The Search Lounge

12/14/2004

The Search Lounge has moved to Searchlounge.org

I am very excited to announce that the Search Lounge has moved to its new and permanent home: http://searchlounge.org. Please stop by and visit, though I will be making aesthetic and technical changes, so please bare with me.

Be sure and stop by soon because the Lounge is featuring an exclusive interview with Chris Broekhoff, Director of Content for FindArticles.

And lastly, please update any RSS subscriptions you may have and point them to the following URL:
http://searchlounge.org/wp-rss2.php

Thanks and I look forward to any feedback,
Chris.

12/08/2004

Blingo

Blingo

--This “review” is my way of helping Search Lounge readers win free prizes. The review is definitely on the light side. Good luck. In fact, don’t even read this review, just go to Blingo and win yourself a prize--

Type of engine: Sweepstakes, oh and general web search.
Overall: Put it this way: it’s all about winning the prizes. It’s not that the search is bad, but the results are directly from Gigablast so I don’t know that it’s worthwhile rating Blingo’s relevancy. As far as I could tell there’s no difference at all from the Gigablast results.

SUMMARY
Relevancy of results:
Same as Gigablast, and I need to do a review of them.
Features and functionality: Average. There’s not much to it other than a search box and pictures of the prizes you can win.
Quality of help and “about us” pages: The “about us” pages are all about winning prizes. I couldn’t find anything search related.
Business model: Lure users in with free prizes, and then show them Google ads.

INTRO
Blingo just released a press release today so I thought I’d be right on top of things by doing a brief review for the Lounge. Blingo uses Gigablast’s results so I won’t spend too much time evaluating the relevancy. That’s best left to a Gigablast review.

The prizes are a one year Netflix subscription, a digital camera, a digital video recorder, an iPod, a $250 Amazon gift certificate, movie passes, and a Sony music gift certificate. Just go to their site, start searching, and hope you’re one of the random winners. (I hope I win an iPod.)

UI & FEATURES
No registration is required unless you win something. So you can just go to Blingo and search. That’s different, if I remember correctly, from iWon, where you had to register. They provide “see also” links that are taken from Gigablast and formatted differently. And there’s a “did you mean” suggestion taken directly from Gigablast.

QUERY EXAMPLES
I searched for Oakland public library and there were four Google ads that went more than halfway down the page. I tried coniferous trees of North America and got the same thing. And both of those queries are non-commercial in my book. But it’s not exactly surprising for a site like this. I should say that the results for both of these queries were good enough that it’s not a waste of time to search on Blingo.

CONCLUSION
If you like Gigablast, you might as well use Blingo. Same results, and you can win prizes. So stop reading this and go win a prize.

12/06/2004

Icerocket - Interview with CEO Blake Rhodes

The Search Lounge is pleased to feature an exclusive interview with Blake Rhodes, CEO of Icerocket. Icerocket is a new search engine from Dallas, Texas that has the unique goal of being responsive to users. Blake maintains a useful blog about the engine To understand his philosophy, this is a good post to read: http://blog.icerocket.com/node/view/14. He writes, "When people write me with suggestions, what do I do? I LISTEN to them!! Without our users, we are nothing. As you can see, we have made several changes to the site based on the emails we have received." True to his creed, Blake was responsive to my request for an interview.

Icerocket offers the following tabs for searching: Web, Blogs, News, Phone Pics, Images, and Find A Friend. For web results, the "archive" link takes you to results from the Wayback Machine and that's always a good thing in my book.

For a search company that's the equivalent of a newborn baby, I like what they're doing and hope to see them grow.

This interview was conducted via email on December 6, 2004 by Chris Fillius.

Blake, thanks for joining us at the Search Lounge. I know your blog was started in September, but how long has Icerocket been live?
We have been live about 6 months.

Can you tell us about any features or improvements to relevancy that are being worked on right now?
Features we are working on: RSS builder, we launched this about 10 days ago, it's a free tool and we will be adding to it. We are working on several things right now, but I can't really talk about them.

For the web searching tab, does Icerocket pull results directly from Alexa?
We actually don’t pull Alexa's results, just the thumbnail images and the traffic numbers. We crawl and index a lot of it ourselves.

Any plans for Icerocket to crawl and index for web search?
Nothing is out of the question. [editor's note: an interesting teaser.]

Currently, you are using your blog in lieu of help pages for searchers. Do you plan to develop help pages or will you continue on as it is? I find the blog to be very useful, but I took the time to look around Icerocket, whereas the first place many users will look for help is in a help section.
Yes we will have help pages in all sections soon.

IceSpy provides good insight into what users are searching for on Icerocket. Do you analyze user queries? And if so, how does that influence you?
No not really, it's kind of fun to see what others are looking for, but that’s about it.

Lastly, what’s your favorite drink?
Coke.

Thank you for your time Blake.

12/02/2004

Wondir Land- on Live Q&A and the Social Web

The Search Lounge got a nice mention on Wondir's blog:

Wondir Land- on Live Q&A and the Social Web
http://wondir.blogspot.com/2004/11/search-lounge.html

"Wondir gets an in-depth review from Stingo. Although the review is mixed, it's very helpful to get this much point for point feedback. All in all, judging Wondir from a "quality of results" p.o.v. may be unfair this early in the game, given that unlike search engines, we don't have the critical mass of online users/answerers or searchable content (in the form of previous asked questions with answers) to really show off what Wondir can do. But if/when we have thousands of questioners and answerers online at any given time, and tens of millions of previous asked questions with answers to search, then I think the same reviewer would have quite a different experience (even if our UI and technology stayed exactly the same). Either way, really appreciate people taking the time to look into Wondir in this much depth. I'll be sure to save Stingo's review."

I'm glad the review was useful to the folks over at Wondir. I agree completely with Allen that with more users will come more answers. And with more answers will come more good answers (as well as some bad ones, but that's part of the fun...)