Yesterday I wrote about the threat of vertical search engines to horizontal search engines like Google. I created a simple mockup of how Google could easily update their steadfast and simple homepage to accommodate vertical search. Marios Alexandrou mentioned in the comments of that blog entry that Ask.com now prompts users to help them refine their search. I gave it a try, but it still didn’t help with the search example I gave in my original entry.
After checking out Ask.com, Scott Holdren was perusing Marketing Pilgrim and decided to click on this ad:
That ad took him to Quintura — a search engine that uses a keyword cloud to help users instantly refine their search. My mockup had the user specifying a subject upfront, but Quintura waits for the initial search results before it provides refinement options. Searching for “reasons why I should run” not only gave me much more relevant search results, it also provided appropriate keywords in the refinement cloud. I hovered my cursor over the keyword “exercise” and it instantly changed the search results to display links related to that keyword. Surprisingly, it made all of the search results relevant to my search query.
Quintura also searches images, videos and products on Amazon.com. Not surprisingly, it uses their Amazon.com affiliate code in their results. Quintura has a great deal of promise. The search cloud may take some time to get used to, but you’ll find yourself using it a lot to quickly refine your search results. Overall, I think Quintura does an excellent job at tackling the horizontal-vertical search engine dilemma. Too bad their name is hard to remember and difficult to spell. If I were them, I would change the name or simply hope that one of the major search engines buys and integrates their technology.