Wednesday, May 04, 2005

THE PANDIA AWARDS 2004






The best metasearch site


A metasearch engine is a search site that gathers listings from several search engines and directories and combines them into one list of results.

Normally metasearch engines will give pages that have a high ranking in several search engines a boost in the metasearch ranking. This makes sense, as many such high rankings may be considered a vote of confidence

Given that the search engines and directories do not cover the exact same areas of the Web, metasearch engines may also give you a broader reach of the Net.

ixquick up front



There is actually, a large number of metasearch engines out there (see the list at the bottom of our metasearch page), but only a few of them bring real added value The design and coding is often bad, and the results are filled with pay per click text ads. There are some notable exceptions though, ixquick being one of them.
We like ixquick because it is simple and easy to understand. Each search result page presents alternative search engine queries that lets you focus your search. You may select which search engines ixquick should include in its results, and text ads are clearly marked as sponsored results.

ixquick is developed for professional researchers, and will normally translate boolean operators like AND, OR, and NOT for search engines that support advanced searching. it will not forward such queries to engines that so not understand such operators

Highly recommended



There are several other high quality metasearch engines out there, and whether you prefer one to the other is often a matter of taste. The Pandia Award winner of 2002, ez2find remains a very good and powerful search tool.

You may also want to look at Profusion and Vivisimo's new Clusty metasearch engine.

Pandia's own metasearch engine has, of course, not been considered for this award.

THE PANDIA AWARDS 2004, post no 25 february 2005

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Ez2find : the French métamoteur

Ez2find.com, initialement créé sous le nom de Ez2wWw.com, est un métamoteur développé par la société française Holomedia, fondée en 1997 par le frère et la sœur Luigi et Maïte Castagna, à Montgiscard (Haute-Garonne).

Cet outil est aussi accessible sur le site 2loq.com, qui offre une interface francophone aux utilisateurs de l’hexagone. Comme les concepteurs nous l’ont expliqué, le site 2loq a d’abord eu pour vocation l’offre d’emails gratuits, avant de devenir la version française du métamoteur. A titre d’information, sachez qu’il vous faudra lire “2 ailes au q” – et non ‘to loq’ qui ne veut rien dire –, expression devant illustrer la rapidité d’accès à l’information qu’offre cet outil. Bien qu’explicite, on nous accordera que le choix de ce nom n’est pas forcément du meilleur goût !


UNE CHARTE GRAPHIQUE A L'ANCIENNE

Si l’on s’attarde quelques instants sur le design global de la page d’accueil, on remarque que celle-ci se démarque de la tendance minimaliste “à la Google” (cf. les pages d’accueil de Alltheweb et AltaVista). Visuellement, Ez2find.com s’apparente en effet d’avantage à un portail (surchargé) d’informations qu’à un moteur de recherche version 2003.

Tout en haut de la page, le champ de requête, intitulé Global Metasearch, permet d’interroger les différents types de sources proposées par ez2find.
Sous ce champ, un service d’actualité diffuse les fils de presse de Reuters et United Press International.
Enfin, l’annuaire appelé Guides occupe, avec ces 18 catégories thématiques, la seconde moitié de la page.
Cette charte graphique un peu lourde est justifiée par la diversité des services offerts par ez2find.


TROIS OUTILS EN UN

Contrairement aux metamoteurs classiques, limités à la recherche de pages Web, Ez2find propose trois types d’outils :

- Un métamoteur de recherche

Un métamoteur est un outil qui, pour une requête donnée, interroge simultanément plusieurs moteurs et annuaires et rapatrie les résultats après les avoir, le cas échéant, dédoublonnés, triés, etc.
ez2find répond à cette définition puisqu’il permet en premier lieu d’envoyer une même requête à neuf outils : L’Open Directory, Google, All the Web, Yahoo, Teoma, Nomade, MSN, AltaVista et Voila.

Parallèlement, Ez2find offre l’accès à d’autres types d’outils :
- le module News permet de retrouver des brèves et des articles de presse parus récemment. En langue anglaise, ce module compile les résultats des sources suivantes : AlltheWeb News (qui indexe plusieurs fois par jour plus de 3 000 sources de presse du monde entier), Washington Post, Reuters, ABC, CNN, Yahoo News et BBC. En français, il n’interroge pour l’instant que AlltheWeb News ;
- le module Newsgroups interroge simultanément les forums de Yahoo et les archives de Google Groupes ;
- le module Images est également très utile, puisqu’il offre un accès simultané au fonds des sources iconographiques suivantes : Altavista Images, Corbis, Lycos Pictures, Nasa Image Exchange, Picsearch et Yahoo News Photo ;
- enfin, le module Guides permet de limiter sa recherche aux sites répertoriés au sein de l’annuaire de ez2find, décrit ci-après.

Avec le champ de requête Global Metasearch situé sur la page d’accueil, on peut interroger les modules Web, News, et les différentes catégories de l’annuaire Guides. Les modules Newsgroups et Images ne sont accessibles que de la page de résultats, une fois qu’une première requête a été effectuée.
Le champ Global Metasearch propose côte à côte trois menus distincts, permettant respectivement de renseigner les termes recherchés, de choisir le type de sources à interroger (Web, News ou les différentes catégories du Guides), et enfin de sélectionner la langue des documents trouvés.

Une fois la recherche lancée, l’internaute dispose de nouveaux menus pour affiner sa requête. Sur la page de résultats, on trouve au côté du champ de requêtes :
le menu Mode, qui permet d’effectuer une recherche avec les opérateurs ET (all the words) et OU (Any Words), ou de rechercher une expression exacte (Phrase). Par défaut, c’est l’opérateur ET qui est appliqué entre deux termes ;
- le menu Results, qui offre la possibilité de choisir le nombre maximum de résultats que l’on souhaite obtenir ;
- le menu Timeout, avec lequel on peut limiter le temps maximum d’attente de connexion à un site ;
- le menu Depth, qui permet de choisir le degré de profondeur de la recherche. Par exemple, le degré 1 de profondeur limite l’interrogation à la première page de résultats de chaque outil interrogé ;
- enfin, grâce à la fonction Adult Filter, on peut exclure des résultats toutes les pages à tendance pornographique.

Selon le type de sources interrogées (Web, News, etc.), ces menus ne sont pas toujours tous disponibles. C’est pourquoi ils ne sont pas proposés à l’internaute dès la page d’accueil. Si par exemple on interroge le module de News, on ne dispose que des outils Results et Timeout.
Un lien Advanced Search est accessible dès la page d’accueil de ez2find, dans le cadre dédié à la recherche. Cependant, contrairement aux grilles de recherche avancée des moteurs, celui-ci permet, non pas de préciser sa requête, mais d’interroger certaines sources du Web invisible.

- Les Metasearch spécifiques : une porte sur le Web invisible

Ces sources du Web invisible appelées Metasearch ont été préalablement sélectionnées par les concepteurs de ez2find.
Il s’agit de plus de 1 000 bases de données ou moteurs de recherches spécialisés sur différents secteurs, regroupés par catégories et interrogeables depuis le lien Advanced Search. Un clic sur ce lien affiche la liste des différents domaines et sous-domaines proposés (education, health & fitness, internet...). Une fois le thème de son choix sélectionné, on accède à un groupe de sous-thèmes surmonté d’un champ de requête. Ces sous-thèmes regroupent plusieurs bases de données et moteurs de recherche spécialisés, qui sont interrogés simultanément.

