BY JIM KARPEN
The bad news is that I’m writing this with a broken arm. The good news: I have some lovely people waiting on me. I expect lunch to arrive at any moment.
So why would I write a column even though I have a broken arm (thanks to a nasty fall when playing tennis), and even though I haven’t really had the time or vitality to come up with a topic? I guess it’s become a habit. I’ve been doing this for over 14 years without missing.
In that 14 years the changes have been remarkable. The only search engine at that time that indexed web pages was WebCrawler, which indexed 4,000 pages. Google hit the 1 trillion mark last summer.
Search engines have become a part of our lives, and Google dominates. But it’s falling behind in a number of areas. My guess—and hope—is that it will emulate the technologies offered by those who have passed it.
The big thing Google lacks right now is a page preview function. I’ve already written about Searchme (www.searchme. com). When you do a search, it doesn’t just give you a list of results with capsule descriptions. Rather, it lets you spin through a preview of the pages on a carousel, letting you see at a glance what the page contains. Since I last wrote about Searchme, it has added an important feature: an unobtrusive “index” at left that is sort of like Google’s search result listing. One advantage is that it makes it easier to jump ahead rather than scroll page by page. Again, the beauty of this preview approach is that it’s so much faster. You aren’t having to wait for each page to load in the same way that you have to do when clicking on Google’s search results.
MelZoo (melzoo.com) is a new search engine that’s sort of a cross between Google and Searchme. It divides your screen in half and puts the Google-like search results in the left pane. And as you run your mouse over each search result, it puts up a preview of the page in the right pane. It’s simple and effective and fast.
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