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Geoff Daily

App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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September 2, 2008 10:25 AM

Searching Far and Wide

I stumbled across Widexplorer.com this weekend and wanted to share it with you all.

The premise of the site is to be a search engine aggregator, but with a twist.

While many sites allow you to put in a keyword and search across multiple sites, Widexplorer actually displays the entire sites right within its own webpage.

Put in a search term and the results from Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers, YouTube, and more pop up in a page that stretches horizontally. Scroll to the right to see the additional sites, then you can scroll down within each page to read and click through all the results.

They've also got groupings of sites already setup around categories like News, Buzz, Video, Sports, Travel, and more. Click on one of those links and the homepages for multiple top sites in each category appear together in the same horizontally orientated page.

As the site stands right now I think the functionality's a bit limited. You don't appear to be able to search across multiple sites within the News/Buzz/etc. categories. It also looks like there's no way to customize which sites show up under each category, so if you have a favorite site that isn't listed already you're out of luck. And scrolling horizontally is not something that shows up all that often so it feels a bit off.

Yet at the same time I find this site interesting for multiple reasons.

First off, while the horizontal scrolling is a bit awkward at first, it shows how app developers are starting to think outside the box when it comes to displaying information in the web browser.

Secondly, I like being able to see the search results as they appear on each page and then be able to navigate through each site within the Widexplorer page rather than having the results reformatted into a single page like most aggregators do.

Third, you can search using keywords for images or video, which I'm finding to be very effective when hunting for the perfect image or video, being able to see multiple sites quickly and easily versus having to go to each one separately.

And fourth, it's great to see another site that requires some bandwidth. My guess is it'll still work on a slower connection as none of the individual pages are all that bandwidth-hungry, but in aggregate loading a half dozen or more pages simultaneously and doing so quickly enough so that they don't lose my attention demands a speedy connection.

So overall while this might not be a revolutionary web app, it is an interesting one that highlights trends in app development and what's possible once we start breaking free from the constructs of the old and start working with brand new concepts for how information can be presented online.

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