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Mahalo

Friday, June 15th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Using The Internet
 
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Mahalo

In the already crowded world of search engines, there is yet another new entry that goes by the name of Mahalo. Now, I wouldn’t bother you with yet another article about search engines if it wasn’t for the divine human intervention! Before you get confused about the human intervention bit, allow me to explain. Mahalo is a new search engine that uses extensive human resources to sort through the links of results. Yes, you guessed it right. Their staff goes through each and every link to weed out any spam or useless pages so that you don’t have to.

At Mahalo, they virtually assure you that you will not run into any spam sites, Web sites with overwhelming advertising that hide the real content, any Web sites indulging in phishing, Web sites that simply have aggregate information from other resources without giving credit or even sites with adult content or hate speech. Those are some heavy claims, wouldn’t you say?

Well, I went ahead and gave it a spin. The look of the search engine is a refreshing change from the Google and Yahoo! we are used to. The first thing I noticed was that on the main page, they give you several categorized links to popular searches. From the Stanley Cup playoffs to the iPhone, it’s all there. But, I decided to test the waters with a new search.

The search results page is extremely well organized. Unlike Google and others, it doesn’t give you a bucket load of results. Still, the substantial amount of results it brings up are neatly categorized. For example, I did a quick search for the singer, John Mayer. The first thing I noticed was that in the right panel, it concisely presented summarized background information about Mayer. This, in my opinion, can be very useful when you quickly want to search for some background information on someone. Say, an actor or a new singer you just heard about.

In the main search results, the links were categorized according to music and MP3 links, lyrics, tour dates, photos, videos and so on. It certainly did save me a lot of time scrolling through the links. Since all these pages are “hand written,” the neat organization is apparent. Similarly, when I searched for the New York Yankees baseball team, I was presented with the Yankees roster, stats, timeline and even a list of Yankees rivals. It’s refreshing to find something you want so easily!

The search results are also enhanced with the use of visual cues. For instance, a link that is highly recommended will have a “guide’s choice” icon next to it, whereas pages with a lot of pop ups or ones that are heavy in ads will have a warning sign next to it. This makes it very easy for the Web surfer to pre-judge a link they’re going to click on.

Apart from superiority of organization of the page, in the lower right panel, there are other useful features as well. For instance, you can go through the top user submitted links for a particular search term or recommend one yourself. You can e-mail a search result page to anyone you want and since the link is given in the sidebar, you can bookmark it for a later reference.

The shortcoming is that they don’t have pages about all the possible topics in the world. For example, I searched for the AC Milan football team and nothing came up. The good thing is though that when you search for something they don’t have a page for, they will present you with search results from Google.

Finally, the bottom line is that if you are searching for a relatively popular keyword, Mahalo is a great tool. However, you will still have to resort to Google if you want information on obscure things. The fact that they censor a lot of the content also makes it safer for the use of young people and my guess is that people who find it tiring to sort through the Google results will find Mahalo very handy. So, go give it a spin and form your own opinion!

Check Mahalo out for yourself right here.

~ Yogesh Bakshi

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