Social Search tries to improve the relevancy of search results by utilizing a collaborative approach that includes editing and voting on results. Zakta is not yet-another-search-engine that tries in vain to compete with the Google and Bing behemoths. Rather, think of Zakta as a personalized “research assistant” that delivers unique benefits for deeper informational and social network search results than standard search engines.
Zakta differs from traditional search engines in these key areas:
- Personalize and edit your search results
- Automatically save your search results
- Share your saved search results as a social network search with others as Guides
- Collaborate on a search with family or colleagues, just like you do on shared documents
If you are searching for quick factoids of information, you are better served by traditional search engines. However, if you’re planning a vacation or trip, researching a health ailment, exploring the best affordable university to get a degree, or similar broad topics, Zakta shines by beating the thousands of irrelevant links you get in Google or Bing.
The How Zakta Can Help page details the different benefits of Zakta for teachers, students, travelers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, etc. You can use Zakta as a casual surfer, but to get access to all the features, you need to register.
Ready? Let’s take Zakta for a spin and explore its features.
Organized Search Results
A search for “swine flu” quickly led me to choose the “2009 flu pandemic” organized set of results discarding the “1976 swine flu outbreak”. The search results are organized into sections, listed on the left. In this case, we see Reference, Web Sites, Books and Articles, etc. for swine flu. Observe that we also see sections of Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment, as if Zakta “knows” that this is a medical condition.
Zakta “knows” about 3 million such informational topics already, so you will find sections meaningful to your search for every search term.
Personalized Search: Editing Results
There are many useful things you can do with the search results. Roll over your mouse over any result to get a mini-toolbar of actions you can perform on that result.
Delete results you don’t want to see again, use drag and drop to reorder results, and annotate or recommend a result. The personal ClipPad is your clipboard that remembers clipped results across related searches.
Share your results as a Guide
You can share your personalized results to create and publish a Zakta Guide. You can choose the sections to include, apply predefined templates, and include related searches as you wish. Once you create a guide, you can easily link to it, share it over email or on any social network. Your guide is shown to other Zakta users, who can recommend it. You can also invite your trusted friends or colleagues to collaborate on a Guide. Finally, a widget lets you embed your guide on your website or blog. You can also create a guide from scratch using the Guide Creator.
While Zakta is still in Beta, hundreds of Guides have already been developed by its users. From the Guides page, you can see popular guides, recently updated guides, or browse through them by subject, title, etc. Published Guides are even accessible from within Facebook with the Zakta Guides for Facebook app.
Zakta Tools: Search Packs and Firefox Plugin
The Zakta Firefox plugin allows you to clip anything from any web page directly to your Zakta ClipPad or Guide. Zakta SearchPacks give you access to a plethora of web search engines in tabs for different types of searches. SearchPacks are available for Web, News, Blogs, Discussions, Images, Videos and Health. For example, the Web SearchPack gives you access to Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, etc.
There are social networking search features built into Zakta as well, if you wish to build a trusted network of friends and keep yourself up-to-date with new search results or guides in your areas of interest.
Will you try out Zakta? Do you find it better for researching topics? We would love to hear your feedback in the comments!