Home Allth.at Launches Innovative Search Agents App

Allth.at Launches Innovative Search Agents App

was one of the
100 top alternative search engines
in Charles Knight’s February list. It’s a
search agent that allows you to define a search topic, then refine it with the
use of filters, and finally subscribe to it via email or RSS. It’s similar in
many respects to PubSub, the now defunct ‘future search’ engine that I was a fan
of. I got the chance to catch up with Allth.at
founder Morgan Snyder recently, to find out more.

How Allth.at works

When you go to Allth.at, it at
first looks like a normal search engine. This is a good thing, as it means the
UI is simple and intuitive (something PubSub never achieved). First you input
your desired search – say “web 3.0” 😉 Then you filter, either by
using the search sources tabs (made up of common search sources like Google,
Yahoo, eBay) or by applying graphical boolean filters, i.e. the drop-down boxes
on the left. You can add content sources by clicking the ‘Add’ tab – for example you
can add readwriteweb.com
as a source (as I did for the example below). And with the drop-down boxes, you can filter words in or out –
including clicking on the ‘specify’ link to add your own terms.

After you’re done filtering, you can save your search and choose an alert if
required (note: you need to register for an account first). While you can simply
come back to the website every now and then and check the latest results of your
“saved searches”, it’s easiest to subscribe to an alert. This of
course automates the delivery of new search results, using two methods –
subscribe to email notifications, or RSS feeds.

You can also filter your saved searches at any time – and this automatically
updates the alerts (email, feed). Morgan told me that Allth.at
can also filter out the duplicates.

Web 3.0 Goodness

Morgan pointed out to me that Allth.at is a good example of what Alex Iskold
wrote about in his recent popular post Web
3.0: When Web Sites Become Web Services
. That post was about what kind of applications
will be born once many APIs are opened up (it wasn’t about defining ‘web 3.0’,
as some commenters claimed). Morgan says that Allth.at is a good example of what
Alex was driving at: 

“Allth.at‚Äôs goal is to integrate every searchable
API in existence. Obviously every website does not have an API. So instead of
scraping, we have taken a hierarchical approach that uses a combination of APIs,
RSS and ‚Äúindexed‚Ä? results (equivalent of a site: search on google or yahoo).
When a user selects a source to search, we check to see if that site has an API.
If so, chances are we have integrated it and will use it. If not, we’ll check
to see if that site has a searchable RSS feed. If so, we’ll use that. If
not, then we‚Äôll deliver results off of the index of one of the big engines.”


Allth.at is not alone in the market segment which Charles Knight has called
“Continuous Search Engines”. In our February Alt Search Engine list,
we noted Swamii, which continually search
newspapers, TV, the web (and more) to let
you know
when new, relevant and cool stuff arrives. There is also Searchbots.net,
which gives you your own personal search robot – to continuously search the Internet, trying to find all the best websites it can, on your behalf.

You could also consider Google Alerts in this category,
since they can be set to “continuous” alerts also.

I asked Morgan what is the difference between Allth.at
and the competition. He told me that usability and ease-of-use is what differentiates
allth.at and noted
that even Google CSE and Rollyo don’t deliver custom search results ‘on the
fly’. Morgan told me that another key differentiator from other “custom engine
providers” is that Allth.at’s results “are more real time”. He

“For example, Google‚Äôs CSE
delivers results off of their index. Rollyo I believe is powered by Yahoo.
Because we use APIs, RSS and then index, Allth.at returns the most current
results first.”

Morgan explained how this works, using my example of searching for the term
“web 3.0”. If you use Googles CSE and
select readwriteweb.com as a source, it would be the equivalent of doing a ‘site:
search’ on Google. If you use Rollyo, and select readwriteweb.com as a source, it‚Äôs
the equivalent of doing a ‘site: search’ on Yahoo. Depending on when Google or
last updated their index, they may or may not pick up the latest results (e.g.
Alex’s article). With Allth.at, it first searches the RSS feed for readwriteweb.com
(because this site doesn‚Äôt have an API), which would therefore pick up Alex’s
web 3.0 article. Allth.at delivers indexed results on top of that too. Here is
an illustration of this exact scenario:


Overall, Allth.at is a very
easy to use search agent and outputs some nice ‘topic feeds’ for users to
subscribe to in their RSS Readers. An easy-to-use, yet sophisticated and
reliable, ‘topic search’ service is
something I’ve been looking for a long time – and Allth.at
looks very promising in that regard.

Today Allth.at takes the covers
off their relatively stealth company (well it was stealth until Charles
discovered it!). It’s a bootstrapped little startup, with just 3 people. They
took the splash page down just under a month ago and today is the launch of Allth.at‘s
“live beta”. Color me impressed, but check it out for yourself and let
us know what you think.

Note: thanks Charles
for his help in writing this article.

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