A Week Without Google Search

When you search the web a lot, you start to feel the rough spots of the search engines.  Working with a handful of different frameworks and languages requires to me visit a search engine several times a day.  Whether I’m checking for the existence of some obscure PHP function or trying to figure out the proper way to do something in a framework, Google is my friend.  I’d bet that this is pretty standard among web developers.

Due to some light anti-Google rebellion that has be brewing within me, I seem to have decided to avoid using Google to perform my daily searches.

The plan is to use a different, old school search engine, everyday; instead of Google.  Going in to this, the only prediction that I have made is that: these, most search engines probably return results of a similar quality.  Besides search quality, I’m not sure what else to expect. Google has been my goto search engine for a long time.  I’ve definitely used other search engines in the past, but am straining to remember when I defaulted to Google.

Today was Day One of my Week Without Google Search.

The Search Engine of the Day: Lycos


I know that I’ve used Lycos before.  I seem to have fond memories of that company.

Some initial notes:

  • Gamesville was cool..
  • You know you had a Tripod site..
  • Apparently The Dog is still there.. but no longer “dogpile”
  • I’m kinda diggin’ the squares on the homepage

A majority of my searches today were to find pages in the CakePHP cookbook and in the Twitter Bootstrap docs.

My initial reaction to a Lycos search engine result page (SERP) was to say two things:

  1. The little thumbnails are pretty useless
  2. The URL of the result seems a tad too small for me.

The thumbnails are indeed useless.  Any time looking at a thumbnail over trying to decide which search result to click on is totally wasted.  My suggestion here would be to replace the thumbshots with large favicons.

I realized that the size of the URL really didn’t matter.  The relevancy of the results is far more important than what site the result is on, however, I need someway to recognize what site I am about to click on, with a quick, squint-free glance.

The relevancy is really what should be important.  Lycos did the job sometimes, but other times gave me some results that clearly needed improvement.  Perhaps I’ll dig through and see if I can find some of my queries as an example.

Verdict: I don’t think I could make Lycos my daily-driver.

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