Enhancing Page Search Engines

Web search engines can deliver a list of relevant results within milliseconds. We know that the information we are looking for probably hides behind one of these search results, but the problem is how to extract it as quick as possible.  In our previous post we discussed the concept of a page search engine; a tool that basically helps you find information within a given web page.

Your browser's built-in search function is a good example of a page search engine. And it's also probably the only example, at least until browseye came into the picture.

Browseye is a browser toolbar that lets you search for specific information inside a web page. You simply type in the toolbar what you are looking for and then you see how some parts of the web page fade out. Those are the parts that do not contain what you are looking for. The parts of the page that are left untouched are those which may contain information relevant to your query. 

Thus, with browseye you don’t need to process so much textual information and you can find faster, with less effort and more reliably what you are looking for. Browseye also tells you whether the links in the web page are relevant. That is, if they will take you to pages with relevant information. This way you don’t have to bother and visit those links which are not marked as relevant.

Let’s see all this with an example. Assume that you are on Nasa's website looking for information about the planet Mars. Well, you’ve certainly landed on the right page, it sure contains a lot of information on Mars. But where is it?

To answer this question you’ll typically have to read a little bit here and there, make a few clicks and you’ll eventually find something about Mars. This will cost you time, effort, and you’ll never know if somewhere behind an unclicked link there was a valuable article on Mars. That is, of course, unless you click on all of the links you see on the page, which doesn’t seem to be an intelligent strategy.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a tool that tells you which text paragraphs speak about Marks and which links hide information about this planet?

That’s precisely what browseye does. After introducing the term “mars” in the toolbar: 
  •  Text paragraphs that do not contain the word “mars” are faded out. 
  •  Links with a yellow background point to pages that contain the word “mars”. You can explore the menus and just focus on the links that are relevant to your search.

One of the design principles of browseye is to make it nonintrusive. To return to the original page view you just have to press ESC; and if you don’t need browseye for now, just close it.

So, if you do use the search function from your browser, you’ll find in browseye a very powerful tool to save your time. And if you don’t use it, press CTRL-f in your browser or install browseye and welcome to the world of page search engines!

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