Thursday, October 26, 2006

Search engines are feminine

Search engines are usually boring. These days search engines take different shapes from the predators. When search engines of Dialog and SDC were developed in the beginning of the seventies, you have to put a search term after the prompt. And as searching was a matter of the taximeter, you preferably put more than one term after the prompt. In this way you would find the documents faster than with one term and of course pay less.

When internet came around search engines were not the most logical services. Christine Maxwell started the cybernaut service Magelhaen with links; but every link had to be confirmed by hand. By the time Google came around it took the world. Yet it was one of the many search engines, so meta search engines came into existence, combining the best of the engines into one service like Copernic.

Yet all these search engines and meta engines do not have an attractive interface. Google just has a small box. Copernic has a set of indicators to keep you busy while the engine is searching. It is all textual and rudimentary, but not very attractive.

But now you should try the (meta) search engine of Ms Dewey. It can not be accidental that she is called Dewey. In library environment Dewey was an ordering system for books, starting with 1 for theology. A real dull, but effective method to make books to be found in libraries. But Ms Dewey is not a grey library mouse. She is an assertive young lady inviting you to search and commenting on your search criteria (did your dog type this?).

When you have entered the URL the service will start to load and Ms Dewey pushes the bar to the right. The introduction changes every time you enter the site. After a while you might have seen the variations and skip the intros. But they are funny.

Ms Dewey will invite you to type a term and if you do not do it fast enough, she will start urging you. Of course I started with my usual serch routine: type my name and type the name of the blog. On the right hand you see references coming up, which you can link to. However you do not know how many references are there. However it looks like they are de-duplicated and are put together by item. I discovered references which I had never seen yet.

But when you start thinking, Ms Dewey will urgently invite you to type something here, while she points to the query box. And if you are not fast enough she will start seductively urging you. If it takes too long she will knock on the glass of your screen, asking whether there is someone.

After a while you find her sympathetic and might start typing nice comments like charming. She might comment just ad random. When I typed bitch she just went into the routine of pressing to type words: keep asking question; the more questions you ask, the more I know and soon I will rule the world! Just a coincidence. But she is funny at time.

The interface to this meta search engine is a visual one and very enjoyable. Of course after a while you have had it with her as she starts to go into repetitive loops. But as an interface it is very innovative; as a meta search engine you do not get the feeling that it is reliable. I guess we should keep feeding Ms Dewey with questions. She is absolutely hilarious.

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Blog Posting Number: 548

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