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ManagedQ: A visual search experiment that actually works

New site is not just eye candy.

Finally, visual search that isn't dumb.

I have puzzled over several tools that try to put a visual interface on Web search. Most are either too clever, too slow, or both. But a new experiment, ManagedQ, shows us that it's not the concept that's been at fault, it's the execution. This one actually makes sense.

ManagedQ displays Web search results in visual snapshots. The images are bigger and more readable than the thumbnails you get on a search engine like Exalead, and arrayed in front of you so you can process them all at once, unlike Redzee (see: Redzee is fancier, less useful than text). But what's really useful is that you can select common keywords from your search results and visually find the sites that do and don't relate.

Hovering over common search terms makes the visual display more helpful.

On the ManagedQ search results there's a left-hand bar with words that relate to your search. Hovering over any one of them will grey out the results that don't have the word; selecting a word will rerun the search with the new filter. The words are categorized by people, place, and thing, and while the categorizing algorithm is far from perfect (I'm a person, thank you, not a thing), the concept is useful.

Ask.com does a better job of offering options to narrow or expand a search, but I still like being able to visually see which search results the new terms apply to.

ManagedQ is not, technically, a search engine. It's what founder David Stat calls a "search application," since it repurposes another engine's results (in this case, Google, at least for now). So as a business, it's not a complete story. But it is an interesting new way to look at search.