Malgré le vif intérêt d’une telle sélection, nous avons été globalement un peu déçus par ce service. Il est d’une part impossible d’interroger plusieurs sous-thème en même temps, ce qui nécessite de lancer plusieurs fois la même requête sur plusieurs sous-thèmes différents. On aurait, d’autre part, pu espérer de la part de concepteurs français qu’ils incluent dans leur sélection davantage de bases et de moteurs français ou européens. A l’heure actuelle, ils s’agit en majorité d’outils américains. Cependant, l’équipe d’Holomedia nous a assuré travailler en ce moment même à l’ajout de bases européennes et françaises.

- Un annuaire

Ez2find propose enfin un annuaire appelé Guides, composé de 18 thèmes généraux. Celui-ci reprend en fait les catégories et sources recensées au sein de l’Open Directory Project (ODP, www.dmoz.org), auxquels s’ajoutent les Metasearch spécifiques disponibles dans la recherche avancée.

A l’heure actuelle, cet annuaire recense plus de 3,8 millions de sites et 1 000 outils de recherche spécifiques, indexés dans 460 000 thèmes. Si les catégories sont les mêmes que celles de l’ODP, elles sont regroupées sur l’écran d’accueil aux sein de grands domaines différents.

Pour chaque catégorie, on trouve les arborescences et les sites proposés par l’ODP et, le cas échéant, des services complémentaires regroupés dans une rubrique Channel. Par exemple, le thème Airports de la catégorie Travel propose une rubrique Channel, qui offre une base de données recensant, pour une cinquantaine de pays, les sites Web de tous leurs aéroports. Pour d’autres catégories, la rubrique Metasearch regroupe les différents outils de recherche spécifiques (bases ou moteurs) recensés par ez2find sur ce thème.


PAGE DE RESULTATS : ENCORE BEAUCOUP DE BONNES IDEES

L’une des principales qualités de ez2find est qu’il reste l’un des rares outils à résister au positionnement payant. On ne trouve donc pour l’instant pas de liens sponsorisés sur ce site… Pourvu que ça dure !
Les résultats sont classés selon un algorithme prenant en compte le nombre de fois où une page a été trouvée par les différents outils ainsi que sa position au sein du classement de chaque outil.

La présentation de ces résultats diffère quelque peu selon le type d’outils interrogés (Web, News, Guides…), cependant les principes en sont les mêmes.
Lors d’une requête sur le module Web, on obtient successivement :
- la rubrique Invisible Web : elle donne, le cas échéant, les bases du Web invisible qui peuvent répondre à la question ;
- la rubrique Web Sites : elle livre les résultats identifiés grâce à l’interrogation des différents moteurs et annuaires. Le nombre total de résultats trouvés est indiqué en haut de la rubrique.
-
Pour chaque résultat ez2find indique le titre de la page, le pourcentage de pertinence de la réponse, le descriptif de la page et l’URL. Le cas échéant, la catégorie de l’ODP dans laquelle est indexé le site est précisé. ez2find indique également les outils ayant retrouvé la page, et pour chacun le nombre de pages trouvées, issues du même site. Les pages identifiées par plusieurs moteurs sont marquées d’étoiles rouges. Ainsi, les pages trouvées par deux outils de recherche sont marquées d’une étoile rouge ; celles trouvées par trois outils sont marquées de 2 étoiles, et ainsi de suite.

D’autre part, ez2find propose pour chaque résultat d’autres outils permettant à l’internaute d’en évaluer la pertinence. Au côté des titres de chaque page, on trouve les liens suivants :
• Translate renvoie vers un outil de traduction développé par Systran et permettant de traduire une page Web dans la plupart des langues européennes ;
• Preview permet de prévisualiser chacune des pages dans une petite fenêtre qui s’ouvre au sein de la page de résultats ;
• Site Info renvoie vers le site Alexa.com, qui a pour vocation de livrer un certain nombre d’informations à valeur ajoutée sur l’URL que vous lui soumettez, telles que des statistiques (nombre de visiteurs…) ou des liens vers les sites que les visiteurs de cette page ont également visité ;
• enfin le lien Open new window permet d’ouvrir la page dans une nouvelle fenêtre (en cliquant sur le titre, la page s’ouvre par défaut à la place de la page de résultats) ;
• la rubrique Summary, située au bas de la page de résultats, indique pour chaque moteur interrogé le nombre total de résultats trouvés pour cette requête et parmi ces derniers le nombre de résultats retenus par ez2find ;
• enfin, les Clustered Results, situés à droite de la liste de résultats, constituent sans doute l’un des outils les plus intéressants proposés par ce métamoteur.

Cette fonction permet de regrouper les pages identifiées au sein de catégories conceptuelles précises. Ce classement est le résultat d’une technologie, développée par l’équipe d’Holomedia, qui fonctionne sur l’analyse des occurrences des mots du titre et de la description des pages trouvées ; elle donne des résultats de même type que les “expressions connexes” d’AOL France (technologie Exalead) ou les “Search Results Guide” de KillerInfo (technologie Vivisimo). Grâce à cet outil, l’internaute peut cibler plus précisément les résultats correspondant à ce qu’il recherche.

Ce nouveau métamoteur s’avère donc être riche en innovations et particulièrement complet. La diversité des sources, la pertinence des résultats, comme le nombre d’outils d’analyse offerts par ez2find sont autant de services rendus à l’internaute en quête d’information.

Les Américains lui ont d’ores et déjà témoignés un vif intérêt en lui accordant une mention honorable au Search Engine Watch Awards 2002, et surveillent désormais attentivement les innovations en cours de développement à Montgiscard.

Nous vous invitons donc (sans chauvinisme aucun) à en faire autant en le testant dès maintenant à l’adresse Ez2find.com (ou 2loq.com).

www.ez2find.com
Holomedia, 2 Place du Boue, 31450 Montgiscard


Auteur : Jennifer Clerté
April, 2003
Net Sources

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Monday, March 14, 2005

ez2Find: Search Morphs to Global Metasearch

"What is the future of search?" This question gets asked and answered at
conferences of all types, with topics ranging from the murky knowledge management field to the slightly less woolly world of electronic commerce.

A better question is, "Where is the future of search?" Silicon Alley or
Silicon Valley. What about Montgiscard in La Haute Garonne? Search programmers can enjoy long lunches under the clear Mediterranean sky and code a global metasearch engine before heading home for the evening meal. Sound surreal? It sounds very real to Luigi and Maite Castagna, the brother and sister team that owns Holomedia, a company based in Montgiscard, France.

Metasearch refers to a process which takes a user's query and sends that query to
multiple search engines. Most North American Internet users find Google and Yahoo!
wonderful search tools. For Luigi and Maite Castagna, metasearch is the next wave in
Internet information retrieval.

Many of the well-known metasearch engines have become little more than lists of results with sponsored links competing for the user's click. The Internet veteran may know about Metacrawler and Dogpile.
Metacrawler uses the tag line, "Search the search engines." Dogpile, with its cute pal, Arfie, provides a similar service. The principal difference between these two services is that Dogpile lists hit by the source search engine. Metacrawler combines the hits into one master list. InfoSpace acquired Webcrawler.com and funded the new,
improved Excite.com, creating a mini- onglomerate that has helped keep metasearch technology in a gloomy cubbyhole.

All about Metasearch

Metasearch looks at data in its native form, indexes it, and then displays the hits in a Web page. Metasearch tools, unlike other search methods, are not stymied by the many forms that data takes. Different search engines create indexes of these content types, such as HTML, digitized video or audio, and XML files. In order to get one answer, it makes sense to use technology that eliminates the need for many individual searches.

"Metasearch is one of the promising technologies for information retrieval," says Mr. Castagna, developer of ez2Find, a next-generation metasearch service.

