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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

First there was Firefox, and now: Clusty

As more people are finding out, Mozilla Firefox is a fine replacement for Windows Explorer. Great functionality, and no more worries - or fewer, at least - about security holes. Well, what Firefox has done for browsing, Clusty is about to do for search.

For some time now I've been concerned, off and on, about Google regarding privacy - you know, data mining, long term profiling, that 2038 cookie of theirs, and so on. Andrew Orlowski's Register article, and the links there, just brought all this back to me. I started thinking that maybe it's time to find a new search engine.

Fortunately there was a good one at hand. Daniel Brandt mentions Clusty on his site Google Watch, as a better alternative to Google. (Of course, Brandt thinks *anything* is an alternative to Google, but the key here is *better*, so I thought I'd try it.)

Gusty posts search results in clusters off to the left of the screen. If you don't like the main results you're given, you can check out one or more of these clusters.

Another feature - one I really like - is that you can create customized tabs. I've already created mine: News, Images, Encyclopedia, Blogs, and Mega Search. This last tab I called Mega Search because Clusty lets you choose your own search engines for some of the custom tabs, and since they all looked good I chose all of them.

Clusty is in beta right now. It's maybe not as fast as Google, but it's plenty fast enough. It seems to utilize good search algorithms and has some neat features. What I like best about it, though, is that I don't have the Google Big Brother eyeball staring back at me. Not through my PC screen, anyway. Clusty is already set as my homepage.

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