Top Visual Search Engines: The Most Interesting Ways To Visually Explore Search Engine Results
If you are looking into innovative ways to browse and explore search engine results, visual search engines may provide exactly what you have been looking for. Instead of long lists of page titles and URLs, visual search engines deliver visually rich maps of content results, often utilizing also size, color and positioning to communicate at a glance a greater array of information about the items found.
Photo credit: lhfgraphic
Visual search engines are generally web-based tools just like Google and they require no extra software or plugin to be installed. You can just type a keyword and start diving inside their visual result pages: select a visualization type, re-arrange your results, sort them by date, relevance, or by other possible parameters.
Within the set of visual search engines available out there, there are some that allow you to search standard Web-based content as well as others capable of retrieving also network contacts, similar sites, videos, images, podcasts, and much more.
To explore and give a try these eye-striking visual search engines you need to look no further as I have taken the time to search, check and pull together a guide that includes all of the visual search engines out there.
As always, I have also done some extra homework to identify some basic comparison criteria to help you select the visual search engine that could best match your needs:
- Technology Type: Software or web-based.
- Visualization types: Dynamic map, stacks, list, tag clouds, etc.
- Content Sources: Web, Wikipedia, videos, images, Amazon Books, Twitter, etc.
- Search options: Sort by date, exclude keywords, search inside domain, RSS, etc.
Here all of the best visual search engines and what I have discovered about each one:
Top Visual Search Engines Comparison Table
Top Visual Search Engines
Grokker is a web-based search engine that allows you to explore your results in a visual fashion. Your results are displayed both in a standard outline and in a dynamic map you can interact with. Grokker takes advantage of Yahoo!, Wikipedia, and Amazon Books search engines to perform its queries. Results can be sorted by date, source, domain and refined selecting (or excluding) specific related keywords. Grokker is also available as a software for enterprise use.
KartOO is a web-based visual search engine that can search the Web, images, videos and Wikipedia entries. Using Google, and Yahoo! search engines KartOO allows you to create a visual map where related results are linked between them. You can save and print your map, filter results using a parental filter, and filter your SERPs by language.
Viewzi is a powerful visual search engine that provides many different possibilities to display your results. Using Yahoo!, Google and Viddler, you can search the Web, images and videos. SERPs can be arranged in stacks, along a Google timeline, for individual site information, using simple text, showing a photo tag cloud, and more. Results can be also customized as you can star or hide sites you care / don't care about. A parental filter is also available.
Searchme is a web-based search engine that allows you to explore SERPs in a visual fashion. Searchme displays results in a dynamic carousel stack you can navigate back and forth. Searches are performed in multiple categories like videos, images, advertising, shopping, sport,, entertainment, news, and more. Other features include a parental filter, the possibility to play media right inside Searchme, and the sharing of your results via Twitter.
Quintura is a web-based search engine that allows you to explore results visually. Quintura can search the Web, images and Blinkx. Results are displayed in a customizable tag cloud, and a classic organic outline. The tag cloud with your results can be also embedded and shared with others via e-mail.
Ujiko is a visual search engine you can use to display and explore your search results visually. Completely web-based, Ujiko allows you to scout the Web and arrange your results in a radial outline. Available in English, German and French.
Search-cube is a search engine that instead displaying your results in a classic organic style, creates a 3D cube made up of visual previews. Web-based and very easy to use, Search-cube allows you to search for sites, images, and videos.
Middlespot is a visual search engine that lets you explore the results of your searches in a visual fashion. Sources available for search are: Web, Images, News, Amazon and Twitter. Middlespots allows you to create as many workpads as the search terms you want to explore. Results will be displayed inside a gallery where you can zoom and re-arrange elements.
oSkope is a visual search engine. Using oSkope you can visually display and explore search results for specific keywords right inside your browser window. Results from Amazon, eBay, Flickr, Fotolia, Yahoo! and YouTube can be explored in different visualizations styles like: grid, stack, pile, graph and list.
Nexplore allows you to browse your search results in a visual fashion. Nexplore performs searches on the Web, news, videos, images, blogs and podcasts. The web-based service shows also related Wikipedia definitions for your searched keywords. Results can be displayed in three ways: summary, line, gallery, and can be shared on the Internet.
eyePlorer is not a proper visual search engine, because you cannot search for any words or phrase you like. The service rather provides you with a visual representation for common, popular facts and suggest connections with other related facts and sources. All results displayed inside a colored wheel can be arranged onto a virtual notepad for later reading and sorted for relevance.
Ziipa is a web-based visual search engine for Web 2.0 web designs and applications. Unlike other competitors in this field, Ziipa does not search images, videos, or other media content. Results are showed by a gallery and a tag cloud and can be shared and syndicated via RSS.
RedZee is a visual search engine that shows search results in a visual fashion, displaying a carousel you can navigate back and forth right inside your browser window. No media content can be searched via RedZee.
14. Liveplasma ***DEAD
Liveplasma is a visual search engine to explore music and movies. By searching for a keyword related to these two topics, the service will suggest other potential related interests and arrange them in bubbles, linked between them. All without leaving your browser. You can also refine your map by searching for specific topics like directors, actors, or a particular discography. The map with your results can also be shared on the Web.
15. TouchGraph Google Browser
TouchGraph Google Browser is a visual search engine that displays the connections between web sites using Google technology and visualizing the results in an interactive and customizable map. Results can be filtered and re-arranged around the map. You need to have at least Java 1.5 installed on your machine for TouchGraph Google Browser to work.
Cooliris is a browser extension for Firefox (all platforms), IE (Windows), and Safari (Mac and Windows) that allows you to explore SERPs in a visual fashion. Once started, Cooliris goes fullscreen creating a dynamic 3D wall you can navigate back and forth. You can search for different content among the Web, news, blogs, images, and videos. Results can also be enlarged, shared via e-mail and, being media, played right inside the application.
Robin Good -
Originally prepared by Robin Good and Daniele Bazzano for MasterNewMedia, and first published on April 20th, 2009 as "Top Visual Search Engines: The Most Interesting Ways To Visually Explore Search Engine Results".
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