Holomedia is not alone in "reinventing" metasearch. Vivisimo has captured a loyal following with its
clustering technology. Kartoo's map-like interface put a new spin on the visual display of results.

"KartOO is a metasearch engine with visual display interfaces," says a company spokesperson. "When you click on OK, KartOO launches the query to a set of search engines, gathers the results, compiles them and represents them in a series of interactive maps through a proprietary algorithm."

Users love KartOO's stunning interface to an integrated list of hits.

Surfboard.NL snapped up Ixquick, a metasearch engine built on clever
ranking and relevancy algorithms derived from index trading. Ixquick passes the user's query to major search engines and then calculates each hit's relevance and displays single ranked list of hits.

Mention metasearch to research professionals, and their response may be "Copernic or Bull's Eye. Which do you use?" Both of these products are "fat clients." The user installs software on a computer and launches queries to multiple search engines.
As the result flow in, the software on the user's machine eliminates duplicates,
highlights search terms, and displays a relevance-ranked list of hits. In addition, the fat clients provide enhanced features for power searchers. The results can be formatted for printing or output as a professionally-designed Web page.

A variant of metasearch surfaces in IBM's "virtual database." The idea is that software from Metamatrix, Inc., connects disparate sources of data. One query is passed against the index of that virtual database, and the results are displayed as if the information came from one comprehensive, structured repository.

"Metasearch was interesting to us, so we just started coding, and we think there will be many new innovations from us and others working in this area," says Ms. Castagna. "We are now ez2Find. We started with a name that had the letters 'www.' People wrote us and said, we like your service, but the name is too hard to type. We listen to our customers, and now we are ez2Find," says Mr. Castagna.

Montgiscard still lags behind Silicon Valley as a technology hotbed, but it is close to the action.

"We are one of a few technology companies in Montgiscard," says Mr. Castagna. "There are about two thousand people here, and we are not too far from Toulouse, which is quite strong in technology. Montgiscard is also close to Montpelier, one of the fastest growing high-technology centers in France."

The firm's technology focuses squarely on the Web browser.

"Our approach is Web-based," says Ms. Castagna. "We don't like the idea of downloading and installing something if the function can be done via a browser. Also we like the idea of a free service. When we started the company in 1997, we survived the e-crack because we had some fresh ideas about generating revenue from people who wanted to reach our users. We plan to stay with the free service. So we sell some advertisements and some listings, but we keep the advertisements out of the hits."

According to the Castagnas, ez2Find's traffic is surging, although the U.S. services are not reporting ez2Find as one of the Hot 100 sites in the first quarter of 2003.

"Most of our search partners are very happy to be included in our meta
search," says Mr. Castagna. "They get the benefit of our growing traffic and they get free advertising and, of course, the links are going back to them."

Ms. Castagna adds, "For big engines the problem is a little bit different, some of them are happy since the search is counted for them and others prefer to sell their results. What we see is that there are many database engines waiting to take the place of the big ones. For ez2Find, the results are more important than the engine source."

The first time a user sees the ez2Find splash page, the service looks like a splash page on a corporate Intranet. Come back a second time, ez2Find automatically personalizes the view of the ez2Find content by displaying the information in one of 48 languages, including Eesti (spoken in Estonia) and Suomi (spoken in Finland) with more languages coming. The site uses the visitor's IP address to determine the version of the site to display.

The site leapfrogs the services offered by the fat client providers, such as
Intelliseek and the metasearch services of the traditional commercial database company.

Anyone remember Dialog's '411' search? AS part of the personalization, the ez2Find system serves a page with local stock quotes, news, weather, Yellow Pages, and a language-specific search. "With all of this happening pretty fast even when traffic is at its peak," says Maite Castagna.

In addition to a search box, ez2Find offers a Google-like news window. News, however, is integrated into the page along with an Open Directory-based taxonomy.

"One click provides the user with access to over 3.8 million sites listed in
460,000 categories," Ms. Castagna says.

Google does not integrate disparate content in its approach. A Google user must run separate queries to get the results of the Google spider and listings in the Google directory. The Castagnas take a similar approach but at a much more finely-grained level.

"We search the major search engines and one-thousand different databases, topic based or language based," says Mr. Castagna, who is also a PHP code enthusiast.
"Instead of having a huge database like Google, we prefer to search in the databases in real time. Our approach makes sure the content is always fresh. Some people refer to our approach as 'searching the deep Web or the invisible Web.' To call a specific metasearch, a user just types downloads, images, recipes, MP3, maps, and so on. Most common words will work. Answers come fast, and we can easily scale our framework very economically."

The technology behind the site is a secret, which is to be expected for a small,
privately-held company.

Mr. Castagna says, "We use some tools that we created in house for our needs, and some tools that were available. We have modified many of these. The code bas is a mix of different technologies programmed in C++, PHP and Perl depending on the job to do. We are very practical and focus on our users' needs, not a particular way to create a solution."

The site tries to make the process of searching easy for anyone, regardless of their search expertise.

"Metasearching for acronyms or translation is not very useful, so in ez2Find we show appropriate search boxes instead of a regular meta search," Ms. Castagna says. "Our users tell us, 'This is clear and easy.'"

"We have also a crawler to gather and feed an internal database of cities, movies, artists, misspelled words, among other information. We use this data to try to understand the query and serve the best possible results or databases to search," continues Mr. Castagna.

The Castagnas do not use the terms "artificial intelligence," "smart agents," or other buzzwords.

"We focus on the user and getting an answer to a question. The fancy words are not so important to us," says Ms. Castagna.

The site accepts advertising and supports pay-for-placement listings. These are
integrated with the user's search results. Over a series of test searches in French and English, ez2Find offers relevant results and no obviously misplaced pay-for-placement advertisements.

Says Mr. Castagna, "We don't sell ads directly-we use an advertising agency, and an internal database from affiliate networks. That's where we get the money. Like some other sites, we make sure these banners are geo- and keyword targeted. A search for auctions will not give the same banners than a search for mobile phones, and the same search from Australia will not display the same banners as the same search from United Kingdom. We think this is one of our advantages as the Internet becomes more global."

The company is placing more emphasis on its news coverage, which is already remarkably broad.

"We are working on a global news metasearch," says Mr. Castagna. "You will be able to have global coverage from the major online newspapers from all over the world, retrieved from the newspapers themselves. And, we don't want to have any editor. Our software will do the smart work."

The company is not interested in the corporate or governmental Intranet market at this time.

Corporate use of metasearch technology is not new. Verity Corp., has long offered
metasearch of disparate content domains. But ez2Find has been designed to fit a very lightweight footprint and comes equipped with technology that reduces must of the set up and tweaking that some portal metasearch technology requires. Companies and governmental organizations recognizing that legacy systems cannot be fixed with he 'rip and replace' approach need to break down barriers around some content. The future belongs to software, not massive amounts of money to rebuild or recode certain systems.

Trends in Metasearch

In addition to the appeal of metasearch technology to organizations, there are four broader trends in metasearch.

The first is a vertical or niche metasearch. An example may be found with the
Dataware's Query Server that dates from the 1990s. Believe it or not, Queryserver, which is now part of Open Text, is still available. A 'general' version and a 'federal' version. The system lacks user controls and requires updating, but it allows a commercial customer to build an index of internal and external content. This content can be queried from a single search screen.
Metasearch is now getting the attention of information aggregators. Gale Research offers metasearch as a way to bind together silos of Gale data. In the commercial database world, Ebsco, OCLC, ProQuest Information and Learning, Elsevier Science, Inc., and other library and electronic publishing companies are gravitating to the National I Standards Organization (NISO) to guarantee that content from these companies can be queried from a single search box.

