A reader has asked me to share some information on a meta search engine named IceRocket. So what I did was compare the results for a single search phrase, web design, between the most popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves). I have attached the results in this ice rocket comparison excel file. Funny how very few of the top results match across any of those engines. So you know IceRocket uses results from WiseNut, Yahoo, MSN, Teoma, Altavista, Alltheweb, Lycos and others.
Where IceRocket differentiates itself from the other meta engines is its interface. The most noticeable option is the "snapshots" view, defaulted on, where you can see a small snapshot of the page indexed - I believe this is from Alexa's database. IceRocket has placed very useful links that pertain those specific pages, including an "Archives" link that jumps you off to the Way Back Machine for that result, here is an example of OSWD's archives. In addition, it allows you to get a "QuickView", similar to how Ask's Binoculars Preview worked. Here is an example screen image of the QuickView for OSWD. Also make sure to catch the "related searches" on the right of the page and the "blog results" directly under the related searches. There is no doubt that blog results are going to be a major component of search in the future. On some of the results, you will also see Directory listings by Yahoo! and Lycos, more on that in my email interview with Blake Rhodes from IceRocket.
Roundtable: Please tell me about your background and why you developed IceRocket.com? Blake Rhodes: I developed it last year when I was in college. I felt there were some things that I could do that would make searching the web easier and more fun, so I did them. At the time I was living in Fort Worth, TX and I was a senior at TCU, since I have moved to Dallas where IceRocket is located. There are still many things we feel the other engines aren't doing and we will be constantly adding features to our site.
Roundtable: Can you tell us a little bit about what features you have added to the engine that other search engines are not doing? Blake Rhodes: Snapshots, quick view, Alexa Info, Archives. We have a "find a friend feature" . We use some different image sources that other don't use. We want to give our users every tool we can that will make finding where they want to go easier.
Roundtable: I tend to like some of those options. May I ask which engine powers the main results? I assume you pull the snapshots from Alexa? I like how you put category listings at the bottom to both Yahoo and Lycos, why not the ODP? Blake Rhodes: We have several engines that power our main search. The directory categories is something we have just recently been working on, like in the last day or so, we are doing a lot of testing and we won't know exactly what direction we are going with that for a week or so.
Roundtable: When you say you have several engines power your results. Do you then have an algorithm above those results that you use to combine and present the IceRocket.com results? Can you give us any detail on those results and why you feel that they are more relevant? Blake Rhodes: Yes we have our own algorithm that sorts the results.
Roundtable: A couple more questions for you...Your About us page (http://www.icerocket.com/c?p=about) says "is a global leader in commercial search services on the Internet." Would you say that your trying to focus on the commercial side of search? What I mean by that, do you want to have more results containing services then information? Example, search on a "camera" - do you want sites that sell cameras to come up or sites that have camera reviews/how to build cameras to come up? Blake Rhodes: In the long run, I want both. There will be people looking both to buy things such as cameras and also those looking to gather information. We want to be able to accommodate both types of users. We are a work in progress Barry, we aren't perfect but we are getting better every day:)
Roundtable: Thank you very much for your time. Blake Rhodes: Thanks Barry. I took a look at your site and I like it. You have a new reader!!