Thursday, January 7, 2010

Factbites: Where results make sense

Factbites is a new way to search the internet. It is described as "what happens when you combine a search engine with an encyclopedia".

It is definitely a different way to search for information. Instead of listing a bunch of web sites that have your search terms in them, it lists sentences and paragraphs from sites that are related to your search. The search results are also grouped by sites and related topics. Many of the sentences and paragraphs are a definition to your search term. This can be useful for just needing to quickly look something up.

There were some quirks to it. I typed in "electron" as a search and it changed the search to "electronics." When I searched for "Twitter" it had no results at all.

Here is a screenshot for a search for "pedagogy". You can see how the results are much different than a Google search. (Bing is blocked here at school because inappropriate content can be seen on the search results page of Bing, even if the referring site is blocked. This includes porn videos that will play in the search results page!)

I think that this is a good addition to different search engines and can be used to look up a definition or other information. It is still in Beta so it is not fully refined yet.

You could also use it to teach students about search engines and different ways to find information online.


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