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CyberSkeptic's Guide to Internet Research

Volume 13  No 2,  February 2007

Seriously Search Engines

Zuula – Betta’ Than Meta

by Ran Hock

If you want to compare results from multiple search engines, Zuula will do it for you very simply and easily. Don’t though, get Zuula confused with “metasearch sites” such as Dogpile, Mamma, and ixquick. Metasearch sites search multiple engines and combine the results. Unfortunately those tools have a number of very notable weaknesses (such as not covering all the major engines, only showing a small handful of results from each, and losing advanced search capabilities. (See my Nov/December, 2005 CyberSkeptic article on Metasearch for more details). One after another with a single click, Zuula allows you to view the actual results from eight Web search engines, including all the “big ones.” Zuula also provides a similar comparison for image, news, blog, and job searches

Search results as they are displayed in Zuula are very, but not totally, similar to the results as you will see if you do the search in the engines directly. (The order of results may vary slightly, since Zuulu may at any moment be accessing a different search engine computer than you connect to from your own location.) Zuula retains most, but not all of the specific result page content you will find in the engines themselves. With Google, for example, most of the record in Zuula is the same as you would see it in Google itself, including the cache link. Zuula does not, however, show Google’s “Similar Pages”, “Note This”, or “More Results From” links. With Yahoo results, the page size and the cache links are not shown by Zuula. Ads are shown in Zuula in the same positions as they are in the original site. Zuula also drops some other features found on original results pages, such as image results previews in Google Web searches, Yahoo! Visitor Guides and Shopping results. Zuula though is still in Beta (whatever that means these days) and its producers promise ongoing improvements.

One additional useful feature you will find on Zuula results pages is a list of your recent searches. You can delete them all, individually, or turn the feature off. An Advanced Search page provides several commonly encountered options, such as Site/Domain search, Safe Search, results per page, and also an option to have your search terms appear in bold. A Preferences page additionally allows you to set your selection of engines, and there you can also “drag-and-drop” to rearrange the order of the search engine tabs.

Take advantage also of the similar comparison searches Zuula provides for images (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Pixsy, Flickr, news (Yahoo, Google, Topix, MSN), Blogs (Google, Technorati, IceRocket, Sphere, Bloglines, Blogdigger, Topix), and Jobs (Monster, Career Builder, HotJobs, Indeed).

As you are aware, for all major search engines, results rankings can differ drastically and the wise searcher takes advantage of those differences. Zuula can make that easier.

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