I was going to write a series of posts describing each essay in the current Cites & Insights, and still plan to do so.
People who care deeply about open web search engines spend a lot of time figuring out which engine is better for which purposes. For most users, though–at least the minority who appear to be aware that Google’s not the only game in town–the look and feel of a site may be as important as the apparent results.
Blind Search takes that away, at least for three major open web search engines. You type in a search. You get back the first 10 results for each of three search engines, displayed in three parallel columns. You click on one of three “vote for this search engine” buttons, based on the column of results that seem to match your query best.
Then, and only then, Blind Search shows you the engine used for each column.
I try to rotate searches to some extent. My FireFox search box includes several major engines along with some specialized tools (WorldCat.org, IMDB, Citizendium, that other web encyclopedia). But, yeah, I probably use Google more than the others…
So this morning I tried some searches at Blind Search. An ego search (oh, come on, you don’t do ego searches?). A semi-ego search, “Cites & Insights.”
While the results were similar (as you’d expect), the same engine seemed to yield the best spread of first-ten results in both cases.
I just now tried it on ScienceBlogs. The same engine seemed to yield a slightly better set of results than the other two (a small difference).
A silly search (memory of water). Hmm. One engine was just a little better.
By now, you’ve probably guessed the engine that came out “best” in the first few tests–and it certainly isn’t what I’d expect.
Maybe bing is on to something.
(Or maybe not. The more searches I try, the more diffuse the results. Still…)