Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, June 30, 2002

New visual meta-search clustering engine with innovative visual interface (Flash based)

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Online Search Engine

Kartoo is a very interesting new clustering meta-search engine with a strong visual interface. French-born and alive since 2001, Kartoo bases its search interface around the capabilities of Flash technology.

I have been impressed by this meta-search engine which opens a whole new way for me to look at search results. Like (, WebBrain ( and the WebMap ( it offers a new visual approach to make sense of these large quantities of information.

Visual searching is often more intuitive, interesting and enjoyable to work with than traditional based text search engines. What is significant about Kartoo in this respect is that this technology provides a map that summarizes all the various and possible topics so that retrieved sites are in fact grouped into a form of topical "family".

A list, i. e., a linear classification of search results, could not represent all the applications connected to a word like "nuclear" for example, and above all, a list could not display the links existing between the applications.

All of the sites found after a search are displayed in a visual grid in which more relevant sites have larger and more prominent icons. By hovering with your mouse on each of the visual icons, content from the selected web site is displayed on the top left area of your screen.

Keywords interconnect results web sites showing semantic relationships and representative keywords relative to each.

Kartoo queries many different search engines including Google, Altavista, Alltheweb, Hotbot, Lycos, Yahoo, Dmoz and many others. It is possible to individually select which of the above search engines and directories are utilized by Kartoo during its searches.

The interface is highly customizable from a visual standpoint and it can also be set to work in several languages.

Kartoo can be used as a great content management and search tool, and it allows to easily identify different typologies of documents and contents in a very immediate way. See an example at:

Kartoo is available in English, French, Portuguese and Brazilian versions. Kartoo offers also the option of being accessed through a standard HTML (no Flash) based interface. Try it at:

Among other quite unique and interesting features found in this search engine are:

a) The possibility of sending anyone a results search map via a simple e-mail form.

b) Simplified use of the advanced search functions (search in a title, a URL, by domain, date, etc...)

c) Total visualization of the fields of search thanks to the representation of the related sets of themes

d) Natural language queries can be typed in the search box as long as a question mark <?> is placed at the end.

e) *Kartoo Perso*
It is possible to integrate a Kartoo-powered search box on your web site for free and also to customize the look of the search results page displayed (mostly in terms of colors and icons utilized).

More information about Kartoo Perso can be found at: produits.php?d=sitebox&p=intro

By integrating Kartoo on your web site, utilizing a top frame where you could keep your web site identity and main navigation, you would certainly be providing:

1) quality customer service to your clients,

2) innovative and unique search engine facilities,

3) a new way to browse through your content catalogue or inventory list in a more effective way.

4) an impressive and prestigious feature with certainly some positive viral marketing effects (other people will tell their friends)

f) Find similar sites
You may sometimes find on the map a site that perfectly matches your search. When you click on the "sites" menu in the top left-hand corner of your screen, a list of similar sites appears. Once you have located a perfect site within the list, click on the command that is on the left of the site address.

Kartoo will then look for all the sites that are similar to the one you have selected. For example, if you apply this function to the site:, you would be given all the sites similar to MasterMind.

g) Filter the results
Maps may contain "parasite sites", i. e. sites that have nothing whatsoever to do with your query. To remove them, place the pointer over the common topic and click on the "-" button that appears.

*Downloadable version soon to come*
Is it possible to download Kartoo? You will be able to do so shortly as the company will be offering a more powerful version of Kartoo which can be installed on your computer and will thus enable you to obtain faster access to your searches.

I have found Kartoo impressive, useful, and innovative enough to recommend a visit to it to many of my acquaintances.

Market research interestingly reveals that experienced Internet users, when exposed to visual search, have an extremely positive response and would refer the site to their friends at a rate substantially above average(!).

Highly recommended!

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posted by Robin Good on Sunday, June 30 2002, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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