20 Sept 2009

Search is a hard problem

Text search is a very hard problem.  Especially when it comes to Web search.  Bing is growing very fast as a web search engine, with more than 10% market share.  I've been using Google Search for years, and I like Google.  Every now and then I compare Bing's results with Google's to see how Bing is catching up with Google.

Recently I am annoyed with Java updates plugging in Carbonite backup software, so I wanted to see what people in general think about it.  I did a Twitter search and got no results at all!

I myself had tweeted about it a few days back, so I knew Twitter Search is broken and I should use a different search engine.  I tried Google and found at least 60 tweets!

Now that I am sure Twitter search is terribly broken, I thought of trying the same query on Bing.  Bing cannot see more than 5 tweets.  But still, it's better than Twitter's own search.

For now, I have set up a custom search engine in my Chrome browser so that I can search from the address bar itself.  This is how I did it:

  1. Click on Chrome's wrench menu and choose Options.
  2. In Basic tab, click on Manage button near the default search engine's name.
  3. Click on Add button.
  4. Type http://google.com/search?q=site:twitter.com+%s for URL.
  5. Enter a name and keyword of your choice.  I entered Search Twitter.com as name and twit as keyword.

With this new search keyword, I can type twit bing google in address bar to search for tweets containing the words bing and google.

(BTW, did you notice there's no link to Advanced Search UI from Bing's home page?)


  1. Im remembering your comparision of FF & IE some time back.. (still remembering that ctrl + key for enlarging the text size)

    Trust me that i dint peeped-in that page & writing this comment :-)