The second trend is the "fat client" approach. The leaders in this segment of metasearch are Bull's Eye Intelliseek and Copernic services. These are "fat clients." The user must install a software application that performs updates automatically, provides special result format routines, and offers canned topic-oriented searches. "Fat client" is one solution for integrating different types of data into a single results display. A leaders in this niche is a low-profile advanced development shop doing business as Global InfoTek, Inc. Though much of the firm's work is classified, the company's public Web site provides a tantalizing glimpse of the power of fat client metasearch.

The third trend is the innovation in Web-based metasearch. Ixquick, WiseNut, and Teoma push the perimeter of metasearch. Each has captured a loyal following among specialist researchers. The overall usage of Web metasearch engines, according to postings on various discussion groups such as Webmasterworld.com, is difficult to pin down. In a quest to pump up traffic, metasearch Web engines innovate with vigor. For example, Ixquick has recently introduced a beta of the service that offers topic (and subtopic) clustering.

The fourth trend is the direction that the Castagnas are taking with ez2Find. The company's technology does much more than recycling hits from Google, FAST Search & Retrieval, and Overture.
ez2Find includes distinct types of metasearch
technology tuned to specific content domains such as music, which is, Mr. Castagna admits, "my biggest weakness. I love all music, all the time, all the types." The ez2Find approach embeds localized content with specific search functions.

"We are going to add more country specific services in 2003," says Mr.
Castagna, who reached over to turn up the sound blasting from his state-of-the-art audio system.

The future of metasearch appears rosier now than at any time in the last three years. Metasearch technology seems more practical and easier to implement than reengineering an organization's computer system on an fancy new BEA Systems' WebLogic or Oracle framework.
Software that can intelligently index information from a range of servers and application software is likely to find more acceptance than the software reengineering approach that leads to spectacular software flops like those associated with customer relationship management or integrated business systems.

Metasearch can add value to the search results displayed by a single search engine. In addition to clustering, the metasearch engine can combine results, delete duplication, and place greater weight on the newer material. Most users are woefully ignorant of the time delay between indexing crawls of content, and metasearch is one way to keep the displayed hits fresh.

Metasearch also offers a way to build what ez2Find calls 'local' views of data. The ez2Find software as well as products from personalization providers such as E.piphany
builds individual slices of content.

The Castagnas' software provides some of the functionality associated with the most sophisticated portal toolkits, but in a lower-cost way.

"When I hear music, I get good ideas," Mr. Castagna says.

Montgiscard's software wizards are going to turn up the volume in the months ahead.

Contact:

Holomedia
2, Place du Boue
31450 Montgiscard,
France

Technology from Harrod's Creek
Stephen E. Arnold
April 4, 2003

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Friday, March 11, 2005

2002 Search Engine Watch Awards

By Danny Sullivan, Editor
January 28, 2003

Honorable Mentions:
Ez2find, Kartoo & SurfWax

We didn't believe that any other meta search services stood out enough to receive a second place award, but there were three services that we felt deserved honorable mention recognition. Here's a rundown on all of those we awarded honorable mention status to.

Ez2find gained only 2 percent of the winner vote, but it deserves a closer look by many. It hits many of the major search engines, provides access to invisible web information, has topical clustered results links, page preview options and other features. Sponsored links also appear to be separated and clearly labeled. This is definitely a service to try and watch.

Kartoo provides a graphical look at meta search results, eschewing the traditional list format to instead map your matches via colorful balls and visual word links. It's definitely not for a mass audience and drew only 3 percent of the winner vote. Most will probably be confused by it, but a few may love the interface. We felt it deserved an honorable mention this year.

SurfWax gained the second highest number of "winner" votes, 15 percent of them, a high turnout helped by what were clearly loyal users lending the service their support by voting.

These users were especially enamored with a variety of unique features that SurfWax provides, and we'd encourage you to learn more about them by visiting SurfWax or reading this past SearchDay review of SurfWax.

We feel the service may be too complicated for the typical user. We also think the mixture of search engines isn't tightly focused enough on web search, with matches from specialty sites such as SearchEdu and CNN blended in with Yahoo, MSN and other general search engine listings. For these reasons, we recognize SurfWax with an honorable mention rather than a second place award.


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THE PANDIA AWARDS 2002




Best metasearch site



ez2www, cumbersome name, great site



keyA metasearch engine is a search site that gathers listings from several search engines and directories and combines them into one list of results.
Normally metasearch engines will give pages that have a high ranking in
several search engines a boost in the metasearch ranking. This makes sense, as many such high rankings may be considered a vote of confidence.

Given that the search engines and directories do not cover the exact
same areas of the Web, metasearch engines may also give you a broader reach of the Net.

There is actually, a large number of metasearch engines out there (see the
list at the bottom of our metasearch page). Unfortunately, quite a few of them stink. The design and coding is bad, and the results are filled with pay per click text ads. There are some notable exeptions though, ez2www.com being one of them.

At the core of ez2www is a metasearch engine that gathers results from AlltheWeb, Teoma, Google, Yahoo!, AltaVista, Wisenut, ODP, and MSN.

The result pages are relatively uncluttered and easy to read. To help
the searcher pinpoint the information she or he needs, ez2www has included links to
relevant directory categories (directory results from the Open Directory) and to clustered results, i.e. to related and more focused search queries.

The pages that are considered most relevant are given a number of one to
five stars.

At the bottom of each result page, ez2www tels you how many results each
search engine has reported and how many of these the metasearch engine has fetched.

This is not all. There are separate metasearch engines for searching for
news, autions, encyclopedias, forums, images and MP3 files. There is a translation
service, and a page for advanced searching that lets you limit your search to specific topic oriented search engines and sites.

Any cons? Well, ez2ww insists on giving us news in English on Norwegian
affairs on the front page, meaning that it tries to give us a portal page based on our point of origin. If we were looking for portal features like these, we would probably go elsewhere. We do appreciate direct links to the relevant national parts of the Open Directory and other services, though.

Morevoer, the name ez2www is probably not as easy to remember as the
creators may think.

The Pandia Metasearch Engine has, of course, not been considered for this award.

(The Pandia Post Newsletter No. 16, January 2003)



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Friday, March 04, 2005

Metasearch: Looking Many Places at Once

Metasearch is a term used to finding Web sites or other data through a number of search engines simultaneously. The results of a metasearch may be presented as one concatenated list. Alternatively, the hits from each site may be listed under a separate heading.


To look at the separate listing approach, visit Dogpile, one of the first metasearch engines available on the Web. Readers may want to note that InfoSpace owns Dogpile. Providing personal information to any Web form available via an InfoSpace property is one sure-fire way to get some electronic mail. To see the Dogpile engine in action, click here.

To see a single-list approach, look at Ixquick, a service developed in midtown Manhattan and now owned by a rocket scientist, some individual investors, and Holland Venture.

Several points warrant comment:

First, both of these engines focus on the Web. Neither has been built to integrate wider types of content. Although the technology could be applied to Intranets, neither of these companies is a major player in the Intranet market space at this time with their metasearch technology.

Second, the look and feel of these sites is from the "Google School of Design." Both are using relatively clean interfaces. When advertisements are included, they are slotted into the borders of page displays. Neither site provides the user with the visual cues or tags that mark a "pay for placement" listing from a "hit" that the search engines find objectively. (Xenky believes that objective search results are a gone goose, but that is a subject for review in a subsequent issue of this newsletter.)

Third, some metasearch sites are providing the user with guidance about the most relevant "hits" in a results list. Ixquick uses stars. Vivisimo, ultimately a metasearch engine, puts like documents in folders and ranks the results using a proprietary technique. Other metasearch providers offer similar cues. Ixquick developed an algorithm that considers terms in a Web page, site traffic, and other factors such as the number of links on a page.

