20 March 2009

Personal Technology: The Jitterbug of Search Engines

Search engines can be overwhelming. And while some people accuse Google of making us stupid, I think the opposite is true. Using Google well is no easier than using a library database well. Strategic thinking is required. But I will admit that sometimes I have wished for a simpler searcher.

And I think that's why so many people go straight to Wikipedia. They want a single source and they don't want the overwhelm of the Google results page. Sometimes, it's just clutter: extraneous sources, advertising, mix of page elements, and scores (or even hundreds) of Next pages.

Here's an in-betweener: a new search engine called duckduckgo.com. Simplicity is its middle name except that would make a really long and difficult URL. You know the Jitterbug commercials for the ultra-simple cell phone marketed to boomer and older generations? Duckduckgo is a lot like that cell phone.

The print is large. Your mouseover highlights the entire block of an entry making for easy clicking. There's no extraneous text on the page. An invitation to more... appears at the end of a short list of results.

The results themselves are pertinent, a lot with Wikipedia straight-forwardness. That's not surprising as Wikipedia is one of the frequent sources. Duckduckgo limits results to sources that are human-edited. So, you'll never (or probably never) find a computer-generated page of links with no content.

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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