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Newsletter April 02, 2001
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Metasearching the Web

What is the advantage of using a metamotor over a search engine? Why would you sometimes prefer Profusion to Google, or Ixquick to AltaVista? It's not so much the quantity of information on the Web that is lacking, but the quality. And there are times when a metamotor, which simultaneously searches the combined indexes of 10-1000 search engines, is quite simply the most appropriate tool for the job. Some examples for you:

- you were going to use more than one search engine or information source anyway.
If you were planning on visiting different auction sites or news sites, then do a metasearch instead, and get all the results on one page by using the dedicated thematic channel specialized in your area.

- It's your first time.
You don't know anything about a subject, and want to get a quick round-up of what the Internet has to offer in this field, be it Japanese football or the career of Nelson Mandela. You can see in one glance what the major search engines can come up with, before going into more depth.

- Size does matter.
If you looking for something obscure, then you may need to multiply your chances by combining the size of each respective engine for maximum coverage of the Web.

- You are searching for just one type of document (images, MP3, video etc.) or in just one subject area (Web sites for children, Linux etc).
By choosing the appropriate category, your metasearcher can automatically select the most useful sources for you.

Not all metasearchers are identical. A downloadable one, such as Copernic, gives interesting possibilities for personalization and keeping a record of your work. But online metamotors can be worthwhile too. They vary in the sources they use, the themes they offer, their user-friendliness and a thousand other ways. Ixquick only brings back Top Ten results, Profusion lets you save searches and track your results, Ithaki offers metasearching in 14 different languages. So take some time to get to know and try out the variety of riches that can be found on AgentLand, and really get to grips with the Internet.

Discover all the metamotors on AgentLand:


N E W   A G E N T S

>> Metasearch agents <<

> Crystalhit
Crystalhit searches 6 metasearch themes: websites, news, sports news, financial news, magazine articles and MP3 songs. Approximately 10 engines are queried simultaneously, and they vary according to the theme chosen. Crystalhit says it supports Boolean queries, which you enter via its simple search interface. You can choose to see 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 results at a time.

> 2allinfo is a portal offering powerful metasearch of 10 major search engines and directories, and also many categories such as auctions, headline news, jobs, consumer products (books, toys, electronics etc). When searching for Web sites, you can select which of the sources of information you wish to search.

> Lapoo
Lapoo searches 12 search engines and directories simultaneously. You can choose to search for any word, all words or as a phrase.

> MyProwler
MyProwler offers metasearching on the Web or in one of some 20 categories (Usenet, Government Databases, Kids etc). You can formulate your query in natural language or using advanced search syntax. Within a category you can select which of the information sources you wish to use as well as being able to set the language and the number of results you want to see per page. MyProwler also maintains its own database of sites.

> BotBot
BotBot gives you the opportunity to metasearch 6 themes: the Web, news, MP3, images, audio and video.

> Better Brain
Better Brain offers eleven search engines and directories for metasearching. You can choose which tools you wish to use. Results are grouped by the engine they come from.

> FreezerSearch
FreezerSearch searches up to 18 general search engines and directories, presenting a single list of results, ranked by relevance. As well as offering general web metasearching, there are major Agriculture, Kids and German Web categories. The advanced search options allow you set a number of parameters, including which tools to search, checking for bad links, speed of operation, number of results per page etc.

> Glowport
With Glowport, you can choose from a list of 13 search engines and directories to search. You can search for some or all the keywords, or the exact phrase, as well as setting the number of results to return per engine.

> Go Willie
Go Willie is a search portal designed to pull data from the major search engines. You can choose to search on the Web or on newsgroups, and select which of the 12 engines and directories you would like to use. Results are presented on a single page, grouped under the engine that found them.

> Internav
Internav offers a metasearch on a large number of search engines and directories.

> Ithaki
Ithaki is available in 14 languages and armed with more than 30 categories (Linux, news & web for each country, MP3, images etc). You can choose to search either web directories or web crawlers, Ithaki automatically selects the most appropriate tools for each category and country. You can search for all the words or as a phrase, and use Boolean operators (as long as the original search engine use them, of course).Ithaki orders the results by relevance of keywords and removes the duplicates. You can set the amount or results by page, and e-mail them to a friend. There are also WAP and I-mode versions of Ithaki.

> Metahoo
Metahoo is a web portal dedicated to simplifying the search process. It has a metasearch engine which presents results by relevance and source. You can search in a number in different categories: the Web, news, MP3, jobs, auctions and forums.

> Multimeta
Multimeta sends your search query to a number of different motors and directories. You can search for all or some of the words, or the entire phrase. Results can be displayed in a summary list or by the source form which they came. The first results in the list come from GoTo and 7search.

>> MP3 search agents << > AudioLocator
The AudioLocator program is a MP3 search tool which searches a massive hourly-updated database of FTP servers. Simply type the song, artist, or album name in the search box and hit Locate. There are two interfaces: the easy-to-use interface with the feel of a Web Page and the Classic Interface for more advanced users. For users new to the File Transfer Protocol, this program contains a screen for help using CuteFTP. If you host a FTP server on your computer, you can easily add it to the AudioLocator database.

> MP3index
Just enter an artist or song name, and MP3index simultaneously queries the top MP3 search engines.