Metasearch is the core of IntelliSeek's Bull's Eye and Copernic's Agent Pro and shareware products. What these services offer is a desktop client, real-time Web updating of the instruction tables necessary to perform valid queries at a search engine, and various value-added features. Copernic's software allows the user to save a result list in a format that delivers an attractive document from a printer. IntelliSeek offers packaged lists of Web sites that cover particular topic areas well. A user of IntelliSeek Bull's Eye can select a "book review" icon, run a query, and the results are narrowed to book review information.

Xenky learned that the geezer Arnold wrote about Copernic in his Information World Review column earlier in fall 2002. A version of that article is located here. Some readers may find it interesting. The key points of the column are that Copernic wants to add for-fee content to their search results. Sorry, Google already does that with its for-fee link to the Financial Times's subscription service. And Copernic is actively marketing an Intranet version of its product. Unlike Google, the Copernic Intranet software handles for-fee content plus the other assorted 225 file types routinely encountered in today's IT-challenged organizations.

More Needed

Xenky believes that more is needed in the unsettled land of Search and Retrieval. Metasearch — or at least variants of the concept — have some promise. Metasearch should be able to look at diverse content indexes and provide the user with more focused results. Users are not likely to change their query formation habits. As Xenky understands user behavior, about 95 percent of the people looking for information type an average of 1.5 words, hit the enter key, and pick the best looking result from the first page of hits.

With the rush to "pay for placement" on Google, Yahoo, and other major search services, the first page of results may contain advertisements disguised as relevant Web pages. An expert can spot the advertisements. Some Web users either don't care if the "hit" is an advertisement as long as the information on the page answer the user's question. Some Web users don't know. Either way, the numbers are with the users who take what they get.

Metasearch, however, can be applied in clever ways to Web results as well as to content located inside an organization and available to users of the organization's Intranet. Most metasearch tools index content in different file types and present search results that mix and mingle HTML documents, PDF, Word, and the ever-wonderful PowerPoint files.

What's needed is a metasearch technology that allows specific domains or collections of content to be defined; for example, directory information. A number of directories may exist. A user looking for an address or a vendor in a specific location wants only directory listings. At this time, there are some customized solutions that deliver this type of functionality. One example is the PlumTree Software portal toolkit. With PlumTree and the underlying Verity search technology, cross-domain or cross-corpus metasearch can be assembled. The drawback to most users is that only a few hundred organizations are using the PlumTree tools.

Metasearch has been viewed as a step child to the more challenging problems in search and retrieval. Visualization, agent-based retrieval, and natural language processing are "hot." Metasearch is not as glamorous to some whiz kids.

Some remarkable innovation is underway in metasearch. Readers will want to look at Vivisimo (mentioned earlier in this piece). Another Web site using enhanced metasearch is EZ2find. Once again, the gas bag (Stephen Arnold) profiled this site in his Information World Review column. Nevertheless, he omitted some important observations, which Xenky will gleefully point out:

First, the EZ2find technology blends a portal-type presentation with domain specific metasearch. Here's a screenshot of the EZ2find splash page (clicking on it will take you to the actual page). Note that topics such as "Directories" are metasearches of various directory sites. More impressive is that if the user is accessing the Web page from Spain, for example, the directories queried as in Spanish. The personalization is automatic and non-intrusive. None of the "Welcome, Xenky" stuff that grates on Xenky each time he visits Yahoo.

Second, EZ2find provides a blend of RSS-based news (personalized to more than 40 languages), weather, and the standard search box. Queries run against different Web search services. EZ2find has told a close associated of Xenky that some of the Web sites want to be paid for supporting the metasearch queries. If so, this is an interesting indication of the monetizing lust at Web search services. Most sites are thrilled to get the initial hit and click.

Third, metasearch — as implemented at EZ2find — is essentially unobtrusive. Most users will not know the technology is in operation. The metasearch functions of Ixquick, Dogpile, and even the client-side software keep the metasearch functionality squarely in the user's face. Pick this category. Pick that search engine. EZ2find says, "Search for answers or click if you want. It is okay either way."

EZ2find is a service that is generating money for the owners, who operate from a duck pond sized town south of Toulouse. The service runs on a mid-range Pentium computer and has been coded using Open Source tools.

EZ2find sells advertisements, offers various types of reseller deals, and charges users to have specific sites indexed. None of this monetizing is intrusive. The result is a remarkably helpful, semi-automatic metasearch technology.

What's the Future?

Metasearch is becoming increasingly important in searching internal repositories of information. Dumping content into one repository can be difficult when security and access to content can vary and quickly. Most large corporations have had to accept the fact that research chemists need one type of access to their data, and accountants need another. One size search engine does not fit all. Metasearch fits into organizations where the information landscape is not smooth. Large publishing companies may have information produced by different business units in highly specialized formats. The ideal may be to make all of a publisher's data conform to one super document type definition. The reality is that true data normalization at a large publishing company is still in the future. The short-term solution may be metasearch technology.

What's clear is that getting on-point results to queries across blogs, directories, Web pages, and databases is a complex problem. The solution may require the wizards in the advanced text retrieval laboratories to encourage young researchers to push the boundaries of metasearch. EZ2find near Toulouse did.

by Xenky

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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Par Christophe ASSELIN

Métamoteur ez2find

Ce métamoteur recherche simultanément sur AlltheWeb, Teoma, Google, Yahoo!, AltaVista, ODP, Nomade, Voila et MSN (pour l'interface française). Tous les moteurs et annuaires majeurs donc. La page de résultats propose un regroupement des sites par catégorisation (clustered). En outre, ez2 permet de limiter les recherches à un domaine (MP3, forums, actualité, images, téléchargement, santé, droit, sport, voyages, encyclopédies...). Il est également possible de choisir la langue de recherche via un simple menu déroulant. ez2 est désormais un portail d'information disponible pour la plupart des grand pays d'Europe, d'Asie et des Amériques (avec pour chacun des moteurs locaux). ez2Find fait partie des rares métamoteurs à proposer une interface claire, lisible et agréable.

Par Christophe ASSELIN

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Par la Bibliotheque de France

Ez2find

"Easy to find" est un méta-moteur de nouvelle génération puisqu'il fonctionne à la manière d'un portail de recherche intègrant toutes les fonctionnalités courantes des moteurs de recherche actuels. Selon l'implantation géographique de l'usager, ce métamoteur présente une interface dans la langue nationale et interroge pour la France simultanément AlltheWeb, Google, AltaVista, MSN, Voila ainsi que les répertoires de Nomade, de Dmoz et de Yahoo! France. Il privilégie par défaut les résultats francophones exclusivement pour les recherches Web, contrairement aux autres services de recherche proposés : dépêches d'actualité, groupes de discussion ou répertoire. Il offre également la possibilité de mener des recherches de fichiers multimédias. Le lien Advanced search renvoie vers un répertoire de moteurs ou de sites spécialisés. Une syntaxe minimale est disponible dès la page d'acceuil sous la forme d'un menu déroulant. Le temps et la profondeur d'interrogation sont paramétrables c'est-à-dire la proportion de résultats prévelés à partir des résultats de chaque outil interrogés. Les résultats identiques sont regroupés en une même réponse. La colonne de droite propose des résultats rassemblés par grappes d'occurrences. L'affichage des résultats présente quelques spécificitéintéressantes : fonction de pré-visualisation dans une fenêtre qui s'affiche en-dessous du pavé de réponse, module de traduction. Les résultats ne sont plus classés qu'en fonction du classement de chaque outil puisque l'indice de "pertinence" de la réponse est éventuellement soulignée par un barème composé d'étoiles. Il faut signaler que la proportion des résultats de chaque outil n'est pas la même : un système de quota semble privilégier Yahoo!, MSN et AltaVista.

