Okay, this wins my award as “most specialized search engine” so far this year. SlideFinder, at http://www.slidefinder.net/, helps you find PowerPoint presentations on the Web.
You can do a simple keyword search or try out the advanced search that allows you to search by both presentation detail or by slide (cool!). I did a simple keyword search for social media.
Yow! I got 1000 results. Search results are presented in a grid with a thumbnail of a presentation slide, a link for download, and the domain from which the presentation comes. Click on the thumbnail and you’ll get the all the slides of the presentation (sometimes spread over multiple pages). Hold your mouse over a slide for a larger version in a popup window. On the right nav of a presentation’s page are links to embed it as well as links to similar presentations (though those are not always available.)
This is mostly a search engine, but you can also browse presentations available at universities via http://www.slidefinder.net/University. The front page also allows you to browse the presentations by language, sort of. According to the site, there are 23,596 presentations available in Spanish and 621 available in Hindi. It LOOKS like the search engine is just finding presentations based on the country code of the presentation’s URL; most of the “Hindi” presentations I saw were actually in English.
This is a terrific idea, well executed! I love the advanced search options and the wide variety of results I got. Two additional features would make it almost perfect: RSS feeds for results (aw, c’mon Slideshare!) and more date information for the presentations (some
of this material will not get old, but a lot of it — especially the Internet stuff — will.) I thought that most people doing slide presentations put dates on the front or ending pages, but apparently I was wrong…