New search tools and personal agents
From within any document, application, or web page this new breed of FREE search tools can provide you with a fast response to your research needs.
Nano (MasterMind Review)
= worth knowing
A contextual-search tool that is a good indication of the future convergence of search and e-commerce.
ThirdVoice (MasterMind Review)
= worth knowing
A contextual-search browser add-on that integrates site-specific discussion facilities.
Flyswat (MasterMind Review)
= interesting, promising
A contextual-search browser add-on for general reference, and e-commerce.
Gurunet (MasterMind Review)
= must have
A contextual search tool that provides fast reference, translation, and searches.
Gossip (MasterMind Review)
= interesting, promising
A futuristic interface that showcases agents and bots searching for us. Good example of asynchronous search tool (I can search while I am not online, and later it will report back to me).
Copernic 2000 (MasterMind Review)
= must have
The only PC and Mac search tool reviewed in this issue, it is a powerful off-line meta-search tool suporting many interesting and useful features. Free (with ads).
Zapper (MasterMind Review)
= breakthrough tool
The most interesting and promising tool of the whole bunch.
It delivers a number of innovative and useful features, such as the ability to share search collections, to load specific "search libraries", and to create customized meta-search engines of your liking which will query the specific set of sites you want.
These advanced digital desktop tools allow search, cross-reference, translation, and web spidering according to your specific rules and needs. Plus, no more need to go to Yahoo or AltaVista.
This new generation of search engines tries to prevent an overload of trivial information. Search tools are important to trainers, communication managers, and ICT professionals because they can:
* Search for information in a much faster, and more systematic way to get relevant results.
* Provide other knowledge management facilities such as indexing, archiving, sharing, categorizing, rating, linking, etc.
* Enhance the combined pool of search engines capabilities.
* Work in and search for very specific knowledge areas.
* Filter out the type of information not needed automatically and precisely.
* Aggregate disparate sources of info.
Compared to traditional search engines and directories as Yahoo, Excite, Infoseek, or AltaVista they offer:
1) More relevant results.
2) Immediacy of action - always available.
3) Usability enhancement - easier and faster to use.
4) Integrated knowledge management functions such as translation/dictionary.
5) Minimal use of hard drive space.
6) The ability to use them to build a personal knowledge base.
7) The option to customize the behavior of a tool and the sources it uses.
8) The function to share customized tool or results obtained with it.
Trends we have noticed:
4) New Tools
Within the search tools, text is utilized so as to understand what the term refers to.
All of the new search tools are making a significant use of the "context", that is the content surrounding the specific word pointed to with the mouse. Some use an indefinite amount (ThirdVoice), others read always the whole page (Nano), others can be customized by the user (Zapper).
2) Search Engine Aggregation
All of these tools do heavily leverage results collected by tapping ALSO in all or most of the major search engines all while filtering and combining their results in one way or another.
3) On-Line Shopping
A connection to e-commerce and shopping. Many tools are now making the connection between your search and where you can go to buy the product you are seeking on-line. This can be helpful or not, depending on which browser you use.
5) Integration of Search and Application
New search tools that integrate themselves within our electronic work fabric, and through them other content-related activities have become connected into our daily editing and research core processes, while they once required a separate activity. With these tools at hand, we do not need to go to a separate Web site or open another application, as these search tools are always instantly available within the application context used.
Custom Aggregation - meta searching - the utilizing of small content sources that gives the user new breeds of tools to precisely specify which content sources to tap into, including specific web sites and vertical search engines.
Functions such as automatic delivery and notification alerts. Many tools can perform searches unattended, even over long periods of time and faithfully report afterwards on their findings. The user is not even required to log on to the web with a browser and results can come through email or through a specialized application.
8) Peer to Peer or P2P
Sharing resources and tools - Like the Napster software that has made the headlines of many tech news reports, our future may likely contain very similar approaches.
As we saw with Zapper, users can share their information among friends using the Share option. And now on the Internet users can open selected parts of their hard disks to be accessed by others on the net, creating a truly infinite and synergistic web of information. This will in turn offer greater opportunities for content mediators and brokers, as well as intellectual properties. Know-how, content, ideas, and writings will gain steadily in value on the open market.
9) Technical conflict issues
The arrival of these new thorough search tools has led to the problem of such programs co-existing peacefully together within your browser toolbar or system tray.
Though we have not had major crashes, we have encountered a number of conflicts especially when running ThirdVoice together with other search tools. You may want to beware about running more than two or three search tools together.
10) Multiple Search Tools
No single tool is a solution for all research needs.
My recommendation is to choose a set of two or three search tools that can give you the most effective results for your own specific type of activity.
My personal recipe:
Gurunet + Zapper + Google + Copernic.
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