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A friend pointed me to a new web search engine today called Searchme, it offers a new way to visually search the web. Located at www.searchme.com, it is currently in a closed beta. The site will display web search results as a visual snapshot of the site or sites in which it found what you are looking for. The results can be viewed in a Cover Flow fashion just like in Mac OS X Leopard. The results will also have active links that you click which then loads the website link you selected from the visual search results. This new idea for displaying search results has a number of amazing possibilities for displaying video, pictures, and really, any other sort of media.
Searchme however does not stop there, it actually offers two ways to search the web. The most obvious is the Cover Flow style where web search results are displayed as web page snapshots. You flip through the results with the mouse or by using the slider at the bottom of the page. The slider makes paging through the results very fast and efficient. Unfortunately, search terms are highlighted in bold black which is difficult to see. I'm hoping that they will change it to something brighter, like yellow, so the terms can be seen better.
The other feature Searchme offers is category suggestions where you focus your search to a specific topic and the results are filtered to that topic. This is accomplished by typing, for example, "maclife iphone 3g." The Searchme site suggests categories to filter on by providing new icons to the right of the search criteria field labels as music, mobile phones, computer and videos games or all. This feature is especially useful for quick and dirty filtered searching. I was really impressed. It changes on the fly based on the terms you are searching for.
Currently Searchme's index is not up to par with the likes of Google or Yahoo, but it's growing. The way the search results are presented is very pleasing. I like it and plan to begin to use and test it as much as possible.
David Martin is a writer and consultant in the Houston Bay Area.