Look in the Crystal

SearchCrystal is probably search engine number sixteen million, and like anything nearly out of sight down the long tail it has to be different to attract attention (or is it that you’re near the tip of the tail because you’re different?). In the case of SearchCrystal the difference is visual, which makes it somewhat hard to describe and also somewhat hard to figure out at first.

For one thing, Crystal searches five indexes: Ask, MSN, Yahoo, Google, and ExaleadNew to me. Obviously search engine number 15,999,999, at http://www.exalead.com/search, allowing you to see the top ten of the results from each both separately and as overlapped results. Then it does something with concentric circles that still eludes me: likely it has to do with a ranking, putting either the most relevant or most popular closest to the centre. Clusters of results are show as crystals with various facets, depending again, I suppose, on the importance of the result clusters. You can run your search against the web, image indices, blogs, etc.

Finally, you can embed SearchCrystal’s result for a search as a Flash widget in your page, which I’ll do below the fold for a search for “slaw.” The results are dynamic in that hovering over various things will cause information popups; you have the ability as well to display the results in one of three forms.

[via information aesthetics]


  1. Simon, thank you for discussing searchCrystal on your blog.
    Regarding the concentric rings, pages or results found by the same number of engines are mapped into the same ring.
    The size of an icon reflects the rank positions of a page in the results list that contain it. The greater the size, the higher up in the ranked list of a search engine. For example, the home page of “slaw” is found by four of the engines and the icon size is large and very close to the center, which indicates that the home page is highly ranked in all four lists. Placing the mouse over an icon shows the exact rank positions and for the “slaw” home page it is the top result for all four engines.
    So if somebody searches for “slaw”, your home page will be the top result in 4 of the major search engines.
    The pinkish lines connect pages hosted on the same server and they show that MSN also paces pages from “slaw” at the very top, just not the home page.
    You can also look at the results as a LIST (icons in the top left corner).
    Enough explaining :)
    Any feedback on how to improve searchCrystal would be welcome.