Meta search engines, like Dogpile, have been around a long time. The idea is pretty simple and powerful, if one search engine is good, then combining the results of multiple search engines must be better. For some reason though, they haven’t really taken off.
Maybe the issue is the way the results of multiple search engines are presented. It’s possible that showcasing the results of multiple search engines in a results page that looks just like Google, or Yahoo!, or Microsoft’s results pages is the wrong idea.
Enter SearchCrystal. It’s a meta search engine that displays the results graphically, in a circular (target style) display. I find it particularly useful for image search. Here’s the result I got when I went looking for a photo of Jens Lekman to decorate my post yesterday.
Around the edges of the circle, you will see various image search engines like Flickr, Ask Images, Google, MSN, and Yahoo! As you get closer to the center of the circle, the images that show up are those that are found on multiple search engines. In the case of Jens, there weren’t many, but I generally find the ones in the center are the most interesting and certainly most popular images.
The tabs across the top showcase what kinds of searchs you can do; web, images, video, blogs, news, tags, wikipedia, and mashup. The mashup search is kind of fun if you are looking to kill some time.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.