In the already overcrowded search engine space, Filangy is a new player which offers ‘personalized search’. What this means is that, apart from the plain old web search, Filangy also allows users to search through only the pages they have viewed. This is done with the help of a browser toolbar. Such a feature appealed to me immediately and I had to try it out as soon as I read about it. But, as of now it’s only available by invitation. Maybe they are hoping that a Gmail type viral marketing effort through invitations will bring in more users in the long run. Anyway, I gave them my e-mail address, and got an invitation after some time. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and, I have to say it’s pretty handy.
The toolbars are available for both IE and Firefox. As Maxthon isn’t supported, I’ve been trying it out on Firefox. Once the toolbar (extension in the case of Firefox) has been installed, it has to be authorised, so that the username is mapped to the toolbar. As I browse, the toolbar looks at the URL and sends it to Filangy. If at some point of time I want to go back and look at something again, then all I have to do is enter my search term in the toolbar and that’s it. When the search is through the toolbar, Filangy does a normal web search by default. A direct ‘WebCache’ search requires some extra mouse clicks. Not a big deal. The results tell me exactly which pages I had browsed through had the term I’m searching for. One irritant is that the time taken for the pages I’ve visited to be reflected in my searches is totally unpredictable. The pages would have already been indexed, and assigning the content of those pages to my account shouldn’t take too long. But, Filangy is a Nutch based search engine and it must still be undergoing a lot of development and tweaking. If the pages I visit are available to be searched in a few minutes at the most, every time, it would be great. WebMarks is another useful feature that allows users to bookmark any page when they are browsing. All those bookmarks can be accessed from anywhere later.
Privacy is obviously a big concern with such a service and Filangy seems to have taken all precautions in this regard. There is alway a risk involved in shared computers though. The pages browsed by all users could be indexed and searched through later. But, this can be prevented by using the option to pause indexing for a specified period of time. Also, only the total number of indexed pages can be seen and there is no way to look at a list of all the indexed URL’s.
Although this a useful service at present which caters to a niche, I feel Filangy in its present avatar will find it difficult to find many users. That’s because Google desktop search is all that is needed to provide the same functionality, i.e, searching through visited pages. And, del.icio.us does a much better job than ‘WebMarks’ as a online bookmark manager. The only thing going for them right now is that users can access a history of pages that they have visited from any computer. Google could easily do something similar with their toolbar, and if it is integrated with Gmail and their desktop search, well, that’ll be bye, bye Filangy. But, to be fair to them, it is still in very early stages of development and more features are bound to be added soon.
Tags – filangy, search