04. 14. 2008
Surf Canyon pulls up relevant results deep in your search
More and more, it seems that what comes up at the top in browser search results is determined by factors having little to do with what I'm really looking for. Google search results may be comprehensive, but what I'm looking for may be buried so deep that I'll never find the one thing I'm looking for. I might accidentally come across just the right keyword to bring up some relevant results, but it's often hit or miss. Human-powered search engines such as Mahalo and iRazoo aim to create and "curate" search results to get around this diving-in-a-garbage-can feel of the big search engines. But humans are flawed and prejudiced, so you're not going to get objectivity with this method, nor will the results always be current (how do a few humans keep up with the volume of new content that comes on daily?).
I've been trying out Surf Canyon, a browser extension that works with Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. This browser add-on (which currently works with Internet Explorer and Firefox) gives you the option to narrow your search results by clicking a bull's eye icon next to a relevant search result to get more link recommendations that you might otherwise not see until you've clicked many more pages into your search results (which, for me, is usally never, as I get impatient after 3 or 4 pages). Using "real time semantic personalization technology" (how's that for a mouthful?) Surf Canyon "sits atop" your search engine to help you hone in on what you're looking for.
I wasn't wowed by the idea at first glance, but after a few weeks, I'm finding that I use it all the time. It helps that the bull's eye icons are easy to ignore, and don't interrupt or slow down the flow of pages or change the look of search results. The bull's eyes are there subtly reminding you that when you get to a link that looks relevant enough to click, you can use that as a starting point to narrow your search and bring things up from way, way below.