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Search More of the Web with Clusty, a Meta Search Engine



What is Clusty?

Clusty is a meta search engine, meaning it combines results from a variety of different sources. However, Clusty adds a bit of extra search engine goodness in the mix by giving you clustered results.

Meta Search Clusters

Here is a good explanation of clustered results About Clusty page:

"Clusty uses our award-winning Clustering Engine to organize search results into folders grouping similar items together. Thus a search for ‘pearl’ organizes the top 250-500 results into subject folders such as Jewelry, Pearl Harbor, Pearl Jam, Steinbeck Novel and Daniel Pearl. Clusty allows users to focus on the area of interest without all the chaff."

So, basically, Clusty is helping your search become better, helping you cast your net wider, and sometimes coming up with search queries that you might not have thought of without the clustering feature.

Clusty Meta Search Home Page

The retro Clusty graphic is the first thing I liked about this meta search engine. The home page is clean and uncluttered, with the search bar squarely in the middle of the page, and tabs on top of that. Your tab choices are Web+, News, Images, Shopping, Wikipedia,Blogs, Jobs, and Customize.

Clusty Meta Search Tabs

One thing I noticed right away was that just by clicking on the various tabs, Clusty takes you to a standard home page for that particular tab. For instance, News brings you to the baked-in News Page with clustered results for the top searched for news stories. You have some options here; to the far left, you can cluster your results with a drop down menu that gives you the options clustering by stories, sources, or sections.

I selected sources, and my News page instantly changed to clusters of CNN, NY Times, Reuters, and Yahoo News. Choosing Sections categorizes the news page into Clusty's selection of subjects, ranging from Arts to World. Mind you, this was all available to me merely by clicking on the News tab; I hadn't actually typed in a search query as yet.

As for the other tabs, Web+ takes you directly to the Clusty home page. Images, Shopping, and Blogs all require queries, there is not a baked-in page. The Wikipedia tab shows you basically what is on the front page of Wikipedia, and the Jobs page gives you the option to search with Indeed.com, a specialized job search engine.

Meta Search with Clusty

Searching with Clusty is very easy. Simply pick the tab you want to search with, or just start typing in your search query, and click on "Cluster." I searched for ballerina, and got some interesting results.

Clusty Meta Search Results

First of all, my results were filtered and clustered before they ever got to me. At the top of the search results page was this line: "Top 274 results of at least 1,867,742 retrieved for the query ballerina(Details)". Clicking on the hyperlinked Details, I was able to see from what sources Clusty obtained their results; the list included Ask Jeeves, MSN, the NY Times, and the Open Directory.

Paid results are at the top, just like most other search engines, and then the search results underneath that. At the far left were my clustered results for ballerina. Some really interesting concepts there that I wouldn't have necessarily thought of. When I clicked on Angelina Ballerina, the clustered results to the far left remained the same, but my main search results changed.

Exploring Meta Search Clusters

One of my clusters that came back with this query was Art; I clicked on the plus sign and more topics opened up underneath, including Edgar Degas. You can use the plus symbol to expand any cluster, or conversely you can use the minus symbol to collapse any cluster. Expanding the clusters opened up a whole new area of search possibilities for me, some of which were way better than what I had originally come up with.

Same search query for Image Search, and I received 100 results from Picsearch, which powers Clusty's image search. I had the option to sort my results by Size, Name, Type, or URLs.

This article titled Meta Search with Clusty is continued on page two.

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