My Thoughts on MyLiveSearch

Remember MyLiveSearch, the company that Google supposedly has had their eye on since its inception?  They’ve taken a lot of crap the past few months for delaying launch and for garnering a ton of hype without anyone actually seeing what they’re working on.  They promised “real-time indexing” of the web as you search.  Naturally with a claim like that we’re all pretty curious and a bit skeptical at the same time.

Well supposedly today they are supposed to launch so I figured I’d give my $.02 on whether or not I thought it was worth using.  I’ve been a beta tester for a little less than a week now, and I’ve got mixed feelings on the whole thing:

What they claim to be:  “The world’s first true live search engine.  Searching the internet will never be the same.”

What they actually are:  A browser plug-in that starts with search results from Google, Yahoo, or MSN (your choice) and then indexes the pages on the domain of the top results “live” using your computer to expand upon and re-order the results.

What I like:  It’s an interesting way to look at the web.  For example, a Google Search for “Custom McFarlane” returns 2 results from SportsLizard and 3 results from articles linking to SportsLizard that I wrote.  Clearly we dominate that niche.

Custom McFarlane Search

A search on MyLiveSearch starts with SportsLizard at the top, but ends with eBay dominating the rankings because there are hundreds of custom McFarlane figures being sold on eBay. SportsLizard is the second site that appears, but it takes a bunch of scrolling (or some refining of the results) to find SL.  As MyLiveSearch crawls the sites “live” it re-orders them based upon what they find.

MyLiveSearch Query

You’ll notice that it does a poor job of sorting which pages are most important.  Clearly the Custom McFarlane home page is most relevant to the query, but it shows other SL pages ahead of it when I narrow the results to only show pages from our site.  MyLiveSearch also shows you who indexed the site and when – so they start with a page Google indexed a few days ago and then index and sort the rest “live”.

I personally think they did a bad job on this query, ranking eBay ahead of us because of the quantity of content.  However, it’s still pretty cool to watch and I can at least relate to where they are coming from and appreciate their attempt at innovation.   There are a handful of features that allow you to focus results more on news results (i.e. Google News) and group the results by site, but nothing that really does much for me.  Overall for other queries I got solid results, but nothing I’d say that was that much better than Google.

What I don’t like about it:  In order:  installing a plug-in to run a search sucks, having to login to perform a search sucks, the time to run a search is annoying (I had searches take up to a minute to complete…eh), and the false promise that you actually index the web live doesn’t sit well with me.  I suppose you are technically indexing live, but it would be a lot more convincing if the live indexing was being done on a central server and not on my CPU.

Bottom line:  MyLiveSearch is  creative and different, but not so creative and so different that Google couldn’t copy it in a few days.  I’m pretty sure that if you gave me a few months I could program something similar…and I’m not even that great of a programmer.   In the end, the login and plugin crush any chance I have of using it with any regularity.  Fun to toy with, but Google still rules.

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