Decipho officially launched on December 14th after having been available since October. It’s an interesting search engine because it takes the concept of social search another stage further, while at the same time offering very useful personalisation.
There are lots of things that you can do with it, but I would recommend registering and then uploading a list of your bookmarks to start you off. Unfortunately these have to be from your browser, rather than any other bookmarking services at the moment. Once you’ve done that, take a look at the search interface itself. Very straightforward, following the Google model of having little on the screen other than the search box, although Decipho is offering a couple of interesting extras – a shops/services box and research/info box with a slider bar underneath.
If you start with a straightforward search your results are pulled out and made available in 2 columns. The left hand one gives a maximum of 40 ‘regular results’ while the right is a collection of ‘my results’. The set of ‘my results’ is based on websites that feature in your uploaded listing of bookmarks (and what a useful way to find material that you’ve lost in there!), and it will also find any websites that you’ve previously ranked, and those will be added as well.
Users are able to categorise websites into the shopping/research categories previously mentioned or into personal categories that they can create for themselves. These categories also appear when a user runs a search, to another way of limiting results.
So far, so good, but there is more with this particular search engine.
Once a search has been run, users are prompted with options to expand a search with various suggested terms, although ‘expand’ really isn’t quite accurate, as a lot of the suggestions will actually narrow a search very quickly.
Searchers can also use the the slider bar to manipulate their results even more. This is the ‘social meter’ which allows you to select what percentage a websites user ranking for a specific category must be equal or greater than. To be honest, I’ve read and re-read the description of how this is supposed to work, and I still don’t fully understand it, and when I tried it out it seemed to have no effect at all. Hopefully you will have better luck!
Another nice feature that I liked was the ability for website owners to claim their sites, and add their own information. This can best be seen by doing a search for decipho and clicking on the ‘owners message’ under the result.
All told, it’s an interesting approach to marrying together social and personalised search options . If you have a spare 5 minutes it’s worth trying out.
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