Taking directions

There was a time when it wasn't too difficult to track down information on the Internet.

By DAVID SHAMAH
January 19, 2006 09:37
4 minute read.
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He: Now where do you think I need to turn to find this place? She: Why don't you stop and ask somewhere? He (ignoring her): I bet it's around this corner. These directions are absolutely worthless! She: There's a nice, clean gas station down the road. You should turn in there and ask where we are. Wait! You passed it! He (after turning): I already asked at that other gas station, remember? Oops! A dead end! She: We're going to be late! Why don't you at least look on the map? You men always think you're born with a perfect sense of direction - but you're always getting lost! He: Alright already! Where's the map? (Checks the map.) Hmmm - yes, that looks like the place! (Feel free to switch genders in this little roadside drama. There are plenty of women with no sense of direction and plenty of men who are backseat drivers.) No, it's not another one of my TV screenplays (although I have received offers). I bring you this he-she automotive exchange to illustrate the importance of having a map. Seeing is understanding - especially when it comes to searching on the Internet. Once, it wasn't too difficult to track down information on the Internet. There were maybe a couple million Web sites around with 50, maybe 100 million actual pages. Search engines like Lycos and Altavista did a yeoman's job of keeping track of sites and pages, and delivered manageable results that were more or less focused on what you were actually looking for. But, like everything else in life, Web searches have become more complicated. There are now some 11 billion pages to choose from at Google - but they're pikers compared to Yahoo, which claims to index some 20 billion, nearly twice as many (http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050808-194340)! Of course, search engine technology is better now than in the past - but still, it can be a bit daunting when you're presented with 150,000 pages for our perusal. Often, what you're looking for is in the first 10 or 20 choices on the list, but not always; and just as often, the best choice, with the "real" information that you need, is on page 52 of the search, which you'll probably never bother looking at. Google and Yahoo are just tools, however; if you want more accurate search results you need to change your search approach. The accuracy of your search results in Google, for example, can be enhanced by utilizing all sorts of query tricks built into the search engine designed to coax out the most accurate data (http://www.newzgeek.com/021105-searching.htm). But words and search terms don't always hack it - in fact, if you do enough Web searches, you start to feel like you're drowning in a sea of blah blah. It's like listening to endless hours of talk radio; eventually, it all starts to sound the same, and you find your innards aching for some good old rock and roll to give your creative right brain a jolt. How about a Web search engine for right brainers that will free you from Internet blah blah? Instead of a jungle of Web sites you have to ferret through in order to find what you're looking for, it would be so much easier if you had a "map" where you could narrow down your search without having to click through dozens of pages of results! If you've had enough of staring at endless search result pages, download Quintura Search, which will reinterpret results returned by major search engines and map them out in order to let you narrow down what it is you're looking for. Check this innovative Web search system out: You type a term into the Quintura search box as you would in the Google or Yahoo search bar. But where you would get a list of sites on the search engine result bar, Quintura gives you a visual map of keywords associated with the term you typed in, based on the results returned by the search engine you're using (you can choose to search via Google, Yahoo, Google News, MSN Search and others). Move your mouse onto the word that helps you narrow down the data you're looking for and click on it; the new term becomes part of your search and you can narrow things down even further. For example, typing in the term "search engines" generates a map with words like meta, directory, placement, submission, reference, international, etc. Click on one of those results and you get more keywords associated with both "search engines" (your original request) and, say, "reference." Clicking on yet another keyword that appears - "education" - comes up with the Search 22 site (http://www.search-22.com/kids) - which appears only on page seven of a Google search for "search engines!" Would I have bothered to go to page seven of a regular Google search? With my new Quintura mapping buddy, I'll never have to wonder again. Download Quintura Search for free from http://www.quintura.com. For Windows XP and 2000. ds@newzgeek.com



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