Par la Bibliotheque de France

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By Erik Hoy

Hurtig og kvalificeret metasøgning: ez2www.com

En kollega tippede om metasøgemaskinen ez2www. Et godt tip. Navnet lyder underligt, men prøv at udtale på engelsk: Easy to www, altså: let til WWW. Metasøgemaskiner har aldrig været min kop te, men efter et par måneders brug må jeg konstatere det samme som med Google: Den fungerer! Med alle de forbehold der nu engang er, fordi ingen søgemaskiner i dag er optimale.
Ez2www er både en ordsøgemaskine og et emnekatalog. Begge dele giver hurtigt pæne kvalitetssider. Den er nem at overskue. Først og fremmest vil jeg gerne anbefale den til søgninger inden for bestemte fag. Her dur de store søgemaskiner som Google og All the Web sjældent, de giver enten for mange urene resultater eller forstår slet ikke søgeordene.
Ez2www’s ordsøgemaskine søger som den eneste metasøgemaskine også i Google og All The Web, udover i Dmoz, Altavista, MSN, Yahoo, Giraffen, Jubii og Yahoo. Sorteringen synes at foregå efter nogenlunde samme metode som Google: gode resultater først. Fundene får procentsatser.
Til højre er mappe-opdeling (Cluster), men de er sjældent givtige.
Nederst kan man se hvor mange fund maskinen har fundet i hvilke søgemaskiner.
Emnekataloget har en lokal (dansk) version, men brug den generelle (under Categories), den danske er for tyndbenet. Kategorierne fungerer som i alle andre emnekataloger (fx Yahoo), med hovedoverskrifter og et skiftende antal undermenuer. Denne del af emnekataloget er lige så godt som så mange andre emnekataloger, Yahoo, Dmoz osv. Det nye er imidlertid under menuen ”Invisible Web”. Det er en lidt misvisende overskrift: Søgninger her foregår ikke kun i det usynlige web, men også i det synlige. Det skal snarere forstås som steder hvorfra man kan søge i det usynlige web. Bortset fra det, så det en ikke tidligere set facilitet som er meget anvendelig hvis man står og skal bruge en specialsøgemaskine. Og det bør man vænne sig til!
Tag fx under leksika: her kan du søge i 7 leksika på en gang, inkl. Encarta og Britannica. Eller under Law: Findlaw, under kristendom på Bibel-søgemaskiner osv. osv. Sådanne specialsøgemaskiner kan man også finde frem på andre måder, men ingen overgår ez2www i overskuelighed. Det kræver nemlig megen indsigt i et fag for at finde de rigtige søgemaskiner til dette fag. Her er overlades du ikke på herrens mark. Det kan så godt være at udvalget ikke er det bedste, men i hvert fald lader ez2www dig ikke i stikken!
Søgemaskinen har mange landeversioner, dvs. brugerfladen er på dansk med danske aktuelle nyheder. Hvis jeg skulle søge noget om Sverige, kunne jeg vælge den svenske.
Ez2www vinder ved nærmere eftersyn og brug. Hver gang jeg har besøgt siden har jeg fundet flere udmærkede funktioner ved den.
Et stort minus er at maskinen af og til er langsom, af og til sætter den helt ud. Desuden er der ingen avanceret søgning. Klikker man på avanceret søgning, kommer man blot over i et emnekatalog over specialiserede søgemaskiner.
(Se også artikel i Politiken, Lørdagsliv, 4. januar 2003, s. 16 by Erik.)

By Birgit Neschen

Metasearch Ez2find

Überzeugend ist dieser Metasucher, weil er eine ganze Reihe hochwertiger Suchwerkkzeuge (u.a. Google, Wisenut, das Open Directory sowie Yahoo und Altavista) sowie über 1.000 Datenbanken anzapft. Trotzdem wird der Nutzer nicht wirklich von den vielen Fundstellen erschlagen, denn ein Zusammenfassen der Ergebnisse in unterschiedliche Cluster (mit entsprechenden Oberbegriffen) schafft eine gewisse Übersicht und hilft beim Finden der jeweils passenden Quellen. Rechtschreibfehler in den Suchbegriffen werden bis zu einem gewissen Grad korrigiert. Zudem bietet der Dienst u.a. einen umfassenden Web-Katalog, die Möglichkeit zur Suche im Usenet (s. hierzu die Einführung das Usenet) sowie eine spezielle Bildersuche.

On Nov 19, 2002 By Birgit Neschen

By J. F. Reichert

ez2find : (international)
ein unaussprechlicher Name (soll klingen wie: "easy to www" ) für ein höchst leistungsfähiges Werkzeug aus einer französischen Softwareschmiede: es durchsucht die leistungsstärksten Suchmachinen (AllTheWeb, Google, AltaVista, Teoma, Wisenut) - und Verzeichnisse (Yahoo!, Open Directory Project) und bietet damit die breiteste Datenbasis im Web für eine Recherche.
Auch für die Suche nach Nachrichtenangeboten, Newsgroups, MP3, Bildern uvm.
Die Ergebnisse werden in thematisch passenden Gruppen ('Clustern') dargestellt - was bei deutschen Suchanfragen oft zu ziemlichem Quatsch führt.
Mit seiner "Advanced Search" bietet die Maschine keine differenzierteren Suchfunktionen, sondern erschließt Teile des 'invisible Web' durch einen Katalog für die Suche nach Spezial-Suchwerkzeugen.
Einziger Wermutstropfen: die fehlende Hilfe-Funktion.
By J. F. Reichert

By Heise

Meta-Portal ez2Find

Metasuchmaschinen sind die Abstauber des Internet, denn sie machen sich die Früchte der Arbeit zunutze, die andere vor ihnen geleistet haben. Für den Surfer bringt dieses unter moralischen Gesichtspunkten schamlose Vorgehen allerdings viele Vorteile mit sich, denn ez2find.com recherchiert, so die Betreiber, in 1000 Datenbanken gleichzeitig nach der berühmten Stecknadel im digitalen Heuhaufen und findet dadurch auch Heise-Newsticker-Meldungen vom Vortag. Google.de muss da passen. Allerdings stellt die schiere Menge der gefundenen Seiten den Benutzer häufig vor Probleme - viel hilft eben nicht immer viel. Ez2find.com versucht, durch intelligentes Clustering von Stichwörten, die der Pfadfinder den Kurzbeschreibungen bereits gefundener Seiten entnimmt, diese Schwierigkeiten zu vermeiden.

Wer trotzdem lieber mit normalen Rechercheknechten sucht, kann auf lange Linklisten zurückgreifen. Außerdem verwöhnt der Metasucher seine Benutzer mit Internet-Radios und Newsticker für die einzelnen Länder der Welt; nützlich etwa für Urlauber oder Geschäftsreisende, die sich kurz vor ihrem Besuch über aktuelle Entwicklungen informieren wollen. Zusätzlich kann man durch Radio- Buttons die Suche einschränken und gezielt nach Bildern, MP3-Dateien, Auktionen, Downloads oder News fahnden. Ein nach Kategorien wie Science, Games, Travel oder Sports sortierter Web-Katalog dagegen erleichtert die an bestimmten Themen orientierte Recherche. (ku)

On October 17, 2002 By Heise

By Gwen Harris

Ez2find WSG Pick

Dynamite metasearcher in the portal style. Global metasearch searches Google, the Yahoo-based engines, Wisenut, Open Directory. Results come with a relevance score, can be translated and previewed. Results are also grouped by topic derived from frequently used phrases. There is a summary of number of results from each search engine. The Advanced Search has a guide to 1,000 searchable databases organized into several categories for one-shot searching. Ez2find will sometimes recommend one of these resources for a search.

