Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Software called Grokker could be the future of search

The next/better google? David Kirkpatrick writes that Grokker, a software tool takes the data culled by an online search and organizes it visually into categories that enable you to quickly dig deeply to find the exact site or information you need, is the best software available for performing searches.

The company which originally came out with the software, Norther Lights, went out of business last year. A new company, startup Groxis, has re-issued the software at a lower price: $49. Therein lies the problem. Even if this software does a great job at focusing a search, people jsut don;t pay for something they can get for free. Google, for now, is free.

Fitzpatrick writes, "It makes me wonder if Google really does have search as sewed up as we often assume. When you use Grokker you realize just how brain dead even the best search tools are today."

My response: Google may be brain dead, but free is still free. It does seem like an awfully cool tool for those looking for this type of specific application, but a real competitor to Google it is not.

Grokker takes the raw output of a search and organizes it into categories and subcategories. Groxis has put more intelligence into the software this time, so it is not dependent, as it was with Northern Lights, on categories established by others. This means that a wide variety of types of databases can be Grokked-now Grokker can search with six different engines simultaneously -- Yahoo, MSN, Alta Vista, Fast, Teoma, and WiseNet.

It also can organize searches for products on Amazon or for files on your own desktop. Google capability is coming within weeks, Groxis says, as a separate software component that users will add. Soon you will also be able to use it in conjunction with AskJeeves, eBay, social networks like Linkedin, and job site Monster.