Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Snap.com: New Ajax-enabled Search Engine

Category: Showcase

Creativity is required for all web applications these days – everyone wants to find the “next big thing” when it comes to the interface for their site. They want to make people stop, look, and stick around for a while when they see how their site works. One such site, Snap.com is taking this kind of approach with their site – a search engine seeking to provide a bit more information about the pages in your results – all with a good helping of Ajax to give it power.

From the start, the site hits you with Ajax in the form of a “Google suggest” style search box containing some of the popular topics under your search. The select an option from the drop-down or hit the submit button to be taken to your search results and be greeted with a fast-loading page displaying all of the results in a two-pane layout. On the left, the list of site matches for your search term, and on the right, a preview pane showing a cached image of the site you’ve selected. Clicking on the cached image loads the updated site inside the pane (or there’s an option for a new window as well).

It’s an interesting concept for a search engine, but I’m not sure I would be able to use it on a daily basis. Yes, I’ve been spoiled by Google and it’s clean look and simple, easy-to-use interface to move to something that makes me feel more confined than anything. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very impressive interface, and the use of Ajax (and other technologies) is impressive and nice and non-obtrusive, but it might just be too much visually.

See what you think



Posted by Chris Cornutt at 7:14 am
20 Comments

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3.7 rating from 44 votes

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I wonder how useful the image of the page you’ve selected is on the results page. 99% of the time I’m on Google, I don’t know what the site I’m searching for looks like, I’m just looking for some good, relevant information! It is a nice thought – whether it’s useful is another matter…

Comment by Rik Lomas — May 18, 2006

awesome… that’s really cool.
would be very, very cool if google had an interface like that. or: Snap should use the Google engine :)

Comment by neo — May 18, 2006

couldn’t agree with you more.
very cool but no thanks!

Comment by Rikard Askelöf — May 18, 2006

And they warn you: people will have to *get used* to this new way of searching.

Looks like a bloated IE search pane (Ctrl+E) for me ;)

Comment by Philippe — May 18, 2006

The image for result for my web site looks completely messed up. What “browser” are they using to capture the images?

While the theory of being able to see a site before you visit sounds good, the reality is that because the image is old, and out of date it’s less relevant than just taking the user to the site to begin with.

Thanks but no thanks.

Comment by Ed Knittel — May 18, 2006

I think this is a significant step forward for search engines. As someone noted in the snap blog, it’s getting more and more difficult to find content on the web instead of marketing landing pages. The page preview helps you get an idea of what you’re in for when you click a page. The scrolling was a bit slow, though I think that can be fixed. This seems like a smart open-minded group of folks… I’m eager to see what else they come up with.

Comment by Jason — May 18, 2006

I didn’t realize how much I use Firefox’s tabs with google searches until I tried snap because snap doesn’t seem to work very well with tabs.

Normally with google, I’ll right click on an interesting result and have the site load up in a tab in the background while I carry on through the search results. I can’t do that with snap – the displayed url’s are just displayed – ie they’re not links (and you can’t even select the text of the URLs on the right hand side). You have to click on result, wait for a screenshot to appear then right click on the open in new window button on the other side of the page.

So my first impression is very nice eye candy, but it’s not going to be of much use to me.

Comment by Scot — May 18, 2006

I understand it’s cool to have Ajax features to a website but what’s the use this type of searching ? I don’t really understand that. At the technical level, it’s very good but not at the usability level.

Pavan Keely

Comment by Pavan Keely — May 18, 2006

Its a little bit like a university project – its difficult to use and complicates simple, well-established search principles, but uses some new technology.
It is nice, but I personally wouldn’t switch to something that takes longer to load than a Google search. Then again, Google started in university. Some jerk probably said that it was too minimalistic, needs more images, maybe some Flash. It will be interesting to see where it goes.

