Fravia's main search engines: Fast ~
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Version March 2004
    

Why Fast
Useful findings





WARNING: Fast is now being killed by Yahooˇ (March 2004)

FAST ("Alltheweb")
After having chosen the "boolean expression" option, you can use
AND, OR, ANDNOT (there is no NOT), and parentheses (!!)
for nesting
Search for:  

FAST's [Advanced Search] is truly amazing and second to none.

For instance: ("advanced searching" OR "advanced web searching") ANDNOT porn AND ("data mining" OR "files finding") rank retrieval

European search technology... I like fast, because I list there before google :-)
Fast, among the three main search engines, is the best choice to mine the 'deep and obscure' web, and is getting more reliable every day: the most underestimated search enginge in the world! Its Advanced Search is a seekers' dream that came true!
[Only 4010 results viewable]
+,(),-,,",
Special syntax: normal.title:, url.host:, url.all:, link.all:.
Domain exclusion (VERY useful): -url.tld:com (no com crap), +url.tld:no (only norway).
Also: link.extension:jpeg
spiders ending with sac2.fastsearch.net


FAST is indeed pretty fast :-) But the real value of this engine resides in its linguistic capabilities (very useful for "non-wasp" searches) and in being a good old BOOLEAN one (no stopwords... try FAST's to be or not to be and compare with google's same search (though google gives my friend's Richard GNU project as answer :-)
FAST delivers moreover a huge number of 'unique hits' (it does not overlap too much with the other engines).
Search for:  

FAST's [Advanced Search] is truly amazing and second to none.

FAST's [help] FAST's [news] FAST's [pictures]


Note that you can restrict the advanced search to a single domainname (leaving every other parameter unchecked) and thus get a 'sitemap' of a given site. Example: FAST's Altavista ad hoc ['sitemap']     
Note also that you can find your favourite mp3 songs using the name of the author (for instance dylan) and stating that the document must include "index of/mp3" in the title: here is FAST's Bob Dylan's ad hoc [mp3 search]  (thank SaF)
Use the url.host: syntax to find out how many pages of a given site are indexed, e.g: q=url.host%3Awww.fravia.com.
For the links, use the link.all: syntax, e.g.: link.all:www.searchlores.org

Fast index: Do use the very useful 'Result Restrictions' options to find most recent links to matters you are interested into... for instance: &q=searchlores &age=3m &hits=100 &nooc=off (see source for complete string)

Fast FTP-search, is one of the most effective ftp-search possibilities around. (See the others here)

Fast indexing timespan: a large portion of fast's index, the so called "popular content", is re-spidered every seven to 11 days, the remainder is being spidered every month or so. It's spiders did not always use to go deep inside, but they are now catching up: see if the depths of these three mirrors of mine are still far apart: searchlores; searchlore; fravia.

Why Fast
Because it is fast. Because it covers parts of the web that are not covered by google. Because it is less polluted by the useless commercial sites. Because it mines the "deep" and "obscure" web more than google or teoma. Because it is less censored than google. Because it has ftp searches. Because SEO-spammers care only for google, hence they spam Fast less heavily with their fake results (though, on the other hand, Fast's algo are not so good at keeping "normal" spam at by). Because it is simply the best main engine for multi-words complex searches. Because it's advanced search mask is second to none. Because it's boolean, boolean, boolean and boolean with NESTING parentheses! Because it gives a lot better results than google when it comes to quote searching, i.e. you have a phrase or a sentence and you'd like to find the whole book/text/page whatever. Because zombies do not use it (it's a 'showcase', still in development and research search engine, used to sell "fast search services" to other sites, not a full-fledged mass-used engine). Because google needs competition. Because Fast is getting better and better. Because it's having less and less relevance problems. Because Google's results quality has recently dropped.


Useful findings
  1. Various FAST/Alltheweb:
    Fast changed name to the orrible 'alltheweb' because "http://www.fast.com/" belongs to some crap 'fastnet'. Yet the original site is still there at http://www.fast.no/, in Norway, while http://www.fastsearch.com/ is just a USA mirror.
  2. "URL Investigator": a nice feature :
    http://www.alltheweb.com/urlinfo?q=www.searchlores.org&c=web&cs=iso-8859-1
  3. FAST suffers spam:
    The algos have been seriously improved during 2002, but spam seems still to grow high on fast, espcially on commercial-related searches (but, then, you would not use Fast for such searches, ususally).
  4. FAST big size and small relevance:
    For a short time, some years ago, Fast bragged about having an Index bigger than Google. Fast has indeed a big Index, and covers many sites that Google does not cover. Yet, though catching up, it has still various relevance problems when compared with Google (or even Hotbot/Inktomi and Teoma). Yet size matters, of course, if you want a non-skewed picture of theweb. And if you remember that even the best Search engines (and Fast is for sure one of them) cover at best one third of the Web, you'll realize that the bigger MAY not mean more quality, but sure it COULD mean, on the long run, better algos to individuate quality.
  5. Automatic Language Mapping:
    AlltheWeb now determines the country from which a user’s query is originating and provides relevant results in the user’s local language as well as in English. For example, if a user situated in Portugal searched on AlltheWeb, his results would be retrieved and displayed in Portuguese and English. Although the local language and English are provided as the default languages, users will still be able to override the default language by selecting from the 49 languages available through AlltheWeb’s customized settings.
    Feature available for web search and news search.
  6. Fast has a small (and filled with automated redirections) search "sidebar"!


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