A Clustered Search for Kids

Why shouldn’t kids get clusters with their own search engines? They’re useful navigation aids, and can help teach vocabulary and concepts. Quintura for Kids, at has a useful tag cloud feature. Unfortunately it lacks content.

When I first got to the search engine I tried to do a search for my usual strawberry shortcake. (It’s a good search to do on niche engines to see the spectrum of results you get.) I got no results. So I backed up and tried Strawberry. I still didn’t get any results. So I backed up still further and tried my standby search, cow.

The results screen shows a cluster cloud above the search results, with Web search results below. There were only 12 Web results. the results page says it’s based on Yahoo Kids, but running a search for cow over there gets over 2500 results, so I don’t know what “based on” means in this case. Anyway, you can hold your mouse over an item in the cluster to get another set of clusters based on that term and to add the term to your search. You can also remove words from the cluster and get it to change slightly. The clusters looked good for the terms I tested, specific enough to help the search but not too complicated/specific for a kid.

The cloud reacts to the mouse very quickly and the search results pop right up — but there’s just not a lot here. Narrowing down the “cow” search with the extra term “belted galloway” (supplied by the cluster cloud) gave me just two Web results. I think the technology’s great, but I’d really love to see it applied to a larger pool of data!

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