As you probably know by now, I like to see different approaches to the way we normally do things on the web. This weekend, I was doing some searches on my favorite new addiction (you know it as Twitter), when I came across a search tool called Quintura. I thought I’d test it out and see what it has to offer, and I came away fairly impressed with the concept.

Quintura uses the Yahoo XML search results and does some visual markup of the results, which it calls the Quintura Cloud. There are a number of ‘Cloud Results’ tools out there, but I like the method that Quintura uses to view some of the verbiage that appears in the initial results of your search. The idea behind the cloud results is that you can see how the words in your initial search produces words or phrases in the results lists, and you can then begin visually adding or subtracting the results to further define your search. Pretty cool idea.
I picked the search of: “knowledge management” “semantic web”
The search results appear on the right-side of the p age, and the cloud results on the left. In the cloud, I get this look:
I can hover over each of these words to expand my search by including the words, or I can click the (-) sign next to the word to restrict my searches to results that specifically do not have the words or phrases in them.
If I click on “metadata” for example, my search changes automatically and adds “metadata” to the search. thus, I’ve been able to refine the search on the fly, so to speak, with the assistance of Quintura.
I do like the concept behind this, but it still has a way to go before it is ready to come out of beta. One problem is that it is not the most intuitive product to use (but, I’m usually pretty forgiving on that one because sometimes advance searching isn’t always easy.) I really didn’t like the fact that there are times where the cloud gets into an endless loop. In other words, there can be specific words that lead to words already in the cloud, and then those words lead me right back to my initial word, and that keeps going and going.
Despite these couple of minor quirks in the way it is set up, however, I do thing that this type of searching, where you have visual as well as text results, is a wave of the future. For a product like Quintura to succeed, the developers are going to have to team up with the major search engines (or be bought out by the search engines.)
Give Quintura a try. I think you’ll like the concept of visual search results to help better define your search queries.