Web Search Guide

By Genie Tyburski

With all the meta search tools available -- and many of them not worth the space they occupy -- it's difficult to motivate yourself to check out another. Ez2find.com, however, is worth your time. It passes your query to AlltheWeb, AltaVista, Teoma, Yahoo, and Wisenut, and then clusters the results so that you can focus your query on a narrower or related topic. Ez2find.com uses its own clustering technology, and retrieves Google hits from Yahoo.

Features include the ability to translate or preview a hit (Web page opens within a pane -- not a frame -- in the search results.). Users can also set some search preferences, search deep within select Web sites (see Advanced Search), and install a bookmarklet for searching the Web without visiting Ez2find.com directly. Consider adding Ez2find.com to your list of better meta search tools.

Oct 01, 2002 By Genie Tyburski

By Daniel Bazac

The Meta Search Engines: A Web Searcher's Best Friends

I know what you're thinking: Google gives you such accurate
results that you don't need any other search tool. Well, let's see about that.

You might - or might not - know that no major search engine indexes ALL the existing Web
pages. OpenFind states that it indexes 3.5 billion Web pages, Google claims 2.4 billion,
AllTheWeb - 2.1 billion, Inktomi - a little more than 2 billion, WiseNut - 1.5 billion and
AltaVista - 1 billion Web pages.

The truth is, nobody knows how wide the Web is. Some say 5 billion pages, some 8 billion,
some even more. Anyway, what's definite is that the major search engines (SEs) index only
a fraction of the "publicly indexable Web".  Moreover, every SE indexes
different Web pages, which means if you use only one SE you will miss relevant results
that can be found in other search engines.

One way to more effectively search the Web is to use a meta search engine.

What is a Meta Search Engine?

A meta search engine (also known as a multi-threaded engine) is a search tool that sends
your query simultaneously to several search engines (SEs), Web directories (WDs) and
sometimes to the so-called Invisible (Deep) Web, a collection of online information not
indexed by traditional search engines. After collecting the results, the meta search
engine (MSE) will remove the duplicate links and, according to its algorithm, combine/rank
the results into a single merged list.

An important note:

Unlike the individual search engines and directories, the meta search engines:

1. Do not have their own databases and

2. Do not accept URL submissions.

Pros and Cons of Meta Search Engines

Pros: MSEs save searchers a considerable amount of time by sparing them the trouble
of running a query in each search engine. The results - most of the time - are extremely
relevant.

Cons:  Because some SEs or WDs do not support advanced searching techniques
such as quotation marks to enclose phrases or Boolean operators, no (or irrelevant)
results from those SEs will appear in the MSEs results list when those techniques are
used.

MSEs Come In Four Flavors

1. "Real" MSEs which aggregate/rank the results in one page

2. "Pseudo" MSEs type I which exclusively group the results by search engine

3. "Pseudo" MSEs type II which open a separate browser window for each search
engine used and

4. Search Utilities, software search tools.


The following
provides detailed information on each of the four MSE types, along with my ranking:


1. Real MSEs

These real MSEs simultaneously search the major search engines, aggregate the results,
eliminate the duplicates and return the most relevant matches, according to the engine's
algorithm.  Following is a list of a few meta search engines that you might find
useful. It's by no means complete, but it might help you find what you need.  (The
criteria I used to determine the best MSEs were: the amount and the relevance of the
results, the capability to handle advanced searches, the ability to enable users to
customize searches, and the speed of their searches.)

Ez2find - (formalerly ez2www) http://ez2find.com

Searches the best SEs - AllTheWeb, Google, AltaVista, Teoma, Wisenut - and directories - Yahoo! and Open Directory. Through its "Advanced Search" function it also searches a small part of the Invisible (Deep) Web. It also searches news, newsgroups, MP3, images and many, many more.

Provides excellent results in a very neat interface. Created in September 2000 by the French search engine developer Holomedia. THE best!

Vivísimo - http://vivisimo.com

Uses the clustering technology, meaning matches are organized in folders. Don't like the
frames? Just modify the size of both the upper and the left frames. This MSE was created
by researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University.  Advanced searching options available:
exact phrase, Boolean operators, fields searching (domain, host, title, URL, etc.) and
more. A jewel for the serious searcher.

Query Server - http://www.queryserver.com/web.htm


Searches an impressive list of 11 SEs - everything important except Google. But don't
worry: Query Server searches Yahoo!, Netscape and AOL, all partially powered by Google.
This is another example of the clustering technology.  Highly customizable metasearch
tool. You can modify the appearance of the results page, selecting the search engines, the
amount of results, their timeout, etc. It supports quotation marks to enclose phrases, the
Boolean syntax and parentheses. Very professional.

Infonetware - http://www.infonetware.com

Searches the Web and provides relevant results, organized in topics, in a very clean
interface. This MSE is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and is a very good tool.

Metaseek - http://www.pcdigest.net/metasearch/en/main.shtml

Excellent MSE from Ukraine. Searches major international and local search engines. Besides
the Web you can search images, MP3, FTP files, news and more.  You can use
"Phrase" (""), "natural language" processing, Boolean logic
and field searching (by URL, title, site/domain or link). Very nice.

IBoogie - http://iboogie.com 

Uses a minimalist design. This MSE "performs intelligent clustering of results".
It searches the Web, the Invisible (Deep) Web, images, video and audio files.

Vinden.NL - http://www.vinden.nl

Searches "the best," providing very good results in a clean interface. This MSE
comes from the Netherlands.

Search Online - http://www.searchonline.info

Uses an excellent selection of search engines and directories. This MSE provides relevant
results in a relatively crowded interface. For each result you can see the search engine
where the hit was found, and its ranking.

Meta Bear - http://www.metabear.com 

Provides relevant results from both international and Russian sites. Be sure you type the
query in the "Search The World" box.

Web Scout - http://www.webscout.com

Searches the Web, news, newsgroups, auctions, MP3 files and jobs. This Australian MSE
utilizes the major Ses - except Google - and provides relevant matches in a clean results
list.

argosa:de - http://www.argosa.de 

Searches 17 international and local SEs. I suggest you avoid checking the boxes of Acoon,
Abacho, GoClick and ah_ha.com search engines, because they give many irrelevant hits. This
is Germany's first MSE, and provides excellent results organized by relevance, source
(quelle) or title.

Experts Avenue - http://www.expertsavenue.com    


Searches different search engines simultaneously for Web pages, auctions, jobs and forums
and provides very relevant results in a neat interface. Enables online language
translation of Web pages. Click on "Translate" and you will be brought to
AltaVista's Babelfish translation service, powered by SYSTRAN.

InfoGrid - http://www.infogrid.com

Provides excellent results in an easy to read layout, despite a very confusing Home Page
crowded and with frames. This MSE searches the "big ones" including Google,
AllTheWeb, Yahoo! and Open Directory. It also searches newswires, auctions, discussion
forums, MP3, FTP files and more. To avoid the frames in the results list select the option
to "Open in the Current Window".

Suchspider.de - http://www.suchspider.de/meta-suchmaschinen


Searches a whopping 100 (!) international SEs and WDs. Google, AllTheWeb, Open Directory,
you name it. You can sort the results by relevance, source or - much better - grouped by
domain name. This "Meta-Suchmachine" is based in Germany.

