1. Computing

Turbo10, a Deep Web Search Engine

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Turbo10

NOTE: As of April 2010, Turbo10 is no longer offering Deep Web search services. Please try Deep Web Gateways for a good array of Invisible Web portals. Not sure what the Deep Web - aka the Invisible Web - is? Try "What is the Invisible Web?" for a good primer.

What is Turbo10?

Turbo10 is a search engine that trawls the Invisible, or Deep Web for results. Turbo10 connects you to deeper, more quality information from niche-specific search engines, and enables the searcher to access databases (such as government, busines and university databases). Basically, Turbo10 has cut out some of the middleman work you would have to do to get to these resources on your own.

Deep Web Search with Turbo10

The Turbo10 home page is simple and easy to use. The search query box is directly in the middle, with a drop down menu titled "Turbo10 Collections" to the right (we'll get back to that in a minute).

To search over 800 Deep Net engines (that's What Turbo10 claims to search, anyway - I could find no verification of this claim), all you need to do is enter a query into the search box. Here's my example: I typed in the word "gazelle grazing habits", and got some pretty respectable results, including a page from the Encyclopedia Brittanica, and oddly enough a link to a Yahoo Search results page for "gazelle grazing habits." Okay, so the results need to be tweaked a bit to return only relevant pages, not more results pages, but still, I found some good information.

Turbo10 Search Features

You will notice as you're doing searches on Turbo10 that a purple progress bar will be flashing at you, as well as the search results page loading and reloading until all your results are in. Meta search engines are notoriously slow because they're returning results not from just one database, but multiple databases. Turbo10 has attempted to make this waiting process a bit more user-friendly by letting the searcher know exactly how long of a wait they might be in for.

You should also notice that with your search results come "Topic Clusters" to the left. Topic Clusters are "the top 10 related topic clusters for every search. It helps you browse faster because you can 'home in' quickly on the most relevant topic. For example, if you search on 'salsa', Turbo10's algorithm identifies 'dancing' and 'recipes' as two distinct topics." My search for "gazelle grazing habits" brought back the topic clusters of "search, animals, decades, thomson, safari, focus, humans, vervet topic, african." Some of these I can see where they would fit, but the rest? Not very relevant.

Turbo10 Deep Web Search Collections

Probably one of the best things about Turbo10 is the ability to build your own "collection", or list, of search engines you'd like to search with. The text link to build your Turbo10 collection is located directly underneath the drop-down menu on the Turbo10 home page. Click on this, and you're taken to a page where you can create your own from a huge list of specialized databases and Internet search engines. While this feature is cool it would be nice to have some description of what these various databases are actually about. Once you have all your picks, you can choose a title for it, and then it's added to the main Turbo10 search page, all ready for you to search with. One thing: Turbo10 asks for your email address and this is their reasoning behind this request:
  • We can keep you informed of the status of your Collections
  • We need to make sure you are the real owner of your Collections and your email helps us do this.
  • We need your email so you can easily reload your Collections on a different computer.
  • We guarantee never to disclose your email address to a 3rd party.

Turbo10 - Why Should I Use Turbo10?

Here's the thing. I think that Turbo10 has a lot of potential. It came up with some relatively good search results, and it's got some nice features. However, here are some of my reservations:
  • Search results that come up with more search results? That's just plain lazy. Turbo10 needs to work on its relevancy, ranking, and retrieval in order to get a return visit from me.
  • The collections idea is great. However, I had no idea what most of the presented databases and search engines were focused on, and therefore it was difficult to build a good collection. In addition, I don't like giving my email address out willy-nilly since I don't want spam cannons aimed at me.
  • The About pages for Turbo10 are buried deep, and there is no way to link to any of them ( that's why you didn't see any links in this article other than to the main Turbo10 page). I found this strange and very inefficient.
Overall, I really do believe that Turbo10 has a lot of potential, but they need to do a few housecleaning changes first. I think that you would be better off searching the Deep Web with my collection of Deep Web Gateways.

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