Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Search Speed, High Relevance, Advanced Search Customization: - Hotbot Strikes Back by Cloning and Refining What Others Do Best

= worth knowing
Search Engine

Hotbot, the search engine, has completely revamped its search engine by regaining a sober and highly streamlined interface, and strongly targeting to search quality its new facilities.

Hotbot is now a well designed front-end to four of the best search engines now available online:
1) Google
2) Fast
3) Teoma
4) Inktomi

When performing a search with the new Hotbot, the search is conducted in the background across all four search engine databases, and the results viewed can be easily changed to reflect the results coming from any of the selected four search engines Hotbot uses. Switching results coming from the four different search engines is an easy one-click matter and as mentioned it provides a good overview of quality search results from different and complementary sources.

Response times are also very fast and give a feeling of a highly responsive system.

The Advanced Search facility is particularly well designed and it offers easy access to all of the advanced search criteria and filters available on each of the search engines utilized.

This is a great bonus for power searchers who can now find in one unique place, all of that Google had to offer plus the ability to easily switch to alternative results and search options available through fast, Teoma and Inktomi. Not bad at all.

Among the new Hotbot features available I have noted:

a) Support for 47 different languages

b) Ability to search PDF, Flash, Java, Microsoft Office files, and many other file formats



c) Search filters allowing the user to limit search results to come only from certain regions of the world.

Hotbot interface can be also customized with a one-button click by virtue of its new four predefined "skins" or by end-user customization of new personalized ones.

Hotbot plans is to make its search facility even more customizable through the introduction of personal preferences that users will be able to set themselves.

Too bad that an advertising banner still hovers prominently on top of each search result page. Advertising detracts, distracts me from my focus, lengthens my wait time, wastes Internet bandwidth and collective time for something that as a user I definitely DO NOT WANT.

In this light, while HotBot has finally smelled the right path to regain at least some of its original glorious audience, it has failed on what to me is one of the most critical items in designing businesses that work today: having the customer truly at heart. By shoveling more ads through our throat HotBot compromises in an area where it should have certainly learned better and more from its partners and competitors.

I guess is never too late for them to realize this and to become, almost de facto, the very best search engine I would want to use out there. HotBot I need to search, stop your ads selling me something different from what I am seeking.

While personally I deem highly dysfunctional and inappropriate to place traditional advertising banners on a professional search engine, I am even more irritated by the fact that those ads:
a) slow down my searching experience,
b) take away useful screen estate,
c) clutter my view,
d) scream for attention when I am clearly working on something else,
e) are definitely distracting,
f) support a system of selling and pushing products that I am not in support of.

As you can read from my short article in this issue about search engines not brokering the key data they sit on (see "Search Engines Should Sell Access To Their Traffic Data" in this issue), I am quite convinced that search engines could provide an-advertising free service, by selling in turn traffic, access, position and ranking data that have in large quantities.

By streamlining its interface with a slick and simple design, and integrating the best search engine database results into one search hub, with many advanced features, Hotbot stands to regain an important place in every advanced online searcher toolbox.

A potential contender to very best. Must try and see for yourself.

N.B.: International versions of Hotbot have not been yet affected by this set of changes.

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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, December 31 2002, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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