RealTime IT News

MetaCrawler Gets 'Googled'

One of the oldest search properties on the Internet is turning to one of the newest for a second shot at fame.

MetaCrawler re-launched Wednesday with the help of Mountain View, Calif.-based search upstart Google.

Bellevue, Wash.-based InfoSpace, Inc. , which owns MetaCrawler as well as Excite, Dogpile and WebCrawler announced the deal with Google to pad the search results on its properties.

MetaCrawler works by querying a number of existing, free search engines, organizes the results into a uniform format, and displays them. With the MetaCrawler, users also have the option of scoring the hits, so that the sorted list that is displayed can be sorted by a number of different ways, such as locality, region, and organization.

The new MetaCrawler returns results from leading search companies and properties, including Google, FAST, Overture, About, Ask Jeeves, FindWhat, LookSmart, Inktomi and SearchHippo.

In addition, InfoSpace said its meta-search technology will also include results from the Google Sponsored Links Program, a paid advertising service that complements Google's objective search results with targeted text-based advertising listings.

Currently, the two biggest players in the paid inclusion space are Google and Overture , but more and more search-related companies are developing business models around pay-to-place to stay in the game.

"Today's MetaCrawler is much improved and we believe that our users will agree, as the enhancements are directly tied to their feedback," said InfoSpace executive vice president, Wireline and Broadband York Baur. "Our Web Search team continues to improve our products and the fast, relevant results they deliver. The re-launch of MetaCrawler, as well as the addition of Google to the engines we search, are the latest examples of our efforts."

The new MetaCrawler is also sporting a new design including a meta-search engine homepage and Web search results pages that are cleaner and easier-to-use and advertising components that InfoSpace says are fewer, more targeted and less obtrusive.

InfoSpace also pledged that its WebCrawler property would remain pop-up and banner advertising free, following a six-week trial.

"Our users responded by using WebCrawler more often, which enables us to keep the site pop-up and banner advertising free," said Baur. "We know that Internet users want more relevant and comprehensive results delivered to them faster. The combination of an ad-free Web site and increased usage by our users allows us to provide that."

The partnership of seemingly rival search engine properties InfoSpace and Google is part of an industry-wide movement to practice "coopertition" (pronounced co-op-er-ti-shun) -- a hybrid of cooperation and competition.