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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Previewseek is a new search engine (British) that claims to be the world's most advanced search engine. Such a large claim deserves serious consideration... You can search the web, image, video, dictionary or mp3 files. No news or weblogs or RSS feeds though. Results give you a 'refine' feature, a bit like Teoma or Wisenut, a thumbnail shot of the page, like Exalead, fast facts at the top of the page with some searches, a preview feature. You can also save results, have a search folder and a search viewer. All of these are good things, but they don't leap out and say 'this is amazing'. It's pretty much what I'd expect of any good search engine these days. Those don't make it good, they make it high end of average.

There were a few things I didn't like - the family filter default is off, and searches are carried across from one tab to another, so my 'Phil Bradley' search came up with my ah.. rather well endowed namesake porn star from the states. Default really should be off, rather than having to go into advanced search to fix it. No help screens, so no idea of what I can or can't do. I wasn't impressed that they will find a bunch of pages on one site that match the search and display all of those - the first results on a search from my name display all pages from my site, which is nice for me, but not helpful for the searcher. Google stopped doing this years ago, and I rather hoped the practice had died out.

I didn't find the results particularly encouraging either. 'What is the tallest mountain in the world' appears to give a mountain called Dim Sum in China. Other factual questions also didn't fare too well either.

There's nothing wrong with Previewseek at all; it seems to do it's job well enough, and has some nice features - I wouldn't have any problems with using it in the future. However, the claim 'world's most advanced search engine' is IMO rather too strong for a search engine that should earn a B+ at best.

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