What the Google Mini is good at, and what it is not good at

March 7, 2006 in Google Mini,Q&A | Comments (4)

I’ve been talking to various people recently, both by e-mail and at the Mini Google Group, who want to use a Mini for things it really isn’t suited for, so hopefully this will be helpful:

What the Google Mini is good at

It is very good at searching through lots of unstructured information, and finding the document (page) that best matches what you are searching for.

So, it is good for searching all your old sales documents on your intranet, to find the reference you made to ‘Singing badgers’

Or it’s good at searching all the articles on your website, for all the ‘orange-spotted tapirs’ that you have written medical items on.

What the Google Mini is not good at

It is not good at comparing pages for specific pieces of information, or for sorting by anything except relevancy or date the page was made.

For instance, if you have a large database with hundreds of products in, and you want to compare the prices of three or four of them, the Mini (and GSA) cannot do this. You need to change your shop so you can run comparisons using your standard database information.

Although you can put price or other information in to the Mini search results by having special meta tags on your product pages, it cannot sort the search results by anything except the standard relevancy, or by the date the page was last changed and spidered. You cannot force it in to sorting by price, or any other detail. If you want this, you need to update the search on your current database so it will sort by the price field in the SQL query.

If your shop search is working very slowly, try looking at:

  • Setting up indexes in the database to cover the most searched on fields
  • Upgrading your database (i.e. if you’re using Access, look at moving to MySQL or Microsoft SQL Server.)
  • Talk to your host about either moving to a higher grade of server, so the database runs more quickly, or upgrading to have a separate database server which is good enough to handle the load your website is putting on it.

The Mini is a good product, but it’s made for a particular set of circumstances, it would be a waste of money to buy it to do something it’s really not built to do, when you could use the same money elsewhere to get a proper solution.

Comments (4)

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  1. Comment by B00MER — April 17, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

    I believe your statement of the mini only being able to sort by date, is invalid:


  2. Comment by Paul — April 18, 2006 @ 9:20 am

    You’re right Boomer, even though it’s still a version of sorting by date, as you can change where the date is taken from you can use it for other things. When I get a chance I’ll update the post to reflect this.

  3. Comment by Ernie Dufour — March 20, 2007 @ 3:33 pm

    Hello When I type my name Ernie Dufour at the search Engine on myspace, it shows only 1000 results and sais that google is resposible for the settings. How can I change the setting to a higher number like 3000 or 4000 because I am trying to retrive my fans and friends that were deleted . Please can you help with this matter.?

  4. Comment by Paul — April 16, 2007 @ 8:21 am

    I’m afraid you can’t, Ernie.

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