Magazine article Online

Gigablast Blasts off Again

Magazine article Online

Gigablast Blasts off Again

Article excerpt

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Gigablast ... maybe it's that retro rocket logo it used to sport. Gigablast has distinguished itself, at least in my eyes, by being one of the longest-lasting search engines to provide on-the-fly analysis of results. It was also one of the very first search engines to offer customized search engines, although it has been overtaken by behemoths Google (www.google.com/coop), Yahoo! (http://builder.search.yahoo.com), and Live Search (http://search.live.com/macros).

Earlier this year, Gigablast introduced some new features and a fresh interface, which means I have a reason to revisit this relatively unknown search engine. As of late March 2008, the main Gigablast page is labeled as beta. No metter--Google News wore a "beta" label for years. And some of Gigablast's features haven't changed but are worth noting again. There are now clear tabs on the left-hand side of the main search screen for searching the web, images (powered by Picsearch), video (powered by Truveo), and the Gigablast directory (based on the Open Directory Project). There is also an option for "freshness dating," which limits your search to sites that Gigablast detects have been added or had "substantive" change made to them within the last day, week, month, or year (or any date range you specify). Gigablast claims this is more advanced than simply detecting the file date, although my tests indicate that it still brings up some false hits--a web page for a 2004 conference showed up in a search that I limited to pages refreshed or added within the last week.

Gigablast's main claim to fame is its web search results page. For starters, there is a display at the top of the screen of "Gigabits"--words or phrases that appear often in the retrieved results and that might be useful for narrowing your search or to provide, as Gigablast puts it, "the zen of search." Since these are automatically generated, some are more useful than others, but I always appreciate the opportunity to see frequently occurring themes in search results.

If a retrieved page is also listed in the Gigablast Directory, a link is displayed for the category (or categories) in which the page appears--a nice feature for expanding your search to vetted sites on a topic. But what I like the most is Gigablast's "More Results From This Site" link, which appears at the end of many search results. Click that link and your query is re-executed, limited to the domain of the retrieved page. …

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