Its Gada.Be the First Metasearch Engine Powered by RSS

 
 
By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-10-10
 
 
 
The first metasearch engine to be powered by the efficient fuel of RSS technology, Gada.be, went live on Monday.

Gada.be strips away the multiple layers necessary to search, which is particularly painful for those attempting to visit a Web site over a mobile device.

Instead of plugging in a URL for a search engine, then visiting each page in search results, visitors can merely type in their search term as a subdomain with "gada.be" at the end.

What results is a savable, transportable URL whose results are constantly refreshed, as the search results are returned in RSS feeds.

The engine is the brainchild of Chris Pirillo, a multifaceted technology journalist, author and creator of the award-winning Lockergnome series of online publications. Developer Shayne Sweeney is the technical brains behind Gada.be.

Pirillo told eWEEK.com that his PlayStation portable was one example of the inspiration behind the engine.

"Dude, its like video crack," he said. "The browser worked kind of well, but try to go to a Web site and look for something and wait for it to load. I thought, This is a pain in the ass. So I thought, Whats easy to type in? I thought, gada, then be, who the hells got a .be domain? Its, like, Belgium."

"Gada.be" translates, on the number pad on most cell phones and PSPs, to 4232.2233.

"Its a minimum amount of keystrokes," Pirillo said. "To save more, you put the query as the subdomain. You type in without having to worry about Forward slash, before, after, point, what? …Hows that go again?"

Compare that with what its like searching on a mobile device. Not fun, Pirillo said.

"If youve ever tried to visit a Web site over a mobile device, you know its a pain in the knuckle," Pirillo wrote in the sites "about" section.

"Normally, when you want to find something online, you have to choose a Web site (wait for the page to load) enter the query (wait for the second page to load) then see results from that provider," he wrote. With "Gada.be," you insert the query as the subdomain.

"Then, theres having to visit several sites just to get the results you want. Often, this isnt feasible when youre on the go.

"Even when youre sitting with a laptop or chained to a desktop, its still a time-consuming process. We all love the individual search services, so why not bring em together?"

Moreover, results are dynamically output in OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language), an XML-based format that allows exchange of outline-structured information between applications running on different operating systems and environments.

OPML was created by Dave Winer, a cofounder of the RSS spec and founder of Weblogs.com, a ping service that VeriSign Inc. last week announced it is acquiring.

Click here to read more about VeriSigns acquisition of Weblogs.com.

OPML is one of the aspects of Gada.be that make it stand out from existing metasearch engines.

After adding /opml to the end of a search string, Gada.be populates the keyword in the OPML file in appropriate places so its automatically populated in existing RSS URLs.

That means that all the RSS URLs are built for users and can easily be popped into their favorite newsreaders, such as FeedDemon, Technorati or the like.

The OPML serves as a constantly refreshed carrier of a query thats easy to take from one source to another and which is updated as often as RSS feeds go out.

At this point, Gada.be is searching some 140 databases, including all the biggies: Yahoo, Google, MSN, Amazon.com, for example.

Pirillo said he and Sweeney are open to taking any and all comers who are putting their search content out in RSS form.

But, at this point, not many are doing so, Pirillo said.

Google, for example, is only represented in Gada.bes blog search, since the company isnt outputting search results in RSS.

Yahoo, in contrast, is leading the pack with RSS, he said. But even Yahoo, which just launched a Podcast search service, omitted to put its results out in RSS form.

Pirillo talked to an acquaintance at Yahoo and said he expects the company to remedy the situation soon.

As a matter of fact, Pirillo talked two sites into outputting in RSS, and he expects to convert more.

After all, he said, hes doing this for the common good: to make search results easy, transparent, accessible, easily viewed on desktops or mobile devices from the same URL, whether or not users know RSS from a hole in the ground.

"This could be disruptive," he said. "Im almost hoping it will be. …. The fact I was able to get two people to output their queries in RSS, that will help how many people out there? It will enable more many applications out there?"

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