Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, October 3, 2004

Expert Search - Made Easy With Soople

It's not that often that you can come across a tool that is a) simple to use, b) cleverly designed and c) does something really useful. Soople is such a tool. It's an interface to the more powerful Search features that lie behind the beautifully minimalist front door to Google.

Soople, according to its designer and developer, Floris Rost van Tonningen, is an early English dialect, which means 'to soften, make supple'.

"That's exactly what I envisioned for this site ; a site that softens all the fantastic (advanced) functions Google offers. Initially I made this site for my mother, who, though computer-savvy, still didn't know about all the possibilities Google offers. This site is therefore meant for all those who are not yet familiar with all the functions and required syntaxes. This way Soople enables an 'easy expert search'!"

The interface is clean and simple - divided into 13 different search areas. At the top of the page, there are four buttons on a toolbar, which let you access:

  • a really powerful Calculator with ten advanced calculation features

  • a Translator that lets you translate a text item, or an entire webpage

  • Phone & Location, which allows you to look up names (companies and individuals) in various directories (US-based), identify the originating address behind a specific phone number, as well as identify the origin of area codes (again US)

  • Superfilter, which allows you to carry out a search using a number of Google's advanced features all at the same time.

The main page's 13 functional areas comprise:
1. A standard Google searchbox, with an additional feature allowing you to search by a specific country
2. Search in multiple sites at once
3. Filter Search by file type i.e. MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint or .PDF
4. Definitions - lets you find definitions of particular words (e.g. define:RSS)
5. Search in a specific language, or sites from a particular country
6. Search for sites that relate to a particular site
7. Search for stocks in 5 finance sites
8. Search within one site, or domain
9. Specific image search
10. Search in latest news (Google News)
11. Search by number (e.g. UPS or Fedex tracking, patent, airplane)
12. Search for moview reviews
13. Look who's linking to your site (or indeed any site)

Each search function has a very helpful 'explain' link, which does exactly that. Recommended.

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posted by on Sunday, October 3 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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