MillionShort: The Search Engine That Removes Top Sites From Its Index On Purpose

Article main image
May 1, 2012

Imagine going to your search engine of choice, typing in your search and getting results that don’t include major news sites, Wikipedia, or all of your favorite social networks?

You might think it was broken or that something was wrong. You might try a different search, just to make sure.

In MillionShort‘s case though, that’s the way it is intended. And there’s a good chance that this goes beyond the “neat” factor and into something useful for sourcers.

What does MillionShort do?

As first seen on Hacker News, MillionShort calls themselves an experimental search engine (or discovery engine) that removes top websites from the web. As they state on their about page:

We thought might be somewhat interesting to see what we’d find if we just removed an entire slice of the web.

The thinking was the same popular sites (we’re not saying popular equals irrelevant) show up again and again, Million Short makes it easy to discover sites that just don’t make it to the top of the search engine results for whatver reason (poor SEO, new site, small marketing budget, competitive keyword(s) etc.). Most people don’t look beyond page 1 when doing a search and now they don’t have to.

It should be noted that the search engine removes the top million (or 100, 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000) websites, not search results. So for example, a search for Lance Haun on the search engine still brings up my home page as number one–even though that is number one on Google too–simply because my site is ranked in the top million (yet!).

MillionShort appears to have been started by Exponential Labs, Inc., the same company that also runs FindPeopleOnPlus, a people search engine for Google Plus users, as well of a few other endeavors based on Google’s social network.

The advantage for sourcers

What is fascinating about MillionShort is that what it can help most with is with information you never knew was out there. The ability to do a deep dive into search results without boolean would also be a huge plus.

The biggest advantage is beyond finding people. In my mind, it goes to the natural ways the search engine encourages discovery. For instance, this very simple search for engineers santa clara brings up two very different results in Google versus MillionShort. In the MillionShort results, it brings up several different organizations that count engineers as their members based in Santa Clara. If you were to then go back to Google and cross-reference resumes or LinkedIn profiles that have the name of that organization in it, you could find some interesting profiles that might not pop up on a first search.

More than likely, the most useful application will be for the sourcer who is looking for deeper and deeper information and generating new ideas for better searches.

I’d be interested in hearing your take on this search engine. Can you see a use for it beyond simply generating better ideas for more comprehensive searches?