A G E N T  U P D A T E S

>> General search agents <<

> WebStorm
The new version (3.0) of the search agent WebStorm has been released, aiming at providing easier, more powerful searching. It has new features like the Keyword Explorer to make use of your saved searches, and better platform support like Proxy servers that require usernames and passwords.

>> Finance search agents <<

> Talking Stocks
Talking Stocks is a personal assistant that retrieves current stock quotes and reads them out loud to you. Changes in the new 3.0 version include the addition of Real-time quotes for US, Canada, Australia & NZ, and new Help screens which tell you how to take full advantage of the program. A Quiet button has been added to the main toolbar, making it easy to stop the character from interrupting you with automatic broadcasts and alerts if you wish.

>> Newsgroup search agents <<

> News Rover
News Rover, which specializes in searching newsgroups, now includes a built in MP3 search engine, for finding MP3 on newsgroup servers. You can enter words from a song title or an artist's name and the search engine will rapidly search all MP3 newsgroups and present a list of all matching entries. The search usually takes less than 10 seconds. Once the entries are presented, you can double-click the ones you want to download without having to subscribe to any newsgroups or download the list of headers for the newsgroups.

>> Monitoring agents <<

> JavElink
JavElink, the page monitoring and alerting service, has been absorbed by EoExchange, a leading provider of specialized search solutions for the corporate market. It is no longer available to the general public.

>> Weather monitoring agents <<

> EarthBrowser
EarthBrowser constantly monitors weather conditions around the globe, and keeps you informed of major weather events in the world or near your home. In the latest version (1.3.7), EarthBrowser gives you access to over 250 webcams so that you not only hear about what the weather is doing, but you can see it too.

>> Shopbots <<

> Techshopper
The on-line price comparison service Techshopper, brought to you by the TechWeb network, has been terminated.

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> Teleport Pro
Teleport Pro duplicates whole websites for fast offline access, searches for files at lightning speeds and maps whole areas of web terrain. It can download all or part of a website to your computer, enabling you to browse the site directly from your hard disk at much greater speeds than if you were to browse the site online. It creates an exact duplicate, or mirror of a website, complete with subdirectory structure and all required files and makes a list of all pages and files on a website.


> The Creatures Docking Station is launched
Creatures Docking Station is an exciting add-on for Creatures 3. Here, you can exchange creatures online, set up networks of creatures and watch as evolution takes its course! Based on real biological principles, Norns are furry little pets that have their own biochemistry and Creatures digital DNA and represent the of one the most advanced virtual life sims available today. Will Norns go the way of Dinosaurs and die out completely or will they continue to evolve and improve on their own? Can you improve the species? Will your genome take over the warp universe? All can be answered in time!

> The 2001 Loebner Prize is officially announced
The 2001 Loebner Prize will be held at the Science Museum, London on 13 October 2001, according to the official announcement. The Loebner Prize is awarded annually to the designer of the computer programme that best succeeds in passing a variant of the Turing test, an imitation game designed in the 1950s by British mathematician Alan Turing, where a human and a computer are interrogated under conditions where the interrogator did not know which was which. Turing argued that if the interrogator could not distinguish between them 50% of the time, then it would be reasonable to call the computer intelligent. Turing predicted that this stage would be reached by the year 2000 It has yet to happen. So there is still time to prepare your chatterbot, in the hope of carrying off the US$100,000 first prize!

> BlueTalk Game Engine: towards wireless peer-to-peer gaming
Pocit Labs has announced the first network gaming API for the emerging short-range wireless network P2P market. BlueTalk Game Engine makes it possible to develop a new generation of computer games that utilize the benefits of local ad hoc P2P networking. Regardless of whether they use handheld gaming devices, PDAs or Smartphones, users can meet and seamlessly create a wireless virtual playground without any external infrastructure.

> 1KTV: the arrival of avatars on your mobile device
V-Star Corporation now makes its human avatars available on mobile devices. These virtual hosts present news, weather and financial shows on 1KTV, which in the Los Angeles region can be accessed from any mobile device with an Internet connection. The era of the true virtual assistant who will be with you wherever you go is getting nearer!

> Virtual personal shopper
The guide2style virtual personal shopper provides personalized answers to a question that consumers ask themselves every day, "What should I wear?", and advises shoppers what outfits, colors and accessories best suit their figure and the event they are attending. Starting with a base set of over 150,000 expert rules of style, the virtual personal shopper uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to sort through and prioritize all of these rules. The software optimizes each answer for a particular person, in a particular place, for a particular event. Currently available for beta testing, its ultimate vocation is providing personalized service as part of any apparel company's Electronic Customer Relationship Marketing solution.


> Models and Methods of Analysis for Agent Based Systems Workshop
7 April 2001, Genova, Italy. When agent-based systems with high degrees of autonomy are released into a loosely constrained environment, they may interact with other systems about which they have little knowledge. It is difficult, but necessary, to predict what the large-scale behavior of such systems might be. The principal aim of this workshop was to bring together those with expertise in analysis and experience in building or managing large scale agent based systems.

> The 2001 AAAI Spring Symposium Series
An intensive programme of seven symposia was held over three days (March 26-28, 2001) at Stanford University, presented by the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. Among the highlights were "Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Entertainment", an attempt to continue the recent interaction between the interactive entertainment industry and the AI research community, and "Robotics and Education", which hoped to collect and share experiences in successful deployment of robots in classrooms and other educational venues.

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