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Google has opened a very impressive search engine for goods on sale: Froogle is in free public beta. Doing any shopping these days?

This too, is from Metafilter, via user kokogiak's recent post. I try not to keep posting stuff from the same places, but when it's this good...


They've got some work to do on this. I went to Books (naturally) and typed in "Georgian language"; they gave me a Georgian dictionary and a book on Georgian architecture. One for two -- not bad (actually, it is pretty bad, but we're in beta here). Then I went to "Language instruction books" and typed in "Georgian"; this time they said there were no matches in the category and gave me a bunch of books about Georgian architecture. Not good at all.

And why is Google doing this? Do they want to be Yahoo? Stick to what you know, guys!

I think you're shortchanging them. Google has had a directory (like Yahoo) for some time, but I've generally had better luck with their standard search, and that difference may be paralleled at Froogle. Try some queries in the standard search form and see if you have better luck.

My first test (which I can't describe here for reasons of Christmas) was something it took me quite a bit of time to find through Google's standard search last year. With Froogle I got it on my second try, merely by adding the quotes. I've also played around with things like purple guitar, fisheye lens, and flower press. Note that different results may be obtained by placing quotation marks around multiword phrases. Google (and, it would seem, Froogle) then returns only those documents from its index which include the quoted phrase or phrases exactly as you have represented them, instead of documents which include those words in any permutation within the document.

Google is unlikely to reveal the exact details of their methods but some general inferences can be made. I've just completed a graduate course on web search engine technology and can expound upon this stuff more if there is interest, but I won't bore you otherwise.

By the way, I think Yahoo wants to be Google these days :). Turnabout, etc, etc.

Well, all right, I'll cut them some slack and give it another try. Lord knows I don't want to think ill of Google, bless their googly little souls.

You were right, of course, that there's still work to do, and that's why it's only a beta. They've announced it over their Google Friends mailing list, but not to the world at large, which would probably judge it harshly next to specialized shopping sites. But Google has a way of making these things mighty ...

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