I may be the only one who noticed, but it seems to me that 2009 saw an unusual amount of new comparison search tools released. Perhaps it was the launch of Bing, or the growth of real-time search? I don’t know, but something inspired programmers to develop new tools and sites to let us compare search results.
In this edition of my occasional search tools series, I’ll look at four comparison search tools that may have slipped under your radar.
One of the simpler tools, and probably the one with the cleanest interface, Search3 does what it name suggests: It lets you compare the results of three separate search sites in a single page. There are two options, web search (shown below) or image search. On the web search side, you can choose three sites from Google, Yahoo, Bing, Twitter, and eBay. On the image side, you can choose three from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Flickr.
What helps keep the presentation clean is that Search3 strips out the original site layout and only shows the links from their search results. The downside of this is that you don’t get, for example, any universal/blended search results or other shortcuts that the engines may be showing for your query.
More traditional in its look, Googawho? also offers more search engine choices and some additional tools that other comparison search tools are lacking. It pulls the actual search results pages from the sites you’re comparing into frames so you see the full set of results — including universal/blended results and even paid search ads.
Googawho? offers web, news, or image search comparisons from eight sites — though it’s questionable who would want to compare results between AltaVista and Lycos, for example. There are links to see any frame in a full browser window, and a “Tabulizer” button that will launch your search query in new browser tabs — one for each of the eight search engines it includes.
The most sophisticated and useful of the comparison tools I’m looking at today, Panabee offers the traditional two-frame comparison that many sites offer. But what sets Panabee apart is the breadth of sites you can compare and the ability to customize it via a “Favorites” tab that appears at the top of each frame.
Clicking that “Favorites” tab brings up several dozen search sites, each separated into categories (Images, Video, Shopping, Local, etc.). You can click an individual site to add it to the current choices, or you can create your own set of sites to compare in a “My Panabee” feature. It’s very cool, and power searchers/researchers should welcome the additional functionality on offer here.
The last comparison search tool on the list is also the most unique. Rather than comparing web search or image results, Maps Compare lets you compare the map search results of four sites on a single page: Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, Bing Maps, and Google Earth.
This isn’t a local business search tool, at least not in its current form. Searches like “movie theaters, 99301″ and even “google, mountain view, ca” don’t produce acceptable results. But it does work for city names and some landmarks, like “mount rushmore” and even “safeco field” (home of the Seattle Mariners baseball team).
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