Comment by Dan — May 18, 2006

I use FF too and this actually SAVES me alot of time. I like tabbed browsing as I can open windows adn then check out the pages. But I don’t need to do that with Snap… i just use my arrow key (never have to take my hand off the key board.) It needs to get faster but I can see the results so much quicker this way. And even if I dont *know* the page I want I can surely see the friggin spam that I can see in google and move along a lot faster. I will definitely use it along with Google.

Comment by Jack Curry — May 18, 2006

Yeah, this doesn’t do much at all for me. When I am searching, I am out to get certain information regardless of what the site looks like.

Projects like this are nice for testing new technologies but when I hold this app against Joshua’s list of reasons why web apps tend to fail, I fear for it’s future.

Nevertheless, the site looks very nice and the implementation of new technology is also very nicely done!

Comment by mattijs naus — May 19, 2006

[…] Ajaxian » Snap.com: New Ajax-enabled Search Engine […]

Pingback by Deep Codes » Snap — New AJAX-based Search Engine — May 21, 2006

Together, we have over 70 years of search experience and way more than 100 years of online marketing and e-commerce experience.

Wow. That’s amazing. Hope they don’t keep making claims like this and completely undermine their credibility.

I think they mean added up. Yeah, it sounds ridicolous if you just read it like that.

Normally with google, I’ll right click on an interesting result and have the site load up in a tab in the background while I carry on through the search results. I can’t do that with snap

Did you try hitting Enter, because Snap does exactly what you are asking for: It opens you page you are currently looking at in a new tab.

I personally think that this is revolutionary. Not necessarily technology-wise (great use of Ajax), but usuability-wise. Snap make research information a lot more efficient for me since I do not have to leave my keyboard and I can preview everything quickly. I just love their user interface. But I am wondering how relevant their search results are, I guess they are not very good since they are so fresh.
I hope Google buys them and let’s me use Snap’s user interface on top of Google search results.
I am also wondering how Snap is going to make any revenue since there is basically no space for ads.

Comment by Hermann Klinke — May 21, 2006

AskAlexia search engine, another ajax-based search engine, fast, better search result, easiest, lots of usabilities. With web, image and video searches available

Comment by ky — May 21, 2006

Abgebloggt

Da sich in meinem Feedreader mittlerweile einige interessante Beiträge mit “Flag” angesammelt haben, liste ich diese hier einfach mal auf:
Syslinx: Sniffing VoIP calls .. – beschreibt, wie einfach doch VoIP abzuhören ist – es wird Zeit, dass SRTP ko…

Trackback by nodomain.cc — May 22, 2006

I hope Google buys them and let’s me use Snap’s user interface on top of Google search results

I think a lot of people would hate that. if you were given the option to have your personalized search use an additional UI (such as this) that would be fine, but I’m pretty sure that google isn’t going to change things too much too fast. Less web-savy people tend to be freaked out by radical UI changes.

Comment by Dan — May 23, 2006

I like how AskAlexia (as spammed above) is the perfect example of how to mimic the behaviour of the web, but then stick a 2.0 on it to make it sound important. Using AJAX to update a single DIV with search results instead of posting back to the server does not deserve the term AJAX-based. I’ve watched pole-vaulting on TV before. Does that make me a pole-vaulter? Pretty soon AJAX is going to have as much meaning as the word synergy (if people keep tagging in onto every piece of crap they publish).
The second word of this post was randomly generated by an AJAX call to the *.gov time server, which was used to seed another AJAX call to my own web service that searched for a context-appropriate word to return (using JSON). Or maybe I typed it …

Comment by Dan — May 23, 2006

[…] Read Full Post: Snap.com – New Ajax-enabled Search Engine Posted by jason Filed in Snap Site […]

Pingback by Snaplist » Blog Archive » Ajaxian: Snap.com - New Ajax-enabled Search Engine — May 23, 2006

found your blog after searching Google for voip carrier

Comment by voip router — June 13, 2006

she’s as slooow as a slow boat to china

search should be fast, going the flash route show lacks of complete understanding of search drivers

Comment by dude — July 6, 2006

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