Tag Archives: Flash Interface

Alternative search engine

Whilst searching for a broad range of search engines on which to promote my website I recently stumbled across a site which I hadn’t seen or heard of in the past which is actually shockingly good. For the last couple of years, Google has been my search engine of choice and is still in the majority of cases the first site that I’ll go to when searching for information on the Internet although the original layout of the site that I’m going to cover today definitely earns it a position as one of my favourites.

Kartoo (www.kartoo.com) is a meta engine which means that it searches more than one database at a time when you look for something on the Internet so that if, for example you typed in ‘houses for sale’ then it may question both AltaVista and Yahoo to bring you the most comprehensive results. In addition it can also intelligently choose which databases to question based on your search phrase so if you were to type in a question such as ‘Where can I view houses for sale?’ then Kartoo would ask a search engine that specialises in recognising natural language such as www.northernlight.com.

The best aspect of this site has to be the interface that it uses as for as long as search engines have been around, their layout has changed very little indeed – You simply type what you want into a box, hit search and then a big list of sites come up for you to choose from. Kartoo on the other hand uses a Macromedia Flash interface which makes things much more graphically intensive which many of you are probably thinking is a stupid idea as surely a graphical search engine will take longer to load and offer no advantages over a tradition engine, right? Whilst it’s true that on the first time using the site it will take a little while to load on a slow connection, repeat visits will be significantly faster and surprisingly the graphics actually help you to navigate your search results quite nicely.

Type in ‘Cheap cartridges in Devon’ into Kartoo and it comes up with a list of possible results all floating on the screen in little balloons and a list of keywords associated with the sites that have been returned focused towards the centre of the page. If you now put your mouse cursor over one of the balloons representing the site you want to go to then the search engine will join together the balloon and all the keywords from the centre of the screen that are associated with that site.

Vice Versa, on that particular search that we just did one of the keywords placed in the centre of the screen was the word ‘canon’ so if you float your mouse over this word then the site will join this word with the balloons of websites using this particular keyword. All of the balloons can be clicked on to open up that particular site or if you click on the top of the balloon then you can search from within that site, search for related sites and so on.

A list of other related searches that you may wish to try is listed down the left hand side of the screen as well as a list of top sites and sponsored links. There is an expert version which offers you greater control over how the results are displayed on your screen as well as more advanced searching options and the ability to save the searches that you’ve performed.

Basically, I recommend that you head to www.kartoo.com and give it a try as it is fairly difficult for me to explain how a graphical interface looks without the aid of pictures; you may hate it, you may love it but at least give it a try.