Kumo isn’t coming out until this week, so let’s take a look at something else, shall we? A new search engine in beta provides search results from Yahoo with a cloud of related words. It’s not clustered searching, it’s more like auto-generated tag searching. Hulbee’s at http://hulbee.com/.
Hulbee’s front page actually starts out with a cloud of search words — everything from shopping to soccer to cars to loans. You can either click on a term here or use the regular search box at the top of the page.
I did a search for Hawaii. Hulbee did pretty good, with the Hawaii visitors’ bureau and the Wikipedia article in the top ten out of the 31 million results. As you’ll see at the bottom of the page, the results here are “Powered by Yahoo XML.” On the right side of the results page, where you’d normally see sponsored text ads, there’s one text ad under the header “More information”. That makes me a little uncomfortable; are these sponsored text ads or not?
On the left side of the page there’s the tag cloud. This cloud extracts terms from the current page of search results, I think. (The cloud changes as you page through the search results.) This is neat: as you move your mouse over a term, that term “lights up” — becomes highlighted — on the list of search results.
Click on a term in the cloud to add it to your search and the search results page will refresh along with a new cloud. I found this an interesting, if a little slow, way to narrow down my search results.
I can see where this would be a useful way to both learn about keywords associated with a particular search term and narrow down search results when you don’t know too much about your topic. There’s only one thing I would ask of Hulbee — that it gets rid of the “stop words” in its tag cloud. You know, words like “click” and “home” and “contact” and “site”. These words are too generic to Web sites to add much to a search. Get rid of “tag cloud stop words” and there will be more room for useful, informative additions to the cloud.