16 May 2008

Web search "assists" en espanol

Posted by Deborah

On Friday, one of Yahoo’s Spanish language sites (Yahoo! Telemundo) added a “search assist” feature that prompts you for what you might be looking for as you type a word into the search box. I’ve seen this before on the English versions of Yahoo and Google and never really thought about it.

Google’s Spanish sites have it, too, though not in the main search bar. I could only get it in the top right corner of the page, where the Firefox Internet browser has a Google search tool.

I did a few test runs on both sites, searching for Juanes, La Jornada and even a U.S. icon – Tina Turner. The consensus – both quickly suggested what I was thinking of after only typing in a few letters. After typing only “La,” Yahoo Telemundo gave me a list of options with “La Jornada” listed second. I had to type the “J” for Google to get the newspaper to appear on the list – but it was the first suggestion.

I’m curious to hear from others who do a lot of internet searching in Spanish – is one better than the other, and why? Or maybe you know of another search engine that’s better than both of these.

I’ve got to admit, it’s a pretty handy tool. Yahoo says it’s needed because their surveys show that only a small percentage of people actually find what they’re looking for when they hit the Web. I usually have the opposite problem – too much information to choose from. But this at least makes it faster for me to type my searches. I’ve noticed that search sites have become a lot more helpful in general lately, remembering past searches I’ve done or suggesting multi-media related to a certain topic.

A Yahoo! news release says it launched its search assist feature in October 2007. Now, it’s available in 15 countries and seven languages. (The Spanish-language versions are also on Yahoo! Mexico and Yahoo! Argentina.) Kudos to them and other major search sites for making sure that non-English speaking markets get the latest technologies, too, even if it takes a few extra months.

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One Response to “Web search "assists" en espanol”

  1. I don’t search in spanish, and I don’t use autocomplete features, but I do do a LOT of searching. I’ve become very adept at knowing just what words to pick out, and what features to use. There are a few that many people know (like using quotes to get a phrase). There are also a lot of other less-used ones – like you can replace a number of words in a phrase with an asterisk: so “Star * Episode” (quoted) will give you results for both “Star Wars Episode” and “Star Trek Episode”. There are a number of common words that are automatically excluded from a search, so you can use + before the word to force it (and not any variations, like the plural) to be used. Similarly, you can use – before a word to look for pages that don’t have that term (Google’s example is “bass -music” if you’re looking for the fish). Or you can use ~ before a word to look for that word or its synonyms.
    One of my favorites is “site:”. So if I want to search the UW’s engineering web pages, I add site:engr.wisc.edu to my query; all results will be from http://www.engr.wisc.edu or cae.engr.wisc.edu or any other similar domains. There’s also number ranges ($150..$200), conversions (10 miles in kilometers), definitions (define:phenotype), file type searches (eg filetype:pdf), and a lot more. Get in the habit of using them (and picking the right words for your search terms), and you’ll get much better results.
    Check out these sites for more information on a many of these:



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