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7 Search Tools You May Not Know … But Should
Google UK recently shared a list of 52 Things to Do on a variety of Google properties (found via Phil Bradley). It’s a collection of tools and tips about using Google products and services for some everyday functions. If you’re a search power user, you probably know most of them already. But Google’s message seems to be, “Did you know you could do all this stuff on Google?”
It got us thinking about non-Google search tools that might have slipped notice altogether, or just fallen off your radar. With that in mind, here’s a list of seven search tools you may not know about … but should.
Read on to discover about how to see search suggestions from all major search engines on one page; a “cover flow” interface to see face images from Google Images; a new way to get recommendations about music, movies and more; new tools to search multiple search engines from one place; a tool for finding hot event tickets and as assist for hunting through Flickr’s many photos.
Soovle offers a unique search interface that puts a variety of search sites on a single page. But what makes it unique is that, as you type in the search box, Soovle shows you the auto-completion phrases that each search site recommends. In addition to being original, that function could serve to help with a keyword research project. It looks like this:
Google is the default search site when you arrive, but you can use the right-arrow on your keyboard to quickly select a different site to perform your search. And there’s also a daily update on the top auto-complete terms. Each day, Soovle queries the search sites to find out what they show as the top results for each letter of the alphabet. Pretty cool stuff.
If you like the “cover flow” feature that Apple iTunes offers, you’ll like this new image search engine. facesaerch (yes, “a” before “e”) takes a Google image search, eliminates everything but faces, and gives the results a more modern interface. It looks like this:
It’s nothing groundbreaking overall, but one nice addition is a customizable widget that lets you embed a facesaerch widget on your blog or web page, complete with cool thumbnail scrolling and all. (For your Oprah Winfrey fan page, of course.)
TasteKid is more of a recommendation engine than a search engine. It covers movies, music, and books, offering suggestions for things you might like based on what you search for. The interface is gorgeous (albeit a bit dark/goth), and the recommendations are generally good. Search for U2, for example, and TasteKid suggests you try out INXS, R.E.M., Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, and several other artists — most of which fit what a typical U2 fan might enjoy.
There are question marks next to each recommendation. When you mouseover a question mark, TasteKid displays additional information from Wikipedia, YouTube, and Amazon about that artist (or book, movie, actor, etc.). It uses Google Gadgets to offer a widget that can be embedded into your web page or blog.
Fasteagle is a combination search tool and web directory rolled into one interface, with a little touch of feed reader built in, too. The home page gives you quick access to search a dozen different sites, from Google to Delicious to eBay to FriendFeed.
It would be nice to be able to customize those 12 options, or add more to the original 12 to make your own personal search portal. But I don’t see that option anywhere on fasteagle, which is still in beta. Meanwhile, clicking on the categories in the top menu (Tools, News, Business, etc.) leads to new sets of sub-categories in the left-side menu. Under the Tech category, for example, the left menu changes to show sub-categories such as Web World, Tech Vloggers, IT News, Computing, Apple, Google, Mobile Computing, and Web Marketing. That last sub-category includes sites like Search Engine Land, Marketing Pilgrim, Search Engine Watch, and several others. Click on any link, and the site shows up in the main fasteagle window, with the top and side menus still showing — making fasteagle almost like a feed reader that gives you quick access to hundreds of web sites in rapid succession.
Have you searched for event tickets lately? It’s not fun, and it’s not easy. FanSnap hopes to change that by providing a one-stop source for finding tickets to sporting events, theatre productions, and concerts.
FanSnap doesn’t sell tickets; it lets you find tickets being sold by brokers and others in the secondary ticket market. At the moment, I don’t see inventory from official ticket sellers such as Ticketmaster or TicketsWest. They get inventory from more than 50 ticket resellers, making it a much easier way to shop than visiting the individual web sites of that many ticket brokers. To borrow a comparison Om Malik recently made, it’s like Zillow for event tickets.
Strange name for a Flickr image search engine, but don’t let it keep you away. Compfight offers a handful of customizations that help you drill down into Flickr’s enormous pool of user-uploaded photos.
You can search the full text of a photo page (title, description, and tags), or if that’s producing too many matches, you can just search tags. You can search for photos that allow Creative Commons commercial usage. You can search for photos that are original to Flickr. You can also turn Flickr’s Safe Search on or off. And you can combine all these options in any search combination you want. And rather than Flickr’s clunky, default, 10-at-a-time search results, you get dozens of thumbnails with compfight.
There are plenty of meta-search engines out there, but only one that wants you to “mearch” instead of “search.” That one is Kedrix, which is trying to coin a new word based on the words “meta” and “search.” That doesn’t work for me, but the search engine does, thankfully.
The Kedrix premise is simple: It’s actually not a meta-search engine in the traditional sense. Rather than mash results from different search engines together (as Metacrawler, Dogpile, Mamma, and others do), Kedrix separates the results from the four main search engines on tabs. Google results are all under one tab, Yahoo under another, and so forth. In that sense, it’s more like a search engine comparison tool. And that makes it somewhat more valuable to SEOs (who like to compare results across different engines) than your standard meta-search engine.