In a continuing discussion of Microsoft's Search Beta, Fred ran a query against several search engines and found that:

I think in this one example Yahoo!'s results are the best, followed by Google, with Microsoft in third largely because they didn't get the artist high enough.

And also notes that:

Another thing I noticed was that Google was able to show six links "above the fold", whereas Yahoo! was only able to show three, and Microsoft was only able to show two.  That is because both Yahoo! and Microsoft choose to take up valuable screen real estate with sponsored results.  My guess is that choice will hurt them with users in the long run.

It's funny. I just realized that Microsoft is making more work for me. You see, before I switched into my new job I used Google for search. But now I run nearly every search on Google and Yahoo to compare the results. It's easy to do with a 20" LCD monitor. But now I need to start checking Microsoft's as well. You know, the one that doesn't compete with Google (yeah, right).

Anyway, it's interesting that Fred doesn't speculate about his observations a bit more. If you're forced to choose between efficiency (the Google results page, with more "above the fold") or relevance (the Yahoo results page, with a better mix of results), what do you do?

I tend to go with what's fastest--especially if I already know what I'm looking for. The faster I can scan the page and realized it's not there, the faster I can click to the next page or refine the search.

When I'm not sure what I'm looking for, I'd probably choose relevancy.

But I really want both.

Posted by jzawodn at November 13, 2004 09:00 PM

Reader Comments
# Seun Osewa said:

You're implying that Yahoo gives more relevant results?

on November 14, 2004 03:46 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

No, I'm using that quote as the jump off point for a simple hypothetical question. I know that relevancy is a subjective matter in many cases.

on November 14, 2004 07:05 PM
# Scott Johnson said:

I'm the kind of person who will defend Google to the very end, but I think that Yahoo has been providing better results lately. Just an opinion, though. A very subjective opinion.

on November 15, 2004 09:28 AM
# NF said:

The really important thing to see here is that the user's needs are not static.

Every day there are more important tasks we need to get done and try to get done on the web instead of offline. Yet we don't want to spend ever more hours per day at the keyboard. So more tasks have to get squeezed into less time. This pressure is relentless, and stretches out ahead of us as far as we can see. The future has to belong to the guy who is committed to saving users time.

Give me an ad or an option and you are giving me just that. Save me time and you are giving me a piece of my life back. Which one will I value more?

on November 15, 2004 02:45 PM
# Timboy said:

If I see one more posting where someone says "Hey, I tried _one_ query on several different search engines, and I am now going to draw all sorts of conclusions from that", then I'll ... I'm just going to ... um, complain yet again, probably.

Even though this particular query favors my favorite search engine, realize that this means about as much as a political poll that asks one voter named Fred who he's going to vote for.

But it does highlight one thing, which is that no matter how much search engines work on making results relevant across the board, at the end of the day people judge search engines by typing in their names and seeing what happens. This means that getting names right is really important...

on November 15, 2004 10:46 PM
# Dave said:

one of the reasons I don;t use yahoo search is because when I go to, my cursor is not focused on the search box. I need to click on the input box.

before you ask..I don;t use because I like to just type google in the address bar and then hit ctrl enter and let my browser (firefox) fill in the www com parts. stuff like this matters to me..I wonder if it matters to other people.

on November 16, 2004 11:33 AM
# ScottyM said:

I too have noticed that Yahoo's results have seemed a lot more relevant than Google's for, say, the past 3 or 4 months. Just a subjective feel, but I've switched to Yahoo lately.

on November 16, 2004 02:03 PM
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