Search Crystal

May 31, 2008

A colleague in the UK called my attention to a service I did not know about. A happy quack to my email helpers! The service is called Search Crystal. This is a difficult metasearch system to describe. You will have to navigate to the site, go through a basic registration form, and then wait until Search Crystal sends you an activation link.

Once you have access to the site, you enter a query in the search box. Search Crystal sends the query to Google,, Exalead, Yahoo, and Microsoft. The results are processed and then the fun begins. Here’s the display that I was able to explore for my query “enterprise search”.


You can filter by search engine. The colors correspond to the results from a particular search engine. You can flip among displays. These include a “crystal” view that shows an icon to make it easy to see which result appeared in specific search engine’s results. Every item on the display is a hot link. You can slice and dice the result list in myriad ways.

In the bull’s eye view, the top result is in the center of the display. SEO specialists will find this feature useful. The full version offers you a powerful research tool that lets you compare up to 500 results, add comments and share and compare saved crystals with friends and colleagues.

If you are a fan of rich interfaces, you will find a lot of love at Search Crystal. In my test queries, I found that I preferred the more traditional list view. My eye sight is simply not up to the task of reading the listings in the side control panels, the tag clouds, or the dense visual renderings.

You can search images, save result sets, share your Search Crystal views, and license the technology for use in your organization. You can visualize overlap in result sets and explore the Wikipedia via a Search Crystal. There are APIs so you can integrate the technology with a Web service like Flickr’s or an enterprise application if you are so inclined. I recall seeing a reference to a Facebook application as well. If you have a Web log, you can use the company’s widget to add the Search Crystal functions for your users.

The Search Crystal engineers certainly know their Flash technology. Check it out.

Stephen Arnold, May 31, 2008


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