Digital Minefield

Why The Machines Are Winning

Search Revisited, Part Two

This post, which is part two, has three points: an addendum, a perspective, and an update.

First, a reader’s comment about advertising on DuckDuckGo (the Duck) made it clear I had not made it clear. Here’s how it’s done: on the DuckDuckGo site, click on settings (lower right); on the next page choose the “Layout” tab (far right); go down to “Advertisements” and choose OFF. It’s that simple.

Again, I apologize, but there are times when you may want advertising, e.g., looking to buy and need more information. I can’t say how well the Duck does advertising (i.e., how relevant), but then I haven’t tested everything the Duck offers. Nor, for that matter, have I tested every search engine. There are far too many. Only Wikipedia comes close (no cigar) to giving the big picture.

However, I can offer some perspective (point two). I’ve been using search engines before there were browsers. And any other tool I could find to find things on the Internet. (Remember Delphi?) Not only that, I read all the literature about searching large databases—before there was an Internet. So is the Duck the best thing since sliced bread? No. (That honor belongs to self-adhesive postage stamps.) But trust me when I say it’s better than [insert big name here].

Why the Duck isn’t perfect is my third point. In this blog I’ve written 4 different posts about a search methodology called the Iterative Search. Turns out, I’m not the only one who thinks this is a good idea. A couple of guys (Zigmund Bluvband and Sergey Porotsky) thought enough of the idea to apply for a patent (USPTO Applicaton #20080168056).

The full title of the patent application is “On-line iterative multistage search engine with text categorization and supervised learning.” Here’s the link And here’s the abstract: “A system and method for performing a user supervised search which uses algorithm with parameters that are updated based on the review of the search results by the user.”

The full application is 13 pages long and a lot more complicated than my simple suggestion (but it does more). I don’t know the goal of these inventors, but I do know the application was dated July 10, 2008. And here I sit waiting, but at least I have the Duck.


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