Thursday, November 16, 2006

A New Look at Search Engines

Almost everyone is familiar with the search engines Google and Yahoo! (Actually, hasn't Google officially become a verb?) Their interface is very much the same - you type a word or phrase into a search box and press enter, which results in a list of articles or images.

Enter Quintura.

I stumbled across a blog posting about this site today, and have been intrigued ever since. Quintura goes about things a bit differently. It's sort of a dynamic search experience. You type your search term into the ubiquitous search box, but instead of just a listing of possible websites, you are shown a visual map of your word or phrase and its related concepts. And if you hover over a search term, any other related terms will appear. The sites that are related to each term change on the bottom portion of the page. Below is a screenshot. I am searching the term computer.

Screenshot of Dynamic Quintura Concept Map

I am then going to hover over home, because I would like to see what sites offer information about home computers.

Screenshot of Dynamic Quintura Concept Map

You can see how the terms expand around your area of interest. Quintura works the same way with images. (Use at your own risk - I haven't found an image filter on this site.) They are also developing sites geared towards women and children.

So we have a visual search engine - sort of a cool concept. What do you think about it? Would this be helpful to any of your students? How? Post your comments below.

(Hat tip: Download Squad)

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