Earthquake! And How The Big Four Handled The Breaking News

Search Engine Land, Monday, April 21, 2008 1:15 PM
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The 5.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Midwest last week was big news--and with more Americans turning to search as their first breaking news source, Danny Sullivan checked to see how each of the engines fared in terms of coverage.

Google trumped Yahoo, MSN and Ask in general searches for "earthquake," as the giant was the only engine that had current news at the top of the results. MSN had a "Recent Earthquakes" refiner on the right side of the page, but still only offered info on quakes in California and Nevada after it was clicked.

Searching for "Midwest earthquake" delivered better results on the stragglers. Ask shined with a display of the four most recent earthquakes, their locations and their magnitudes--in a window above the general search results. Meanwhile, Yahoo and MSN both offered news coverage once the query got more specific.

"Overall, I wish I'd seen more 'direct answer' style boxes like Ask provided on a general search from all the major search engines," Sullivan says. "At the very least, I should get news results--and in this, only Google did the right thing for a general query."

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