Online search engine AlltheWeb claims bigger index than Google

Monday, June 17th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Hoping to attract more mass appeal for an online search engine with a cult following, on Monday declared that it indexes more Internet information than longtime pacesetter Google.

AlltheWeb, owned by Norway's Fast Search & Transfer, says its database spans 2.1 billion Web pages, just ahead of the 2.07 billion scanned by Google at the end of last week. AlltheWeb has been quietly building upon its previous foundation of 800 million pages over the past two months.

The rapid expansion represents the latest salvo aimed at Mountain View-based Google, whose growing popularity since its inception in 1998 has inspired a mixture of awe, jealousy and one-upmanship among competitors.

The challenges haven't toppled privately held Google so far. Besides operating one of the Web's most trafficked destinations, Google also provides search results for other prominent sites, including Yahoo and AOL.

AlltheWeb's effectiveness has already made it a hit among scientists, librarians and other researchers looking for more obscure data.

By expanding the amount of online turf that it scans, AlltheWeb believes it will become even more useful to a broader audience.

``Our goal is to develop the best search experience possible,'' said John M. Lervik, Fast Search's chief executive. ``We really hope Google responds to this.''

Google regards ``quantity as just one component of search,'' said company spokesman David Krane. ``We still believe we offer the most comprehensive search experience on the Internet.''

While Google has long boasted about the breadth of its Web indexes, the company takes even greater pride in the complex formulas that it had developed to deliver quick results that list the most pertinent destinations.