is the time in Sydney? Go to timeanddate.




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