Quintura recently relaunched with a new interface, which has been receiving a fair amount of comment. I originally wrote about the search engine back in November, and I was fairly lukewarm in my praise of it; while it was a nice idea, the interface held it back. Well, the relaunched version is now much better, with the tag cloud appearing on the left hand side of the screen, with results appearing in the right hand side. This reduces scrolling and makes the whole process of checking out results much easier.
For those who haven’t looked at Quintura, I should explain that when a search is run a tag cloud appears on the screen and a mouseover of any term changes the results that are displayed, as well as displaying a different set of tags. It’s an interesting twist on some of the other visual search engines that are available and if for no other reason it will win some users who dislike more traditional methods of displaying results.
It isn’t all sweetness and light however, and search terms do require a little more thought. For example a search for the words [search engine land] returned some results to me with a small Ask.com icon next to the word ‘search’. Clicking on the icon drops me into Ask with a canned search waiting to go on ‘why did the anzacs land at gallipoli’, which really wasn’t what I was expecting. Another icon that appears next to terms looks like a cross inside an orange circle, and I expected that clicking on that would exclude that particular term from my search, but instead it added it, which I found unhelpful and confusing. I’m not entirely convinced that the whole icon approach has been fully thought through.
Clicking on the word ‘search’ loads a new screen with the search box containing the terms engine land which again wasn’t what I thought would appear on the screen. Irritatingly I was unable to go back to my previous search – use of the back button merely took me back to a previous screen of results in the right hand pane.
Searching for the phrase ["search engine land"] was much more productive however, and the associated tag cloud (danny sullivan, launch, blog, site etc) was reasonable. The results themselves are powered by Yahoo XML, so there’s little to say on that directly, although criticism has been leveled at Quintura along the lines of “why not just use Yahoo?” While I can see the point of the question, I think it slightly misses the point that results can be manipulated, changed and displayed in a variety of ways, some of which may actually be better than the original display.
There is nothing by the way of advanced search, which is disappointing, and my guessed search of link:http://www.philb.com ended up in the search box as ‘link 3ahttp 3a www philb com’ which was of course quite meaningless. There are search options for images, video and Amazon and the results for searches using these parameters were ok, though unremarkable. Searches can be saved (target, shortcut or favorite) and sent to friends and colleagues, but an RSS option was missing, which was a shame.
Quintura is getting better; there’s no doubting that. The visual display is far superior to the previous version, but unless you particularly like visual search engines I don’t really think that there’s anything here yet to tempt you away from your default engine. However to be fair, Quintura is evolving and improving, so I think it’s a question of “watch this space in 6 months” to see where it has got to by then.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.