10 new search tools that complement Google

Search engines get to grips with Web 2.0

Gazaro: Your personal shopper

A number of services already search the web for good deals on your behalf. Gazaro looks like it could be a solid addition by offering not just deals, but an analysis of just how good those deals are.

Gazaro, which is free and open to all, analyses the price history of a product and tells you whether the price a site is offering is a really good deal or not, based on how prices have been in the past. In other words, £849 for a particular flat-screen TV may be the best deal you can get now, but it's not a very good deal if the same TV was £700 a month ago. With that kind of information, you may decide to wait for the price to go down again.

Gazaro rates deals on a 1-10 scale, with a score of 8 or 9 meaning buy it now. The temptation for a site like this, of course, is to rate all the deals as great to push sales and reap more commissions. My very fast look at the site showed lots of ratings that were 5 or lower, though, so I hope we can depend on them to resist grade inflation. Sadly it's currently only available for US-based shopping sites at the moment.

Ensembli: news that reads your mind

Sign up for an Ensembli account (it's free), and the service will ask you what you're interested in. Type in subjects like tennis, and it'll give you a list of recent news stories.

The interesting part comes as you work with the site over time: it keeps track of what types of stories you read or starred and gives you more of those. It's supposed to eliminate the kinds of stories you've deleted.

Eventually, according to the developers, Ensembli should figure out that you're mostly interested in tips on how to play tennis better rather than in reports of the latest results at pro tournaments.

It's impossible to tell how well the system works without giving it more time, but the early search results seem slightly primitive: typing in technology, for instance, only yields stories with the word technology in the headline, missing lots of stories that talk about technology, but don't happen to include it in the headline.

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Edward N. Albro

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