Tuesday, 10th October 2006
Redesigned and Enhanced Exalead Now Out of Beta
ResourceShelf has been a fan of Exalead for many years and we see no reason to stop now. Another tool for your research toolkit.
The label linking to a beta version of Exalead is now gone. No official word but it looks like the new site has launched. However, we've added "we think" to the headline because the bottom of the page still mentions beta.
We first reported on a "new look" for Exalead on Beta mode in August. Now, the beta moniker has been lifted and the new site is live. What's interesting to note are three things.
1) Unlike all of the other major web engines (Ask, Google, MS Live, and Yahoo) it is the only one to list its total page count. They claim over 8 million pages but as we've said so many times without being able to compare apples to apples, these total page numbers mean little. Although, in this case it's good to see that the entire Exalead service is developing.
2) We're very happy to see that the personalized home page feature is available. With a bit of coding (trust us, folks, it's no more than a couple of letters) you can run searches of other engines direct from the home page.
3) New image search is part of the site. No word on if it's their crawl or from a third party like PicSearch. Numerous ways to refine your search if you select the refinement options that include image size, related terms (not concepts), color, layout, and filetype. All of these refinements are available by simply pointing and clicking.
Here's an example of a search for 777 airplane.
4) Web results include preview of each result (similar to Ask's Binoculars) along with related terms (again vs. concepts), direct links to narrow by image, video, RSS; placement in the Open Directory, and filetypes. Those are the defaults. More if click more choices.
Finally, Exalead's advanced search continues to offer a ton of features. From adjacency to proximity to phonetic spelling to truncation. One thing that's missing, and very likely a simple oversight, is the lack of help. Exalead has always offered excellent documentation.
Now, it's time to spend some hours looking at the quality of the results as compared to the competition. All of the advanced search features are excellent tools for the pro searcher but unless we begin to teach users to use them (that's an idea), most searches (as they do now) will take no advantage of these features. In some cases, knowledge of one or two of them would be more than enough.
UPDATE: Several people have asked about related terms vs. concepts. Compare the search for Apple at Exalead vs. Ask.com. At Exalead, you find related searches about the company. At Ask, note narrow and expand with not only info about the maker of the iPod but also different varieties of fruits. Another example:
Basketball (Exalead) vs. Basketball (Ask.com)