I just discovered Quintura, a new visual search engine interface (found via Robert Scoble’s blog). On the surface, it looks similar to Grokker or KartOO (two other better-known visual search engines).
You can play with Quintura’s online demo, but the real deal is downloading their Quintura Search product. It offers a visual map of searches done using an impressive number of search engines, including Google, Amazon, Ask, MSN search, etc.
The biggest downside for me? Sorta silly, really… but I got extremely excited in a geekd-out way when I read their “What is Quintura” description. Why? Because they mentioned LIBRARIES. Here’s what they said:
“Have you ever raked through the paper card index of a big library? You have to find the necessary letter (or their combination), take the correct drawer, and start sorting through the cards. Ring any bells?” (ok – they obviously haven’t been in a library for at least 10 years – I’d be surprised if most of their customers have seen a CARD catalog. But oh well…).
Then they go on… “But on the web, what do you do? You are on your own. Until now. Quintura is the very know-all librarian!” (ahem… Yikes!).
Then, they have an imagined conversation with a “favorite search engine,” which I think is supposed to be the search engine you usually use (ie., Google, Yahoo, etc.). And the conversation is about finding … books on physics. Hmm…
OK – besides not having stepped into a library in awhile, they also don’t get that Google, Yahoo, etc. can’t REALLY find books in your library. Or maybe this thing was written by those college students who actually think you CAN find books in a local library using a search engine.
Anyway… I was really hoping, with all this library/search engines comparison text, that the search software I downloaded would interface with, say, MY LIBRARY’S CATALOG. Now, that’d be really cool. But no luck – it only gives me that list of search engines I mentioned earlier.
Hopefully, they’ll create a version of their product that can interface with localized search engines, OPACs, etc. here’s hoping!