Web and desktop search have come a long way over the past 10 years, with the likes of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo acknowledging that PC users now expect relevant results in an instant. But, while traditional search engines have made great progress in trawling an ever-growing number of web pages for the search terms you enter, the way in which those results are presented hasn’t moved forward. You’re bombarded with page after page of lists and, if anything, the results have become too extensive.
Invu hopes to change that with a new search application called Ergo. Unlike the scattergun approach of Google, Ergo groups search results based on relevance – instead of delivering thousands, if not millions, of potentially useful answers, it provides clusters of results that allow you to dig deeper into your precise area of interest. For example, if you search for ‘laptops’ on the web, rather than delivering thousands of sites, it will provide a smaller number of categories such as ‘laptop reviews’, ‘laptop manufacturers’ and ‘laptop retailers’. And as Ergo is a desktop search tool too, the same principle applies to files stored on your hard disk.
As well as the innovative clustering technique, Ergo uses the cleverness of Microsoft’s Windows Presentation Foundation to deliver results in a visually attractive and intuitive way.
Put a new spin on search
1. Install Ergo’s database and drivers, then the application itself. Double-click the Ergo icon on your desktop to open the app. On startup you’ll be greeted by a welcome screen. Click close in the bottom righthand corner to start using the program.
2. You’ll see Ergo’s main interface. To begin searching, click and hold the magnifying glass at the bottom of the screen. Select your desktop or a site you wish to search. Enter a word or phrase and hit return, or click the green arrow next to the text field.
3. Ergo displays search results graphically. In the default display, the pages or files that the program thinks are most relevant are displayed at the centre of the screen, while less pertinent ones appear towards the edges. Select one (or more) of the icons and a green tick appears. Click this to open one.
4. After revolving to a new screen, Ergo populates this space with thumbnails of the relevant pages. These are arranged as overlapping windows in a ‘Thumbflow’ carousel. You can move between these windows by clicking on the arrows underneath. Drag them on to the Preview or Open icons to view the contents.
5. To expand your search, return to the main screen to search for multiple sites. First, click on the magnifying glass at the bottom of Ergo to open a new window. This displays a number of sites, including Live Search, Google, Wikipedia and Flickr. Select the ones that you want to search.
6. On the results page you will see two arrows at the bottom lefthand page. Clicking here will display a list of all the pages that have been returned from your search. The program also allows you to toggle between this list and other searches when you click on the icons at the bottom of the screen.
See also: How to use Ergo's advanced options