Searching For the Size of the Matter

    August 16, 2005

Yahoo made a statement recently about having the biggest base of items to draw upon in the search world. This claim had been held by Google for quite a while and now Yahoo claims otherwise. Many of the voices in the search world say that size doesn’t matter, it’s all about relevance.

Well, that’s not entirely true for a couple of reasons. Relevance is certainly at the top of the list of qualifiers but size does matter. To the average individual, hearing one search engine is bigger than the other makes a difference in their choice. There’s an underlying theme for many people this bigger is better.

Danny Sullivan expressed his irritation in no uncertain terms over the current size claims. He suggests he wants to see a relevancy standard. He says size isn’t terribly important in the scheme of things but I among other disagree.

As John Battelle pointed out, relevance is subjective. He also points that because of that subjectivity, you can’t set a standard point of measurement. Every user who punches in some search in any engine may not find the first 20 entries even remotely relevant. The engine may not even have anything on what they’re searching for. It’s unlikely, but possible.

In the end, size is a tangible concept all people can get their minds around, regardless of their level of competency regarding this business. Relevancy, while more useful is an abstract and as suggested above, subjective. In all reality, their should probably be a standard for measuring the size and depth of a search engine and it should probably be around even before the relevancy stuff. There will be more said about this by many parties but in the end, size IS going to matter.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.