Metasearching for News

By joshuaaajoshuaaa (1261282119|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

Do metasearch engines produce better results than regular search engines? In theory, they are supposed to. By combining the results from multiple search engines, weighing the results that appear in multiple as more important, and presenting a filtered list of results, you would think that you would be provided with the most complete and accurate list of results imaginable. Does this theory transition into reality?

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Is Metasearch The Betta Search?

Pardon my poetic liberties — but really, what's the deal with metasearch? If it compiles all the results from multiple search engines, how can it be worse than the search engines it searches? I believe this answer is left somewhat to personal opinion, but the results of this study may be able to prove something.

Regardless of which is better, I am here to talk about a metasearch tool called Searchio (also recognized as Search!o). Until now, I had mainly used a combination of my three company pressrooms, Google Alerts, and NewsSift for my industry updates, and I think Searchio is going to become an important resource to add to that list in the coming weeks.

What is Searchio?

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Like I said earlier, Searchio is a metasearch engine. When I think of a metasearch engine, though, I think of sites like Dogpile and Info.com — Searchio is a little different. There are two broad types of metasearch engines:

  1. Integrated search for multiple search engines
    • This type of metasearch goes out and finds results from multiple sources, puts them together, and presents them to you in one result page. Dogpile and Info.com fall into this category.
  2. Unified interface for multiple search engines
    • This is what Searchio is — upon running a query, Searchio allows you to go back and forth between the results that would have been produced from sites like Google, CNN, The New York Times, even Dogpile (making Searchio a metametasearch engine!) and many others.
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What I Like

So many sources!
Each different filter (news, fonts, blogs, etc.) has its own subset of resources from which Searchio gathers results. In other words, you're not retrieving news articles from Yahoo! Music or blogs from Recipe Trove.

So many categories!
You can search so much more than the web or the news — there's 17 different categories you can search.

Easy to navigate
With most new web browsers, we have all become accustomed to having tabs at the top of the viewing space. Searchio is very similar, providing you with all the resource tabs at the top of the page.

Popular sites for each category
You aren't searching rinky-dink sites when you search Searchio. For web searches, you get results from powerhouses such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Ask. When you search for images, you get results from the likes of Flickr (Yahoo!), Photobucket, and Google Image Search. As a final example, when searching for social bookmarking sites, you get results from Delicious, Digg, and Stumbleupon, among others. I am surprised Twitter has not yet been incorporated into Searchio's search process… always room for improvement I suppose.

**If you have an account in any of these sites, Searchio automatically recognizes this and customizes your results accordingly (e.g. your Delicious bookmarks will show up at the top of your social bookmarking results)!

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What I Don't Like

No RSS option
There is no option to subscribe to a query via RSS. While this makes using Searchio a little less convenient, it can still be somewhat sidestepped by using a page monitor.

No unique URLs
Once you get into a result, there is not a unique URL that will bring you back to that exact page. For example, if you search images for the Searchio logo, you will find it (I found it in Google Image Search, but the URL will be http://search.io/images/searchio%20logo/#, which is not unique).

Ads on the left side
They're in Arabic, and I don't know why. Other than that, they don't really bother me.

Searchio & My Term Project

Searchio returns great news results from the following sources:

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  • CNN
  • BBC
  • The New York Times
  • Newsvine
  • Google News
  • TIME
  • ABC News
  • CBS News
  • MSNBC
  • Newsweek

Quality news sources! Brilliant. Without a metasearch engine, in order to get results from all these sources, you would have to visit each of them individually, input your query, examine the results, move to the next one, repeat… over, and over. With Searchio, all you have to do is click on a different tab and PRESTO! the results are right there for you (after a few seconds of load time, of course).

I ran a news query regarding FedEx in Searchio, and was pleased with the results. While the CNN results were slightly disappointing (the first two results had to do with why real mean buy flowers…), I was quite impressed with the results returned by Newsvine, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, Newsweek, and Google, of course. Out of the six sources just listed, I have only ever visited two of them (Google, Newsweek), which means Searchio has opened my eyes to four brand new sources of information that I had never even really thought to consult. Not only did it open my eyes to these sources, but it brings them right to my computer screen with one click!

Conclusion

I did my search engine analysis on Dogpile, and compared it to Info.com. I thought I found something cool when I discovered you could search for anything you wanted by typing in the address bar something like this.is.what.i.want.to.search.for.info.com. Don't get me wrong, that is really cool, but I think the simple discovery of Searchio is a little better. I really like the fact that for each category of search, quality websites are the focus of Searchio's queries. I will be using Searchio in the future, and would recommend it to anyone and everyone in need of a quality search engine. Even if you don't like one set of results, there are plenty of others to consult, and I haven't found another site that makes it so easy to switch between sources. Two thumbs up!

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