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Better Search Engine Please...

extramsg Feb 2, 2007 12:46 AM

The old search sucked. I think everyone would agree. I used to use google site searches instead.

The last search engine, prior to the new changes, was a godsend. imo, it was the best feature of the overhaul.

However, the newest version of the search engine is rather mediocre. Thank goodness it now defaults to searching within a board, but the results are not by relevance. It appears to be a rather random set of results given by date. I assume the only thing they all contain is whatever term was used in the search field.

eg, if I search for "pizza" in the PNW board, these are the results I get:

Texas girl needs some ideas here!
piggygirl - January 26, 2007

cool eats in Seattle
schraminvan - January 20, 2007

delivery in ballard?
donita.reason - January 18, 2007

semi-swanky Italian Saturday lunch in Seattle
ajsm - January 17, 2007

Great food in Portland
lebelage - January 13, 2007

Happy Hour Suggestions Seattle
BoomOp - January 12, 2007

Portland 1st-timer
Devotay - January 11, 2007

Bainbridge Island, WA
MahiMahiFish - January 03, 2007

Everett WA - Please give me your favorites!
sasha1 - January 03, 2007

Espresso- no Starbucks swill
Avid Rita - January 01, 2007

Queen Anne Updates?
TacoBusHound - January 01, 2007

PDX Top Five Dish 2006
patrick - December 29, 2006

relocating to Seattle, eating-wise
djuna - December 16, 2006

Seattle Convention Center (7th and Pike) Quick Lunch under $10?
sasha1 - December 14, 2006

Restaurant Gift Certificate in Portland
adroit_minx - December 11, 2006

And so on. Obviously, the majority of these will be useless if someone is truly interested in pizza. They may have to go pages before finding a useful result.

I would suggest either employing a "relevance" sorting option, or at least giving some method to search by title only.

Also, you really need to show the number of replies on threads. While the first recommendation might be a PITA depending on whether you wrote your own search mechanism, etc, adding in the number of replies, even if conditional on the type of result, should be pretty darned easy. It would help a ton in recognizing which are useful threads.

Finally, it would be great if you had an advanced search with the ability to narrow results by poster and by date. At least, that would be the most important things, imo. I'm often searching for older, comprehensive threads as I'm sure others do, and this would help a lot.

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  1. Engineering RE: extramsg Feb 2, 2007 02:15 AM

    Building a better search engine is our number one priority. We realize it is vital to Chowhound, so we're going to make sure it's done right.

    The answer may be as simple as integrating google search within the site, but we're still exploring a number of options and reading all of the great feedback like yours at the moment.

    1. a
      archer RE: extramsg Feb 2, 2007 10:52 AM

      While you're working on the search, which may take time, would you at least restore the highlighting function so that key words are highlighted in a search? It's always been a function of the search, so presumably it should not be too difficult to restore. Without the highlighting, it's impossible to find what one is looking for and search becomes useless!

      1 Reply
      1. re: archer
        Jacquilynne RE: archer Feb 2, 2007 11:15 AM

        We've got bringing back the highlighting on the list of things to look at for search. Thanks for the suggestion.

        As an interim solution, I've been using my browser's built in search to find stuff within pages of my search results. It's not as handy as highlighting (though, I used to use it when search turned up really long threads, even when we had highlighting) but it does help quite a bit.

        - Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

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