Wednesday, October 01, 2003
And Now, for Something Completely Different... 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
I've been a die-hard Googler since the late, vaunted InFind search engine kicked the bucket a few years back - but if you're looking for something a little different in search engines, try this - KartOO, a "visual meta-search engine" with a "3D mapping interface."

At first glance it looks more like a video game than a search engine, with its bouncy genie mascot and colorful interface. But, if like me, you're a 'visual thinker,' KartOO is fun way to see the relationships between search results, easily add or subtract search terms, altering the resulting maps.

It takes a moment to get used to what you're seeing (and do tell your boss it's a search engine, not a game!), but the pleasing look and unusually intuitive result maps are especially useful for finding common ground between disparate pages and ideas, brainstorming, and the like.

Actually - if truth be told - the 3D visual maps KartOO generates look an awful lot like an overhead view of a Petri dish with shiny globular cultures, and antibiotic "inhibition zones" in between...ah, what the hell. It does look like a Petri dish.

It won't replace a text-based search engine, and you do need Flash™ installed for the visual effects, but it certainly adds an exciting new dimension to searching. try this experiment: go to the KartOO home page and type in your name, either in quotes or with a "+" sign between search terms - and see what appears on the screen!