Search engine company Vivisimo have launched the beta of their new Clusty search engine, and it’s open to the public to try out.
Clusty’s main selling point is that it clusters results into separate categories, hopefully making it easier for users to sift through searches that return hundreds, or hundreds of thousands, of results. For example, a search run today for Kubrick returned 182 initial results – but Clusty split those for me into ten categories, including Film-maker, Space Odyssey and DVD. More categories were available if I wanted them, and could be applied to the entire 200,000+ results returned.
Vivisimo have gone for the current fashion of a simple, uncluttered search page, though there is something about it that says “Ask Jeeves” to me. The search box itself has a a row of tabs across the top, allowing users to search for different formats of information, including News, Images, Shopping and, a new one, Gossip.
As search engine catalogues get bigger and, inevitably, more the same, the big brand search engines need to provide a unique benefit or reason for people to stay loyal. Hence the recent introduction of new features such thumbnail views of web pages, multimedia searching and new ways of navigating the millions of results returned. Whilst Clusty acquires its search results themselves from a number of other engines, Vivisimo’s clustering technology is proprietary and is fully automated – no maintenance is required and the company claims that it can cluster any type of textual information with little or no customisation.
The clustering feature is interesting – but is it really enough to distinguish it from Google? And without patenting the concept, what’s to stop Google from developing its own clustering technology and staying out in front? Or just licensing it? However, Raul Valdes-Perez, CEO of Vivisimo is sure it’s enough to win them new fans.
“The success of today’s search technology has left users awash in information,” he said, “The net result is that users cannot or will not wade through all of the options a search engine offers up. The fast and friendly Clusty.com puts users back in control and ensures that they truly know the full extent of resources that are available to them in the vast online world. Clusty also helps them zero in on what they were looking for and, often, leads them to discover new things along the way.”