In-Depth Look: Clusty

Compiled by Trudi Jacobson

Clusty was developed in 2004 by the software company Vivisimo in order to provide a search service "robust enough to handle the variety of information the everyday web user was after." Clusty is a metasearch engine: it crawls special sources such as the Reuters news service, the New York Times and Wikipedia, but relies on multiple search engines (Open Directory, Live, Gigablast, and Ask) to crawl the web.

Clusty clusters its search results on the left hand side of the results page. This can provide an excellent thematic map of the subject, and allows you to narrow your results in a quick and meaningful way. Clusters can also be fine-tuned, depending upon the type of results you are viewing. Options for web results include results divided by individual search engines and sites and site domains (which makes it easy to select just those results from .edu sites, for example). Search results can also be narrowed by a number of categories beyond the default option (which is the web) using tabs: news, images, Wikipedia, blogs, and more. You are able to customize your tabs to only those you use most often.

Other benefits include being able to preview a site right within the search results, opt to open a site in a new browser window, and highlight the cluster where that result appears, in order to find other results related to the one you selected. You can also easily select the font size you prefer. Clusty has a very clean, uncluttered look. Clusty respects your privacy and does not store personal search details.

While Clusty does display "sponsored results" (i.e., ads) for some searches, they are clearly labeled as such. The advanced search options are very basic.

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