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The Ultimate Searching Experience: Exalead

Friday, September 7th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Using The Internet

The Ultimate Searching Experience: Exalead

The last time we were together, I wrote about an awesome answer engine called BrainBoost. However, in my search for the “Ultimate Search Engine,” I came across another search engine that happens to have a host of useful features that could be considered useful complements to BrainBoost!

It’s called Exalead and it can be found here.

Below is what the homepage looks like. As you can see, it is very minimalistic and uncluttered. I love it!

So, let’s start with a simple search and put Exalead to the test. For this, I’ll choose exactly what I did last time, which was my adopted hometown of Athlone in Ireland.

Here are some of the results I received:

Now, what do you see that sets Exalead apart from many other search engines? Yes, that’s right! Instead of a mass piece of text relating to each Web site, you see a thumbnail picture of the site with a brief summary of its content. Clicking on the Preview button will then bring up the relevant page in a new window within Exalead for you. Or, if you click on the link, it will open the site to a whole new page.

But, there’s even more to it than that! Look over to the right hand side of the page and you’ll notice the box I have highlighted in red below:

Exalead has intelligently given some additional links (1) to narrow down your search.

Also, notice the other area I have numbered (2). You can even narrow the search to specific types of documents. For instance, if you wanted a downloadable document, it could very well be in a PDF format. Therefore, selecting this will find Web sites for you where a PDF file is available. Neat, huh?!

Now, let’s go back to the homepage and see what else Exalead can offer us!

Let’s have a look at the various buttons at the top of the page:

If you select one of those before starting your search, you will be able to find images of your chosen subject, like this:

Or, even some information from Wikipedia with thumbnails:

Also, did you notice the box to the right that I have highlighted with an arrow? Those are stacks of related links to, again, narrow down your search.

To that, you can also add any videos on your chosen subject:

So, if I were so inclined, I could watch a video of the local football (sorry, it’s soccer to you!) teams on YouTube!

But, we haven’t finished yet!

If you go back to the homepage and click on More (next to the Video link), you will come to this page:

Notice the two boxes in the bottom right that I have highlighted in red.

You can elect to have a search bar or a toolbar integrated into your normal browser window so that you can search directly from Exalead when looking for information. Just click on the link and follow the instructions.

Now, one final feature that I find very useful is the shortcuts to sites that I visit on a regular basis.

Look at this screenshot of the homepage:

Notice on the top line of shortcuts that there are a number of useful sites already set up. If you would like to add your own favorites, just click the “Add a shortcut” link and then go to this form and fill in the relevant information:

Lo and behold, there it is already set up for you. It’s all at your fingertips!

So, I think you will agree with me when I say that Exalead is an excellent search engine with a lot of useful features. For me, it wins the title of “The Ultimate Search Engine.” What do you think?!

~ David Woodford

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