Friday, January 27, 2012

Oolone - A Visual Search Engine That I Can Now Recommend

Earlier this week a few ed tech bloggers reported on a new visual search engine called Oolone. I, of course, had to check it out for myself. I liked what I saw on Oolone except there was one thing that kept me from writing about it. That one thing was a button in the upper-left corner of the homepage that said "adult filter." Yes, Google, Bing, and Yahoo also have adult content filters, but they don't make it so prominent that it screams out to an adolescent "click me! click me! turn me off!" Therefore, I didn't want to share Oolone with you.

Fast forward a few days to this morning when I received an email from one of the founders of Oolone asking me for my feedback. I shared with him, what you just read in the previous paragraph. He wrote back a few minutes later asking for my suggestion on changing the filter setting and location. I replied with a suggestion and not thirty minutes later he wrote back telling me that the changes had been implemented. I'm told you all of that to tell you this, I now think that Oolone is a suitable visual search engine for student use.

Oolone is a search engine that displays results in a four square grid of webpage previews. Rather than getting a list of results that have just a link and a few line summary, Oolone gives you the entire webpage to preview before you click through. Oolone can be used for standard website search, for image search, or news search. If you're the type that likes to use browser plug-ins, Oolone offers a Chrome plug-in.

Applications for Education
Oolone's display could help students sort through search results a bit quicker. Without having to leave the search results page students can view the previews and determine the likelihood that a webpage will be of use to them. This might not be an issue is a 1:1 setting in which students always have access to computers or tablets, but in a school in which students only get to use computers in a lab or library saving a little time on search could be helpful in maximizing their computer use times.