Written by Alex Iskold and edited by Richard MacManus.
wrote about about the Retrevo vertical search engine for electronics. Retrevo is one of the more advanced vertical search engines, because it uses sophisticated mining and crawling technologies. In terms of UI, their aim is to blur the boundaries between a search engine and a portal. Instead of just giving you a list of search results, Retrevo creates the feel of a specialized application which has a semantic understanding of the electronics space.During DEMOfall 06, we
Retrevo is a vertical search engine, so initially what you get is a search box. You can search for anything electronics related, for example Sony Digital Camera. The result is a portal-style page like this:
Retrevo results page
Instead of a single results list that you would get from a traditional search engine like Google, Retrevo automatically groups the results into major categories: Most Popular Results, Manufacturer Info, Reviews and Articles, Forums and Blogs, Daily Deals, and Stores. These groupings are both intelligent and useful, regardless of what you are trying to do. In addition, Retrevo provides a handy preview pane that allows you to see each result without navigating to its page.
Closer look at how the results are organized
If you are shopping for an electronics item, you will find the Reviews and Articles section helpful. This section brings together gadget reviews from places like CNET. If you already own the item, then use the Manufacturer Info section to get access to product manuals. Retrevo told us they have a special crawler focused on enabling just this feature.
Another handy section is Forums and Blogs. You probably will visit it once you need to troubleshoot something - i.e. read up on what other people did when they had the same issues.
In addition to these features, Retrevo recently launched the Daily Deals tab. You can find electronics deals a dime a dozen these days. But the one that comes with Retrevo seems different, because it is context sensitive and fresh. In general, deals are annoying because they blink in your face with things you are not interested in. But if you are shopping for Sony Digital Camera and there is a good deal for that particular brand and item type available, it makes sense to check it out.
Relevancy, semantics and presentation are the things that make Retrevo compelling. Could you do the same (re)search for Sony Digital Camera on Google? Absolutely. But it will take you much longer and you are not going to enjoy the experience. Retrevo proves the case for vertical search in a simple and effective way.
We anticipate that more vertical search engines will excel in relevancy, semantics and presentation in the coming year. But tell us if you agree - take a look at Retrevo and give us your feedback. Also, what vertical search engines (if any) do you use currently?