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back to article 'The most ambitious project at eBay for a long, long time'

"It's one of the most ambitious projects that's been undertaken at eBay for a very, very long time," vice president of search and experience technology Hugh Williams tells us on the phone. "I'd argue it's on the scale of any major search engine re-write a company has done." That's a meaty claim. eBay is one of the biggest names …

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If this takes off-

lots of SPARC hardware on EBay!

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Go

Good luck

It will be interesting to see how well this goes. eBay is not Microsoft... So that might be a good thing

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Ru
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Good stuff

The state of search at internet giants like amazon and ebay is verging on embarassing. Amazon especially is atrocious. It'll be nice when they finally drag their technology kicking and screaming into the 2000s.

Bing is adequate these days. Lets hope this project manages at least that much.

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Anonymous Coward

amazon

Amazon is the worst search results you can get in any website that attfacts any customers!!. A simple sql query with no fancy stuff on the title will produce more relevant results. How amazon managed to get it so wrong I have no idea! Personally I try to avoid amazon if the price is similar in a differet place, but if it's cheaper then have no option but to browser through their irrelevant results and find my item.

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Ebay's search is better than most.

I've used it for years. It works and it doesn't throw up stupid and totally irrelevant results like some others.

With far too many sites, if you search for paper tiger, you get *everything* made of paper and everything about tigers. The first are *sometimes* more relevant than others, but the relevance breaks down as soon as you try to sort them in a sensible order, like price ascending. Stupid search -- if I wanted to search for *anything* made of paper, why would I have added the word tiger ???

I searched tesco for "drain cleaner" and it gave me nothing whatsoever of relevance and a whole lot of total garbage -- including RICE. Apparently it can't tell the difference between grains and drains.

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qwertyoueyeohpee

Agreed. Tesco search is just plain abysmal, doesn't seem to have gotten any better in the last five years either.

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eBay search is about the best

I love the eBay search (and also agree that Amazon's is the worst search EVER).

- In ebay, it only returns items containing the words you say (better than Google!)

- You can add - modifiers (e.g. drain cleaner -rice)

- You can search for alternative words; drain (cleaner, unblocker)

OK it would be nice to search for terms in the title and separately terms in the description, or for things like "ships to Spain", but otherwise it's all good. Hope it does go all Google

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Coffee/keyboard

Step away from the keyboard.........now!

Nothing wrong with the fleabay search engine if you know how to use it (it's not rocket science).........stop tinkering with yourself eBay before something drops off and dies.

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NASA fixation

I'm hiding under the table if they ever give a project the code name of Challenger...

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"The enormity of the task"

Just how awful is it????

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Happy

Enormity

The word can mean just plain size as well as the pejorative interpretations.

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How about

When he's finished with that, perhaps he can drag their customer service into the present too. (or at least implement some)

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Ebay's current search isn't too bad...

It's actually surprisingly powerful, as it accepts a number of regex constructs. E.g.

1) "(blue,green) shirt" -- Find blue or green shirts

2) "pac* shirt" -- Find all shirts which mention "Pac" - e.g. Pacman, Pac-man, Pac Man, etc.

3) "pac* shirt -ghost" -- Find all "Pac*" shirts, but ignore those which mention "ghost"

It's not perfect - aside from anything else, adding these constructs often seems to remove valid results - but it's head and shoulders above the disaster which is Amazon's search system...

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eBay search behaviour

If you search for "megadrive" ebay is clever enough to match items with "megadrive" or "mega drive" in the title, but if you use the advanced search features it seems to disable this automatic cleverness.

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And a good thing too

If I've gone to the trouble of constructing a query to specify the results I'm looking for, I don't want the search engine second guessing me.

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The above is very powerful.

I used to for example - have a search "-(polar*,"brand new","free shipping",sealed) (repair,faulty,spares,broken,"not working",crack*,dropped,water)" - this worked well to find broken cameras.

Unfortunately, they've improved it, so you don't now get a list of matching auctions, it's aggregated by model.

I do not look forward to ebay 'improvements'.

Making search work well for most is good.

Breaking it utterly for some isn't.

Improvements need to be turn-offable, especially fuzzy matching. If I'm searching for a particular part number, and know the exact model, returning 'close' matches without the ability to turn this off can be completely useless.

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Oh crap...

I've been using eBay since Feb 2000 and over the years I can probably count on one hand the number of 'upgrades' that I've actually found beneficial to me when using the site, most of the 'upgrades' are ugly cosmetic things to do with the layout, I can remember when search results each used a single line instead of a massive thumbnail picture that takes up 1/5 the vertical area of the page, or 1/9th for the 'small' size, and all that padding in the tables that just waste space and they use it because 'it looks nice', well thank god for Greasemonkey scripts because I can remove a lot of the padding to get a better, more compact search layout and Enlarge links for every single thumbnail etc..

The last time the search engine was 'upgraded' (2 years ago?) they introduced a "Best Match" option that is now used as the default search option (until you change it and the subsequent cookie makes it 'stick') and it was (still is) the worst search option available, when it was first introduced it would throw up results that have bugger-all to do with the thing(s) you're looking for.

New search engine? DO NOT WANT, unless they introduce a significantly better wildcard capability into it so you can search for *blah*blah* instead of having a single asterisk at the end of the word like blah* which really limits the wildcard searching capability. However it does amuse me how most people don't know how to use brackets and minus signs (you can also put a minus in front of a bracket) for better search filtering.

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Indeed

Best Match was one of the least fine moments indeed, that and the, er, upgrade in May which removed the purchase history from the my ebay page, which succeeded in reducing my buying activity substantially. On a positive note, at the same time they do seem to have changed the way that adverts are embedded such that my ad-blocker is much more effective than it used to be!

And yes, the current search does work pretty well, although the situation over international seller visibility is very confusing & I’m now finding it is worth searching ebay.com / ebaymotors.com too.

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What issues is this upgrade resolving?

This article would be more interesting if the author listed the current weaknesses in Ebay search and how the new Hadoop based search is going to resolve these.

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enormity != enourmous

Enormity means "significantly evil" not "very large".

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