Sunday, February 15, 2004

A new meta-search engine.

I stumbled on brightbutton.com by following a link with the title, ferrari, from eurekster's popular sites page as I mentioned in my previous post below. I checked out brightbutton and was initially pleasantly surprised. It is a meta-search engine that portends to have some intelligence on top of it. This is from their about page:

This is what BrightButton.com does when you make a query:

» We search all major search engines
» we combine, weigh and filter the results
» then we extract the best links
...all in a split second.

Its about time a meta-search engine tried to do something besides present different search engine's results in a tabbed interface or ordered list. Meta-search engines that "COMBINE" results are long over due. There aren't many details about how it weigha and filters, but the few searches I did, the results at the top were quite appropriate. In fact, they were pretty much what google offers. The only searche engines it appears to search are google, yahoo, aol search and msn. Since the first three all serve google's results, it is understandable why the results look just like google's.

I imagine this is to be expected. I can't imagine why multiple search engine companies would allow their index open to a meta-search engine that wouldn't retain the original company's brand. A meta-engine that really searched the major engines' indexes, weighed, filtered and re-ranked them would be superior to the original.

This seems pretty unfortunate to me. And a disadvantage to the consumer. It could be used to make a case against vertical integration among search engine companies and search engine technology companies. A case could be made that web crawling (ala grub) should be a separate business from alogirithmic result analysis and display (ala eurekster). This way, the crawling/indexing companies (commodity) could focus on improving performance of the crawling and the algorithmic engine could leverage this and experiment with improving the algorithmic result analysis and display. A search engine could even allow the user to choose the algorithm or feed parameter values to the algorithm which would change the results.

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