Home > Method, Observations > Task based search – using the right tool for finding the right information.

Task based search – using the right tool for finding the right information.

There are multiple ways today to find information on the web. There are different kind of information to search for. The  search task experienced could be overwhelming, frustrating, long and tiring or fun, efficient and successful. It is helpful to think through the search keywords, the search objectives, the type of information and the source of the information beforehand. I listed in this post my most frequently used searching tools. I also added a table mapping some of the possible search tasks to the tool that I think is the best for accomplishing it. 

My top 9 search engines:

  1. Google – what did you expect?
  2. Del.icio.us – the social bookmarking web site
  3. Twitter search (formerly Summize)- dipping into Twitter’s archives
  4. Twingly – spam free information stored in blogs
  5. Technorati – blogs, tags, rank
  6. Delver – social graph and search engine
  7. Xoost – social search engines
  8. Stumpedia– social search engines
  9. LinkedIn – yes, the networking tool

Mapping search tasks to proper search tool

Task Search tool Notes
Terms and buzz words (Google is my Wikipedia index), maps and directions, images, stock tickers, businesses near me, product, spelling and idioms check, time (around the world), and more Google I usually start my searches here.
  • Searching for free stuff for real.
  • Searching for technical information (software, in my line of duty).
  • When I get too many poor results from Google.
Del.icio.us Google just fail when you type the word “free”. You get too many results promoting non-free stuff. I found out multiple times that I can find the best results using this web site. The wisdom of the crowd works for me in this case.
  • What is hot now?
  • Does anybody care about a cartain subject (yes, including me or my stuff)?
  • Is it a good/bad product (movie, computer, etc…)?
Twitter search  Don’t leave the first page too quickly. By Examining the Trending Topics I just know what’s on people’s minds today. It is sometime requires to drill down to the conversationitself to understand the listed term (by clicking the link).
  • What is hot now in the rest of the world (outside US)?
  • When I’m tired of spam from Google search results.
Twingly Twingly’s “Hot right now” list is a little biased towards Europe – and that’s a good thing.
It is early but they recently added Blog profile so in the future I will use it looking for blog information.
  • Blog information like: post reaction, tag cloud (getting general impression about this blog connect).
  •  Location in the blogsphere looking at its rank and authority.
  • Top 100 blogs
  • What’s “percolating” now?
Technorati  I rarely use the tags searching capability for content. Maybe I should use it more – not sure.
Who’s connected with whom through whom? Delver  It is just the beginning so it is not as rich as other more matured search engines but in the multiple times that I used it to actually search for information (not connections) I got excellent and very clean results.
I tried using it for searching information about individuals too and I got LinkedIn bio info.
  • Who knows how to search well?
  • Tell me something that I don’t know.
  • Show me something that I did not see before.
  • Recommend me something.
Xoost and Stumpedia These two covers the “I don’t know what that I don’t know” problem.I can also look at what other people are searching and like about other peoples search results.
  • Searching about a candidate.
  • I did not do it myself but a friend told me that he can learn a lot about companies’ business development activity through LinkedIn. I guess by monitoring target people’s new connections info.
  • If you are looking for a job it is also a great tool to learn about the new employer.
  • The Q&A section is a fantastic way to learn new stuff (and what people care about).
LinkedIn One of the first thing that I do once I get a new resume is to check this candidate’s profile page in LinkedIn. I can also check to see if we are somehow connected.

I hope that by writing this post I can help people to become aware of their search activity and the available options today on the web. I will be happy to hear about more search tasks, objectives and tools.

  1. Chris
    July 28, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    If you like these social tools you might check out Me.dium’s new offering. A social search engine that doesn’t use voting or commenting to compile the most relevant search results. To become an influencer of these results, simply download one of their social toolbars or sidebars.

    Me.dium’s Social Search, which leverages the Yahoo! Search BOSS platform, provides an entirely new level of information on top of traditional search. Me.dium’s Social Search harnesses the activity of the crowds to let you find information that has relevance based on what people are actually surfing right now.

    Me.dium’s technology lets the inherent activity of real people – not robotic crawlers – determine relevance. Me.dium’s Social Search results show what people are surfing and find interesting, right now. While other search engines base relevance on how content links across pages, Me.dium’s Social Search shows you the most popular news, reviews, pictures and videos that other people are actually looking at in relation to your search term. And as the activity of the people online changes, so do the search results.

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