Problems with Google's Index

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Tempest Nathan
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Problems with Google's Index

Post by Tempest Nathan » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:44 am

The default search results at SearchTempest are powered by Google. For the past few days, Google has been indexing craigslist only intermittently, resulting in a number of postings being missed. Unfortunately, this problem is on Google's end, so there's no a lot we can do about it, although we expect they will have it fixed soon.

In the mean time, we do have two alternatives that we hope will do a decent job of filling the void. First is our Direct Results mode, which you can access by clicking the Direct Results link near the top-right of the results page, below the search bar. Direct Results will open a couple of popup windows - a large one containing an actual craigslist results page, straight from the source, and a small 'index' window to easily flip through results from various cities. So you can only see one city at a time, but switching between them is as easy as clicking "Next". Learn more about Direct Results here.

Second is our RSS feeds tool, which is handy for searches over large areas, or ones that you run repeatedly. Basically you run your search as usual, then click the orange Feeds for this Search link at the very top-right of the results page. That will give you instructions on downloading the feeds and importing them into Google Reader. Even if you haven't used RSS before, you should be able to get it set up in a few minutes. Then it's just a matter of opening up the RSS reader, and you can see all the latest 'unread' results for your search, straight from the source.

Update: For now, we have switched the Combined Results mode to be powered by Bing. It should return all relevant results. However, Bing does not allow us to filter by city, so you will get results for all of craigslist. To search only certain cities, please use Direct Results mode or the RSS feeds as mentioned above. (Fixed!)

Also, Bing will not sort by date. To work around this, you can use the "Show results within past # days" option, which you can find on the right side of the page, above the results. (So they won't be sorted by date, but you can have it only show the past day or two.) Finally, Bing does advanced searches a bit differently. If you're using advanced operators like |, please see the changes here.

If you have any questions, I will be checking this thread regularly. Thanks for your patience!

Update 2: Looks like Google is fixing the problem! It appears that their results are now better than Bing's for most searches, so we are switching back now. They are still rebuilding their index though, so it may not be perfect for all searches. If you're not getting good results, please see these tips, and/or give it a couple days and try again.

Update 3: Google is taking longer than expected to rebuild their index, so while most searches are good, some are not returning the expected results. This thread summarizes your options if this is happening to you. Basically, as well as the options mentioned up above here, until Google gets everything sorted out, we will keep the Bing version of the site up and running on our beta server.

knuck39
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Re: Problems with Google's Index

Post by knuck39 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:35 am

thanks for being on this and trying to find a solution...hopefully,it will be fixed sometime soon..the direct results mode does work,but having to search each and every city independently is quite time consuming...I am however,going to try and set up the RSS feeds and see if that works any better...thanks again..Rick

sweendogie
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Re: Problems with Google's Index

Post by sweendogie » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:03 pm

I've been using the RSS feed tool with Caffeinated and Gruml on a Macbook Pro for quite some time and I love it.... but I've been having problems ever since the indexing issue surfaced. I'm not getting nearly as many results as I was a week ago. Hopefully it gets fixed soon!

sweendogie
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Re: Problems with Google's Index

Post by sweendogie » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:09 pm

I'm having a problem with the direct results as well. I'm not even getting results when trying to search craigslist.org. Will check back in a few hours to see if it's fixed.

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Tempest Nathan
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Re: Problems with Google's Index

Post by Tempest Nathan » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:35 pm

sweendogie wrote:I'm having a problem with the direct results as well. I'm not even getting results when trying to search craigslist.org. Will check back in a few hours to see if it's fixed.
You mean even when you go to craigslist completely separately from SearchTempest you're having problems? Could it be a mistake in your search query, like accidentally searching the wrong category or having a low max price or something?

justjeffy
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Re: Problems with Google's Index

Post by justjeffy » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:19 am

Google has to be better than this. The Bing results are much worse. Can we go back?

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Tempest Nathan
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Re: Problems with Google's Index

Post by Tempest Nathan » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:04 pm

justjeffy wrote:Google has to be better than this. The Bing results are much worse. Can we go back?
Google has essentially no results at all, since Feb. 28. So probably not better. ;) As soon as they fix the problem and start indexing I do plan to switch back. Are you having a problem with the Bing results besides the fact that they aren't sorted by city? From the few tests I've performed they seem to be pretty complete, but obviously I can't try every possible search. Let me know what's going wrong and I'll look into it!


kenod
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Re: Problems with Google's Index

Post by kenod » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:06 pm

I have been visiting Search Tempest for a year or two or more (I can't remember...)

I always look at used boats, mostly wooden boats.

The Bing results look better than Google I think. More results and less expired.

Sure you don't want to keep Bing? I'm pretty happy with their results.

I don't use the Bing search engine, but there's been so much crap on Google, I might switch.

Bing have a test to see if you like them or Google results. I took it twice, and preferred the Bing results each time (long tail and local), but still I go back to Google out of habit.

By the way, great site. Craigslist is a pain in the butt for not letting consumers efficiently search nationwide. With your abilities, ever think about setting up a "Craigslist for National" competitor?

Good Luck!
Ken.

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Tempest Nathan
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Re: Problems with Google's Index

Post by Tempest Nathan » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:48 pm

Thanks Ken, good to know some people are finding the Bing results useful. I don't think we'll stick with them though, for a few reasons. The main one is they don't really give a good way to narrow down the search. I think I can make it narrow to a few cities by specifying them right in the query string (just like doing a "site:losangeles.craigslist.org" query on Google), but the best possible will probably be up to about 300 miles from your zip, or everywhere - nothing in-between. Also, they don't give any way to sort by date, or by distance. So while I imagine you're right that for some searches they have better results, the negatives probably outweigh the positives. (Also I've had plenty of people complain that the results are worse too!)

At least we have a decent alternative while Google is down though!

As for a full-blown CL alternative, maybe someday. At the moment I've got far more to work on than I have time for already! :)

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