• felixwright

    There appears to be slight confusion in this artictle over meta search, site search and the ‘standard’ search engine search.

    Meta search refers to searches performed across multiple search engines to generate lists of results to return to the user. Examples of this are dogpile, mamma, metasearch.com where there is no single central search index to query against, and calls are made to third party sites as users use the service.

    ‘Standard’ search engines (such as live.com and google) will index and return data from sites other than theirs – but are not meta search engines. The use a logically single search index to return search results to their users, and it is this search index which contains all the information about the sites and pages that can be searched against.

    Site search is of course search restricted to the content on the website where the search appears.

    Youtube and google video primarily fall into the site search category – they will search accross the content hosted on their site only. Any video returned by a search on youtube or google will return only videos hosted by them. Blinkx, and other video search engines such as searchforvideo.com follow the ‘standard’ search engine model, where searches will return videos from a large number of sites, with searches done against the central index.

    Invoking a particular search result will direct the user to the original site where that data is hosted – (exactly the same model as live.com, google.com and all other ‘standard’ search engines.) Hence Blinkx, searchforvideo.com or any other video search engine that aggregates videos from around the web and indexes them to a central search engine, are not meta search, they simply follow the same model as google.com and live.com.

    These search engines allows users to search for and find data from a wide range of sites, all which have been spidered/captured and stored in the search index.

    The distinction between meta search and ‘standard’ search is an important one. Meta search engines rely on the technology, algorithms of existing search indexes (often with their own proprietary algorithms working to unify multiple search results lists in real time. Hence any item of data not already stored in one of the search indexes will not be returned.

    ‘Standard’ search engines (google.com/live.com/searchforvideo.com/blinkx.com), do not rely on third party search indexes to return search results in real time. Their own index of the searchable data is used to generate results.

    Each of the two architectures has its benefits, and indeed a combination of the two is often used in an attempt to give users the data they are requesting, but its important not to confuse the two!

  • http://searchengineland.com Danny Sullivan

    I see your point on the meta clarification. Yes, that’s how it works with the major search engines. They each collect pages from across the web, and a meta search engine collect results from each of them (rather than the pages themselves).

    Google Video, YouTube — they don’t scan pages/video from across the web. They are effectively their own sites that someone like Blinkx would crawl as a “real” search engine does.

    But still, I actually think the meta description works better. That’s because while they might centralize the listings, they’re still tapping into services that themselves are primarily places that people search.

    That’s also a core component of what makes meta search — that instead of searching if several different places, you search at one place — irregardless of the centralized database. I’d point someone to Blinkx or Searchforvideo because it would save them from having to search at YouTube and many other places individually. That’s the same reason I might point someone to a regular meta search engine.