Search website offers a visual alternative

Jan 07, 2009 By Craig Crossman

Like most everyone these days, when you need to search the Internet for just about anything, you use Google. Let's face it. Google is the undisputed champion when it comes to Internet searching. It's become so mainstream that the name itself has become synonymous with searching the Internet. It's actually listed as a verb in some dictionaries. "I Googled it" or "I Googled him" means you went online and searched for information relevant to that item or person.

There are many reasons why Google has become the 800-pound gorilla in the search engine arena but the most important one is most likely its phenomenal accuracy when it comes to finding the very thing you're trying to locate. When you enter a word or phrase that describes what you're trying to find, Google typically displays what you are looking for within the first page of listings, many times within the first five items. It's almost spooky how accurate it has become over the years. And while some other search sites have tried to compete using alternative and creatively clever methods to enhance the searching experience, it's difficult to compete with speed and highly accurate return results. Still there's always something new out there in the wings and I recently came across a search engine that's come up with something different.

When you use Google, the results are pages and pages of text. Each page displays around 10 links along with brief descriptions that attempt to describe what you'll see if you click on the link. If you don't like what you see after clicking the link, you have to hit the back arrow, close the tab or close the child window depending on how you have your browser configured to go back to the Google results listing to try another link. It's a bit tedious at best and hopefully your broadband connection lets you move right along with all that clicking. But what if you could actually SEE all those pages the links are pointing to without having to click on any of the links? That's exactly what happens when you use Searchme, the visual search engine.

On the Searchme home page, you have the typical area into which you begin to type your search words. As you type, little icons with category names begin to appear. For example, when I typed the word "Apple" the relevant categories "Computer Hardware, Movies, Software and Music" appeared. You can choose to select any of those or just hit the Enter or Return key. What appears next is a horizontally split screen which you can easily resize. The bottom half displays the typical text hyperlinks and descriptions. But the top half shows an animated display of the actual web pages with a slider underneath. Dragging the slider left and right causes the web pages to flip in the corresponding direction. The closest thing I've seen to this kind of display is Apple's three-dimensional Cover Flow that displays album covers within iTunes and as a View option in Apple's Leopard, its latest iteration of OS X.

There's a lot more here to help you find the pages you want. When you have a page of interest in Searchme's foreground, you can click on a magnify icon to more closely inspect the page's details. It opens a magnifying window which you can move over the website page. If it's the page you want, just click on the page and you'll be taken to it. Other options let you create "Stacks" of pages which are little visual renderings of pages you wish to associate to each other for later reference.

After using Searchme for a while, I found its ability to rapidly scroll through miniature web pages helped me to more quickly and accurately find the correct website as opposed to just clicking back and forth on text links. You just have to try it for yourself and see what I mean. Searchme is totally free and there's even a free toolbar you can download that makes searching even easier. At the very least, search me why you wouldn't give it a try.

On the web: www.searchme.com

(Craig Crossman is a national newspaper columnist writing about computers and technology. He also hosts the No. 1 daily national computer radio talk show, Computer America, heard on the Business TalkRadio Network and the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network - Monday through Friday, 10 p.m.-midnight ET. For more information, visit his web site at computeramerica.com.)

___

© 2009, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: Belarus tightens control over online media

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

People finding their 'waze' to once-hidden streets

10 hours ago

When the people whose houses hug the narrow warren of streets paralleling the busiest urban freeway in America began to see bumper-to-bumper traffic crawling by their homes a year or so ago, they were baffled.

Identity theft victims face months of hassle

10 hours ago

As soon as Mark Kim found out his personal information was compromised in a data breach at Target last year, the 36-year-old tech worker signed up for the retailer's free credit monitoring offer so he would ...

Observers slam 'lackluster' Lima climate deal

10 hours ago

A carbon-curbing deal struck in Lima on Sunday was a watered-down compromise where national intransigence threatened the goal of a pact to save Earth's climate system, green groups said.

Your info has been hacked. Now what do you do?

10 hours ago

Criminals stole personal information from tens of millions of Americans in data breaches this past year. Of those affected, one in three may become victims of identity theft, according to research firm Javelin. ...

New Bond script stolen in Sony hack

10 hours ago

An "early version" of the screenplay for the new James Bond film was the latest victim of a massive hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, its producers said in a statement on their website Sunday.

Ag-tech could change how the world eats

16 hours ago

Investors and entrepreneurs behind some of the world's newest industries have started to put their money and tech talents into farming - the world's oldest industry - with an audacious agenda: to make sure there is enough ...

Recommended for you

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

Brazil: Google fined in Petrobras probe

Dec 15, 2014

A Brazilian court says it has fined Google around $200,000 for refusing to intercept emails needed in a corruption investigation at state-run oil company Petrobras.

Microsoft builds support over Ireland email case

Dec 15, 2014

Microsoft said Monday it had secured broad support from a coalition of influential technology and media firms as it seeks to challenge a US ruling ordering it to hand over emails stored on a server in Ireland.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.