Quoory Search logo

Frequently Asked Questions

What is this supposed to be?

Simple. ;)

Remember when your high school teacher excitedly showed you two overlapping discs, called them a Venn diagram, and completely failed to grasp that you were much more interested in your desk neighbor? Quoory provides this kind of visualization for web search: It enriches your experience with everybody's favorite search engine, Google, by showing you how much the results for your search terms overlap. It also visualizes how many hits you get for your searches.

Let's take an example: Search for "Abraham" and "Lincoln". You'll get back something like this:



The area in the middle represents search results containing both of your search terms. At the left, you've got those containing "Abraham" but not "Lincoln". At the right — you guessed it — you'll find more stuff about a town and a car than about a president.

Hovering your mouse over the boxes will show you the details and number of hits of each set. Clicking on an area will take you to Google's complete search results for that set. In addition, Quoory will also display the highest ranking results for all three sets below the graphic. Try it!

As another example, let's look at the results for "rigor" and "rigour":



This shows you how many web pages use the American and the British spelling of the word, respectively, and that there are very few pages which use both spellings. Comparing the size of the areas with the first example also shows you that rigor seems to be less of a topic on the web than people called Abraham.

Of course you are not limited to single words in your queries. Quoory also works with phrases (just put them in quotes) and the "-" operator preceding terms.

Do you really expect people who are serious about search to use such a simplistic tool?

We do realize that there are people who wake up in the middle of the night drenched in cold sweat after nightmares about their boss canceling their Dialog subscription. These people may use Quoory only rarely (probably just when showing mere mortals the web). However, we hope that a rather larger group of people — basically anybody who uses Google on a regular basis — will find Quoory just right for their needs. See also the next question.

Are there any other services similar to Quoory?

You might want to have a look at Boolistic, which lets you construct searches with Venn diagrams using up to four subqueries. Unlike Quoory, it doesn't indicate the relative size of the overlap or the total number of hits of the queries. But that's not the fault of the folks at Boolistic — there just is no easily understood and generally applicable geometrical solution for doing both of these things with more than two subqueries. Boolistic simply follows a different philosophy: It lets you construct more complex queries, while Quoory provides you with better visual feedback.

There has also been an earlier go at a similar idea for Alta Vista. It's called the Venn Search Interface.

In case you're interested in research on visualization in the context of search, a good place to start is Marti Hearst's text on the subject.

Twice as many hits don't result in twice as large a box ... obviously you're not scaling linearly. So is this logarithmic or what?

Smart kid! Scaling linearly would require you to get out your microscope for queries with few results and explode your display for broad queries. And we would have to turn ourselves in to the Usability Police. So we do of course use a scaling function. Actually it lies between linear and logarithmic — it's based on a (fractional) power function, which has given the best results in preliminary testing.

Who is responsible for this whole thing?

A mostly harmless guy called Herwig Rollett, living in Graz, Austria. You can contact him by email.

Do you know how lame it is to push the hype with yet another web search tool, and to think that the world will be a better place for it?

No. Please tell us more about it.