I know everybody’s talking about Web 2.0, but that’s not the aspect of searching that’s been grabbing my attention lately. The thing that’s been interesting me is what I’ll call, for lack of a better term, results presentation. Results presentation is what the search engine does with the result list and what it allows you to do with the result list.
A search engine like Google is old school; you get the list and that’s it. On the other hand you have search engines which give you page thumbnails, or open the page itself in a small frame, or even allow you to share the results you find with other people. I find that intriguing as engines spend more and more time with what can be done with results in addition to the algorithms that generate the results. Which brings me to Molu the Search Spider.
Molu, at http://www.themolu.com/ , is a search engine that’s currently in alpha and has some Issues. It’s not a search engine I would use on a daily basis because of the issues. On the other hand, the results presentation was interesting enough that I wanted to talk about it and I’ll probably come back and experiment with it a bit.
But let’s talk about the Issues first. Issue first is that I couldn’t get it to work in Firefox. Works fine in Opera, didn’t test it in IE. Second thing is that I don’t know what’s being indexed. If I had to guess it’d be DMOZ or something like that. Third thing, sometimes the search would be a little wonky.
From the front page you can do a search and get suggestions for your search or spelling suggestions for your search. The spelling suggestion worked well, correcting everything I threw at it. There’s also a search suggestions offering and a recent search tag cloud (which was HUGE and hard to navigate around.)
I did a search for spider. There’s no result count (annoying) but each search result offers several options. You can drop down a page frame of each result (or fold it up again when you’re done with it). Search results sometimes have page previews available. Each result is Diggable, and at the bottom of the search results you have the option to extract all the links on the page. A nice touch.
Sometimes I’ll cover a resource not because of what it is but because of what it’s doing and what it makes me think about. Molu didn’t work in Firefox, didn’t give me a search result count, and I can’t tell what it’s spidering. But the way the results are being handled hints at more possibilities. How else can we share results besides Digging them? Could the extracted links be put into an RSS feed, or could links be extracted from each search result’s pages?