New meta-search engine IceRocket reviewed

IceRocket is an apparently new meta-search engine that is privately held. It’s more than your run-of-the-mill meta-search Web site, though. (For those of you not aware of what a meta-search Web site is, it’s a tool that licenses all or part of the search result indices of major algorithmic search engines such as Google, Teoma, WiseNut, and Yahoo!.) It doesn’t just offer Web search results from the aforementioned engines in a loosely organized and compiled fashion (like most do), it presents them in an easy to read and intuitive way. And, it does so without any advertising whatsoever. Presumably, they plan to use that as leverage with schools and universities in licensing their technology and Web site for use by their faculty and pupils. In many respects, IceRocket reminds me of what Google was before Google became a leading Web portal and aggregator of online content.

Some interesting features I noticed, and liked, about IceRocket:

Email A Search – allows users to e-mail three automated IceRocket e-mail addresses to receive search result listings on a given topic. For example, to retrieve Web search results, you would send e-mail to search@icerocket.com with your search query as the subject of the e-mail message. Sending mail with a user-specified subject line to news@icerocket.com and pics@icerocket.com retrieve news headline and image results, respectively.

Snapshots – display small thumbnail images of Web sites to give the user a visual idea of the site’s content. Thumbnails are culled from the index of Amazon.com subsidiary Alexa Internet.

Quick View – creates a mid-size iframe underneath the result title that loads the page without leaving the search results page. It’s similar to a feature offered by the Google Deskbar, except it’s entirely browser based.

Rank – displays the list rank from the various algorithmic indices that IceRocket uses.

As well, of note, IceRocket is being loudly promoted by Broadcast.com founder and outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, as John Battelle mentioned. It was unclear at the time this blog entry was published whether or not Cuban holds an equity stake in IceRocket.

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