Auto Meta Search

By oish330oish330 (1261692094|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

This blog entry reviews the use of a handful of metasearch tools to find information about German autos. I decided to try the same search criteria on each of these sites to see what they would each come up with. Since the Los Angeles Auto Show was just last week, I was interested in finding information about the news cars from each of the big German car companies.

Search Criteria: L.A. auto show AND (Audi or Porsche or Volkswagen or Mercedes or BMW). If this format did not work on the particular metasearch site, I used a handful of L.A. Auto show + German car company searches and looked at the results overall.

Approach: Since I am a relatively picky search user and do not have a lot of time on my hands to go through tons of results, I usually stick to reading what a search engine pulls up on its first page. Following this logic, this is how I will be analyzing the metasearch engines.

My expectation in completing this exercise is that the search engines will, for the most part, return similar results. However, hopefully I will be surprised at the diversity in the results that will help me to find more resources to include on this website.

Integrated Metasearch Sites

  • Startpage - 7/10 Startpage came up with 15,199,338 results for my search criteria. In the first page I found some interesting sites sourced from blogs like Jalopnik and Autoblog. Of the top 10 results, 8 were of interest for my site. This sounds pretty good to me, except that the best of these websites were down near the bottom of the top 10 results. Notable article: Porsche Spyder
  • Dogpile - 6/10 I have used Dogpile for years. Back in the days when Google did not own the world (hard to remember that far back?), I preferred using Dogpile as my search engine since it summed up results from multiple places. Of course, back then I did not know of any other metasearch engines either. The problem with Dogpile has always been that it typically is hard to find specific results, I have no idea why. Running this search criteria is a perfect example, most of the results were about auto dealerships in L.A. Specifically, the top 5 results were for different dealerships. In fact, none of the top 10 results were particularly what I was searching for. I find this strange since all of the metasearch engines search Google, Yahoo, and Bing at the least. Why are the overall results so different?

Unified Interface for Separate Search Engines

  • Search.IO - 8/10 Search.IO has one of my favorite interfaces out of all the metasearch engines. Apart from Kosmix, Search.IO is my favorite graphically (although I have no clue where the arabic language ads on the sidebar come from?). The quality of the search results is great since it splits all the major search engines from Google to Alltheweb on different tabs. It's easy to look through the top 10 results from each search engine and find the things you like. Additionally, it is great to be able to view web pages within the search site so users do not have to deal with tons of windows while looking through different websites. Notable article: German Car Scene
  • Leapfish - 7/10 I really like the organization of this site. You can flip between viewing results from Google, Yahoo, or Bing. It also shows images from Google or Flickr in the main search results page. In terms of the quality of the results, they were overall pretty good (of course this site separates the results of different search engines, so the site itself is not doing any of the real work in picking the best results). Interestingly enough, I would say that Startpage did a better job overall in coming up with what I was looking for through prioritizing the results from all the different search engines. I will also note that some of the results from info.com were not the most recent articles (ie from 2006 and not the LA auto show). Notable article: VW Up! Lite Concept
  • Kosmix - 9/10 Kosmix has the best graphical layout of any of the metasearch engines I've used. I love how it splits up pictures, news, blogs, videos, conversations, etc… on one page. This makes it incredibly easy to look through a bunch of different sources of media for what you are looking for. It is also clear that Kosmix does not emphasize web search, which is a different tactic from its competitors. Instead, it makes it easy to find information from just about every other source on the web. In the case of this search, I found a ton of pictures from the LA Auto show, a great video, and some blog entries. Nothing new from the web search though, which was just a Google search page (same one I've seen repeatedly while writing this blog). Notable find: YouTube

Note: I know this method of reviewing sites is not the most accurate. My intent was to figure out which sites would be the most useful in finding the information I am looking to include on this website.

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