1. Computing
Wendy Boswell

Kartoo.com, a Visual Meta Search Engine

By July 10, 2005

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Well, I found my new toy. Kartoo is a visual meta search engine, "with visual display interfaces. When you click on OK, KartOO launches the query to a set of search engines, gathers the results, compiles them and represents them in a series of interactive maps through a proprietary algorithm." Or simply put, it puts its results on a map for you. Here's how it works (you'll need a Flash Player in order to run this site the way it was designed to look, but there is also an HTML version available):
  • Type in your query to the search box.
  • Your search results are compiled. You will see a screen with three columns: the first column contains all the topics Kartoo found that have anything to do with your search query. My search query was "silver charms", and so my topics ran the gamut from "wholesale sterling silver jewelry" to "antique silver charms." The second column contains the actual map generated by your search results; as you mouse over, the links between the various map locations will light up, showing their relationship to each other. Also, when you hover over one particular site, the information for that site will show up in the far left column. Lastly, the third column gives you the option to print, send, or save the search results map, with the additional options of adding a site or adding a topic.
  • If you click on any of your search results, they will open in a new window.
That's it in a very small nutshell. Kartoo is a metacrawler/metasearch engine, which means that it does not come up with its own results, but aggregates the results of many other search engines. You also can install Kartoo on your site in order to have search capability; as well as the KarToolbar, a browser toolbar that has some cool features. One of them is transparent results, as seen in the screenshot below:

Overall, a pretty snazzy tool. I love anything visual and I'm easily entertained, so obviously it's a hit with me.

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