EmailPinoy - http://www.emailpinoy.com

Sends your query to 15 search engines. Don't use Kanoodle, ah_ha.com and GoClick
pay-per-click search engines, because you'll get irrelevant results. For better results
enclose phrases in quotation marks. This MSE is from the Philippines.

1 SECOND - http://1second.com

Searches a good selection of 14 major SEs and WDs, throws out the duplicates and
summarizes the results in a neat listings page. Use the Advanced Search if you want to
customize the search, especially the timeout of the search engines.

My Prowler - http://myprowler.com

Searches over a dozen search engines, news, images, audio/MP3, music videos, auctions and
various other sites. Compiles the results, weeds out irrelevant matches and provides a
summarized report. It accepts "natural language" query.

Gimenei - http://www.gimenei.com

Use of the "Advanced Search" option is strongly recommended. You can customize
the results page, including my favorite option, "All Results" in one page. This
is a comprehensive and fast MSE based in Manhattan, New York.

Dug Dugi - http://www.dugdugi.com 

Queries the major search engines, collates the results, weeds out bad information and
aggregates the results in an ultra-clean layout. For each match you'll get the search
engine and the ranking of the page.

Search 66 - http://search66.com

Groups together pages from the same domain. Beautiful. To avoid SE timeouts, select the
"Speed": "Comprehensive". Obviously, you'll get more results from this
excellent Australian MSE.

Besides the very good MSEs listed above, there are also some
others that are worth a try:


Internav - http://internav.com

NetXplorer - http://www.netxplorer.de (Germany)

Aaise - http://www.aaise.com/meta

Metengine - http://www.metengine.com (Antigua)

One2Seek - http://www.one2seek.com

Ithaki - http://www.ithaki.net 

Fossick - http://www.fossick.com/Search.htm
(Australia)

Pandia - http://www.pandia.com/powersearch/index.html
(Norway)

meta EUREKA - http://www.metaeureka.com
(Netherlands)

Widow - http://www.widow.com/crawl/metasearch.cgi


VROOSH! - http://www.vroosh.com (Canada)

Meta 360 - http://meta360.com

7 Meta Search - http://7metasearch.com 

Metor - http://www.metor.com (Germany)

Ixquick - http://www.ixquick.com

The following is a list of some unimpressive meta search engines:


moonmist - http://www.moonmist.info (UK)

Pro Fusion - http://www.profusion.com

The Informed Netizen's Choice - http://www.kresch.com/wwwsearch.htm
(Austria)

Bytedog - http://www.bytedog.com (Canada)

il motore - http://www.ilmotore.com  (Italy)

METASEEK.NL - http://www.metaseek.nl 
(Netherlands)

meta spinner - http://metaspinner.net  (Germany)

ApocalX - http://search.apocalx.com (France)

data Monster - http://www.datamonster.com

Dip Box - http://www.dipbox.com  (Sweden)

And last, here are some MSEs you should avoid. Why? Because they
provide very few results, many of them irrelevant:


Excite -  http://rd.excite.com/ex/ss.h

Search.com - http://www.search.com

Zworks - http://www.zworks.com

SurfWax - http://www.surfwax.com

2TROM - http://www.2trom.com

Mega Spider - http://www.megaspider.com

Zygit - http://www.zygit.com

Tsunami - http://www.tsunamisearch.com

Multimeta - http://multimeta.com (Germany)

Ariane - http://www.espace2001.com/moteur
(France)

2. Pseudo MSEs Type I

The type I "Pseudo" MSE sends the query to the search engines, and then presents
the results grouped BY SEARCH ENGINE in one long, easy to read scrollable list. Be
careful. Based on how many SEs you select, the waiting time can be very long. Some people
might find these MSEs useful, however.

The best MSEs in this category are:

Mall Agent - http://www.mallagent.com/web.html,
which provides results from 38 SEs and WDs,

qb Search - http://www.qbsearch.com/ (from 17),

Better Brain - http://www.betterbrain.com/ (12),

My Net Crawler - http://www.mynetcrawler.com/
(12),

NBCi - http://nbci.msnbc.com (11),

Planet Search (Sherlock Hound) - http://www.planetsearch.com/
(10),

Rede Search - http://www.redesearch.com/ (8),

1 BLINK - http://www.1blink.com/ (7) and

Search Wiz - http://www.searchwiz.com (6)

Search Fido - http://www.searchfido.com from 4 SEs
and WDs.

3.  Pseudo MSEs Type II

There are two types of Type II "Pseudo" MSEs:

a) You type your query one time and then select the search engines. One browser window
will open for each SE selected. The best are:

Multi-Search-Engine.com - http://www.multi-search-engine.com,
which opens 36 windows,

GoGettem - http://www.gogettem.com (30),

Search Bridge - http://www.searchbridge.com
(24),

The Info - http://www.theinfo.com (15)

Frame Search - http://www.framesearch.net (15)

b) You choose the SE, type the query IN the SE' form and a new window will open. Every
search engine has its own query form. Many users will find these window-opening MSEs
annoying. The best of this type are:

Alpha Seek - http://www.alfaseek.com,

Dan's No Overhead Search Thingy - http://www.danielc.com/thingy.html,


Express Find - http://www.expressfind.com,

Freeality - http://www.freeality.com/meta.htm
and

Langenberg - http://www.langenberg.com.

4. Search Utilities (also called Desktop Search Applications)

These are downloadable meta search tools that search multiple search engines. Results are
collated and ranked for relevancy with redundancies removed. They are not free but most of
them have a free trial version available. The price? A few dozen dollars. The most popular
are:

BullsEye - http://www.intelliseek.com/,

Copernic - http://www.copernic.com/,

LexiBot - (formerly know as Mata Hari) - http://lexibot.com


WebFerret - http://www.zdnet.com/ferret/index.html
and

First Stop - http://www.firststopwebsearch.com.


Conclusion

Now, you might ask yourself: If MSEs are so good, do we still need the search engines?
Well, it depends. I use a search engine - yup, Google - when I search for general
information. I use a meta search engine when I'm looking for a unique or obscure search
term or if I want to make an in-depth analysis of what's out there on a specific
subject.  My suggestion is to find some time and give a test drive to the MSEs; you
might fall in love with these lesser-known search tools. And next time you use your search
engine of choice, remember that there are search tools that can provide you many more
relevant results.

Good luck with your searches!



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Commentary by Phil Bradley

Can you recommend a search engine that allows me to interrogate a variety of other search engines at the same time?

The type of search engine that you're talking about is what I refer to as a multi- or meta-search engine. You type in your query once, and the multi-search engine then passes it on to a number of other engines, gets the results and then correlates them in some way. One that I've been playing around with is called Ez2www (www.ez2www.com). It searches some of the major engines such as Google, Alltheweb, Yahoo and AltaVista. It has a lot of different features and functionality and has already become my favourite.

On Aug 2002 By Phil Bradley

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Commentary By Traugott Koch

Ez2Find.com

Searches, among others, Alltheweb, Altavista, Google, Open Directory, Teoma, Wisenut, Yahoo. Results displayed partly in categories, clustered result sets based on concepts represented in the pages. Search individual search engines. Search countries (news feeds, weather). Search large directory.

July 19, 2002

Commentary by Steven M. Cohen

Meta-Search Engine - ez2Find.com

Normally, I don't mention meta engines, but this one caught my eye. It provides results from Alltheweb, Google (from Netscape), ODP, Wisenut, and Teoma and many more. There is also a news search attached. Worth a bookmark to play around with at a later date. (from Search Engine Guide).

Tuesday, April 16, 2002 By Steven M. Cohen