Update 22/7/2011: Gada.be has been discontinued.
It started out dead simple. Just one search box, and results which were far better than anything anyone ever had at the time. Armed with that, Google has established itself in a very short time as the corner stone of ‘search’, the index of the internet, and an entity some might consider to be Microsoft’s greatest rival.
So who can match the mighty Google?
Google’s search algorithms rely a lot on incoming links as a basis to determine the importance of a page, which in turns determines the listing order of results everytime you do a search. So effective is this methodology that most people just overlook every other search engine.
Over the years though, the internet has become more and more fragmented, and it has become harder to implement the “One Search To Rule Them All” policy which Google has always thrived on. Google responded by branching out into different facets of search which included specialised searching for images, news, and blogs.
The result? – While Google’s specialised searches are reasonably powerful, it is rarely considered to be the most optimal. Dedicated services like Flickr (images), Technorati (blogs) give users much better results, making Google look merely convenient rather than truly effective anymore.
Got to be Gada.be
Convenience however, is extremely important from a user standpoint. Not many people enjoy categorising what they want to search for, and then deciding which site is most relevant to their needs. They just want to type in something into a searchbox, and let everything else worry about itself.
Enter Gada.be. Brainchild of Chris Pirillo, the ex Tech-TV host of ‘Call For Help‘, and the man behind LockerGnome, and Gnomedex. This ‘little search engine that could’ is gaining a lot of fans in the tech community, and has become a firm favourite of mine, addressing key issues with Google.
Issue #1: The need to combine the effectiveness of specialised search engines like Flickr and Technorati, with the convenience of Google
As highlighted, convenience is just as important as good search results. Gada.be gets around this problem by:
- Scraping the front pages of different types of search engines with your search query – eg. the front page of MSN search, Flickr, Technorati etc.
- Consolidating results on a single page – Everything is brought together under one roof
At last count gada.be had access to 140+ search engines. (It figures out which is the most relevant to display to you), so the results are rich, and the service is fast as well.
To demonstrate the vast difference in quality, I did a quick search on ‘Nokia’.
These were the front page top 10 results for Google. They were of course not arranged in an any particular order.
- 5 Official Nokia sites from different countries
- 2 Pages about Nokia Mobile Phones
- 1 Nokia mobile gaming site
- 1 Nokia forum site
- 1 Nokia Wikipedia entry
Now these are the front page results from Gada.be
- 10 MSN search results which were just as useful as the Google search results delivered earlier
- 10 news results each from Google News and Yahoo News for the latest news events surrounding Nokia
- 10 blog search results each for the Icerocket, Google Blogs Search, Technorati so you know what the general public has been recently writing about Nokia.
- 10 shopping search results from Amazon.com about Nokia related products
- 10 technology focused results from Digg.com
- 10 thumbnails pictures of Nokia phones via Flickr
- 10 auction results (eBay and others) about Nokia related products.
All of which were neatly categorised and arranged on a single page. Power searches wihout losing any convenience.
Issue #2: The need for a better Mobile phone search
The main problems with mobile internet is that it is usually slow and costly – Unless you’re on EVDO, Edge or 3G high speed mobile internet services. In which case, it’s fast and costly.
- Gada.be tackles this one way by ensuring that you only need to load up one web page (see issue #1 above), and that you don’t waste time typing (which is slow and painful on a mobile) in URLs or loading up multiple sites.
- gada.be is also very easy to type on a mobile phone – Try it!
- Gada.be also supports user friendly search URLS. You don’t have to visit gada.be to start searching from there. You can type in your search query right into the URL bar on your mobile!
Let’s focus a bit on the last point listed above.
Using the same ‘Nokia’ example I can type in gada.be/nokia or nokia.gada.be directly into the URL bar. Which saves me loading and typing time. When you’re on snail paced GPRS like me , and using a Nokia 3650 with the keypad from hell, this is incredibly useful.
You can do the same with google, by typing in the following: google.com./search?q=nokia but it’s much less intuitive, and difficult to type on a mobile device.
Issue #3: The need for ability to track search results
It’s no secret that Chris Pirillo is a big big fan of RSS ( as I am too). Naturaly everything on this site can be subscribed to. This means that you can have a list of favourite searches and track any changes to search results without even having to visit the site. Look for the OPML link at the bottom of the screen for an aggregated feed. Of course, Individual search engine results are also available, if you prefer that.
What else do I like about it?
Gada.be also drills down into very specialised searches, and you get the results based on similliar concepts described above. For example, drilling down on Nokia photos, yielded me front page thumbnail results from Yahoo images, Flickr and 7 other image services. Truly one photo search to rule them all.
My Gripe: No Google or Yahoo basic searches
If there’s one ‘problem’ with Gada.be, it’s that I am truly biased against MSN search. I don’t really have a good reason, but I would have much rather prefered results from Google/Yahoo to show up rather than MSN, which is what is happening now.
Having said that, I think it has to be noted that competing search engines have closed the gap very well. You might not feel that way but, try this Search Engine Blind Test, and you might be surprised how often you ‘prefer’ Non-Google search results.
I tried this test five times and ended up picking Yahoo twice, MSN Search (!!!) twice and Google only once… and bear in mind I’m a big big Google fan.
Gada.be vs Google
On my mobile, I exclusively use Gada.be for reasons stated above, but as a longtime Google user on the desktop I still have withdrawal symthoms, and I use Gada.be to supplement rather than replace Google results.
All in all, even in it’s early stages Gada.be seems to one up Google, and represents the closest thing to “One Search To Rule Them All”. It defintately looks to be one search engine to watch for the future especially if it ever intergrates Google.com basic search into it’s results.
If you’re using Firefox, you can add the Gada.be search engine into Firefox Smart Search (The searchbox on the top right of the browser).
Chris Pirillo’s Blog post on Gada.be
Update 30th March 2006: Gada.Be has been renamed as tagjag.com
This post has been mentioned by Chris Pirillo
“Taking On Google On It’s Own Turf – One of the best, and most comprehensive reviews of Gada.be to date. Color me very impressed / thrilled…”
…and was also mentioned on his personal blog.