Visual Search Engine: Preview Before You Click Through
When you do a search on Google or Yahoo, the search engine churns out a list of websites accompanied by abstracts that are used to decide whether a site is worth checking out. Sometimes this process involves much back-and-forth as you look for the answers you need. Well, wouldn't it be nice to get a preview of the websites retrieved before clicking through?
Searchme is a visual search engine that displays search results as an image gallery of screenshots that you can scroll, giving you a better idea of a site's relevance. With its clean, elegant, intuitive design, Searchme is both easy on the eyes and easy to use.
Site Features of Searchme
Click on any screenshot in the gallery to bring the image to the centre, or use the arrows or scroll bar at the bottom of the screen. Move the mouse over the image that you're viewing and a synopsis will appear. For those more comfortable working with a traditional, text-based list, you can still choose to have your search results displayed in this format by clicking on the arrow at the bottom.
Searchme groups search results by categories — a very useful feature as it helps you find the right information quickly by narrowing the results, providing the most relevant results and cutting down the amount of work. For example, as you type your search term, categories will pop up based on what the search engine predicts your search term to be. Type in "chocolate" and you can immediately limit your search to movies with chocolate in the title, cooking with chocolate, business news related to "chocolate" products, and so on.
Your search terms are also highlighted with yellow boxes on the preview screenshot, and images are large enough so that you can easily see how frequently your search term or terms appear on the page. In contrast, Firefox features an add-on plugin called GooglePreview that provides thumbnail images of websites returned on a Google search. The thumbnails are not nearly as helpful, however, as they are quite small.
To see how the site works, check out Searchme's demo video:
Star Support for Searchme
Will Searchme replace Google? Not today or tomorrow. The site is still in beta, and as mentioned on the "About Us" page, the quality of the results will vary as Searchme works on improving the site.
In fact, two new features were added in June, 2008: the ability to limit your search to videos and images and the ability to create stacks. What's a stack? It's a collection of URLs to web pages, videos and images that you've bookmarked by dragging and dropping from your search results. You can e-mail a link to your stack or post it on your blog or website. It's a pretty handy way of sharing your findings with others.
Here's another site demo that illustrates a video and an image search:
Now, can you guess which comedian-actor's attention Searchme has attracted? Yes, it's Will Ferrell, who digs the site so much that he's even put money into it (via Telegraph.co.uk). Hey, if it's good enough for Will Ferrell...
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