Home Ambiently: A Search Engine in a Bookmarklet

Ambiently: A Search Engine in a Bookmarklet

To be precise, Ambiently is not actually a search engine, it’s a “web discovery engine.” What’s the difference? A search engine answers your manually typed-in query with a list of links, but a discovery engine provides relevant content directly related to the web page you’re currently viewing. At least that’s how the company behind Ambiently describes their new search tool. However, since Ambiently also returns a list of links we think it’s fine if you want to call it a search engine.

Naming aside, what’s interesting about this search tool is that it’s not a destination site you have to remember to visit. Instead, you activate your searches by just clicking on an Ambiently bookmarklet to launch a page of related links.

From the Ambiently homepage, you can drag and drop the provided bookmarklet up to your browser’s bookmarks toolbar. Once it’s there, you can click on it from any web page you’re viewing to see a list of related content on the “ambient page” that appears. If you want to switch back to the original web page, you simply click the bookmarklet again.

Ambiently is the kind of tool that will work best when you’re looking at a page about a fairly specific topic, not when you want to see suggestions of other sites like the one you’re on. For example, clicking on the bookmarklet from the homepage of ReadWriteWeb.com didn’t refer us to similar blogs, but rather displayed links where ReadWriteWeb was mentioned and linked to, such as on NetVibes, FriendFeed, and Technorati. However, when clicking on the bookmarklet from the recent ReadWriteWeb post about OrSiSo, we were shown a couple of links of other blogs that had also written about the same topic.

According to the help section of Ambiently’s web site, you should be able to modify the query displayed on the ambient page by adding or removing keywords and then clicking “update.” But in our tests using Ambiently in both Firefox and Chrome on a number of pages, the section of the page where the actual query displays is no where to be seen. Our guess is that the company has removed this feature to make Ambiently even easier to use, which would make sense, but have neglected to update their web site accordingly.

That said, Ambiently could still end up being useful, especially when researching unique topics which you’re having trouble locating through traditional search engine queries. But before we can say that this search tool will actually become a part of our daily routine, we’ll have to live with it for a bit longer .

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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