Exalead brings a little innovation back to search UI.

Exalead is a new search engine that distinguishes itself with its user interface. Almost all results show thumbnails of the actual results pagelinked page (not just the home page of the site). If the search produces a lot of results, a pane is displayed on the left hand side showing related terms and categories, and allowing filtering by site location and document type. Clicking a result first brings up the page in a frame at the bottom of the results list.

There are some familiar ideas here along with a few i’ve not seen before and it’s well integrated and executed.

It’s a reminder of how little innovation in search UI we’ve seen since Google pared things down to the basics. You’d think that with Google working to keep its lead, and Yahoo and MSN struggling to overtake them, we’d see some innovation.

I give MSN’s some points for trying with the sliders tucked away in their search builder, though the UI makes it painfully clear that most of their investment is in the backend.

“Yahoo’s Mindset”:http://mindset.research.yahoo.com is an interesting combination of backend tech coupled with a little UI experimentation. Once you do a search, you get a slider with the results which you can use to skew the results towards “shopping,” or “researching.” Changes seem to happen on the fly, suggesting that the filtering is actually happening on the client side via javascript and dynamic HTML.

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