Wal-Mart, eBay Try Out New Search Engines

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Reuters is reporting today that both EBay and Wal-Mart are replacing their outdated search engines in order to compete with online retailers such as Amazon.

The report states that eBay will soon implement a new search engine it is calling "Cassini", which will replace the antiquated "Voyager." EBay search was dismal in 2008, and eBay sellers have never held back their criticism. From the Reuters story:

Since then, eBay has gone on a hiring spree to fix search. The number of employees working in that area has tripled to more than 150. EBay also poached several engineers from Microsoft Corp's Bing search unit, including Ken Moss, who runs the Seattle office, and Hugh Williams, who oversees eBay's new search engine, Cassini, to be rolled out in 2013.

Wal-Mart is also updating its online store search, but is going a different route with its design. Reuters cites Anand Rajaraman, Wal-Mart's senior vice president for global ecommerce, as stating that Wal-Mart's new search engine was created in under nine months by only 10 to 15 developers. The new search relates "terms and phrases that people use when describing products, rather than matching queries to exact words in listings."

The Reuters story states that if sites such as eBay and Wal-Mart improve their search enough, they could threaten Google's shopping search results. This seems far-fetched, though, as those companies would have to provide shopping results from competitors to match the usefulness of Google.

Of course, these companies could simply use Amazon itself to implement search, which is available as part of Amazon Web Services (AWS). I suppose paying Amazon directly would defeat the purpose of improving their searches, though. What do you think? Can eBay impress its sellers with Cassini? Will Wal-Mart improve its search enough to overtake Amazon on the web? Leave a comment below and let me know.

(via Reuters)

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