Grokker takes the raw output of a search and organizes it into categories and subcategories. Groxis has put more intelligence into the software this time, so it is not dependent, as it was with Northern Lights, on categories established by others. This means that a wide variety of types of databases can be Grokked-now Grokker can search with six different engines simultaneously -- Yahoo, MSN, Alta Vista, Fast, Teoma, and WiseNet.
It also can organize searches for products on Amazon or for files on your own desktop. Google capability is coming within weeks, Groxis says, as a separate software component that users will add. Soon you will also be able to use it in conjunction with AskJeeves, eBay, social networks like Linkedin, and job site Monster.
Grokker creates a visual representation of a search. When you type in, say, "nanotechnology," Grokker starts organizing data from the multiple search engines. You see a big circle, within which are smaller circles with labels including "conference," "technology," "science," "research," "reports," "news," "molecular," "material," and so on. Each represents a subset of data on nanotechnology.
Click on, say, "molecular," and that circle will enlarge so you can see several further subcircles, one of which is "molecular assemblies." Click on that, and another category becomes visible entitled "molecular assembly sequencing software."
Now you could, in theory, have typed that exact phrase into Google and gotten to the same Web sites. However, in many cases you can't be sure what you're looking for because you simply don't know what's out there. Grokker gives you an easy way to delve into a data set, and it often leads to info-revelations.
For example, a Grokker search of the Amazon database, also using the initial term "nanotechnology," included a category circle labeled "children's books." I would not have predicted that children's books on nanotech existed. But a few further clicks reveal a book entitled "Nanotechnology: Invisible Machines," for 9-12 year-olds, as well as -- even more unexpectedly -- "Submarines and Underwater Exploration," for kids 4-8. If you didn't know to look for it you'd never have found it, most likely.
A search using Amazon's own onsite search tool, in which I asked for books for 4-8 year-olds related to the subject of nanotechnology, found no matches.
Says R.J. Pittman, CEO of Groxis: "Google has indexed several billion pages, but there are between 550 and 600 billion in total on what's referred to as the invisible Web or deep Web. Within a year Grokker will have ten times the reach of Google in terms of available Web pages."