Monday, March 06, 2006

Trexy -- Rhymes with "Sexy"

While in New York for the latest installment of Search Engine Strategies 2006, I stumbled upon the booth of Trexy, a company that has truly built a better mousetrap in the search engine space. However, Trexy -- rhymes with "sexy" -- is not a search engine. Rather, it is a collaborative search engine portal that allows Trexy users to track the history of their search engine queries and search results and share those virtual bread crumb trails with other Trexy users.

Whether one is doing scholarly research or marketing research, the meta data that one can obtain from Trexy is invaluable. Specifically, Trexy provides meta data that is similar in kind to the type of data that one might find using the Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool and/or the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. However, Trexy provides meta data for over 3,000 search engines, and the data that Trexy provides is much more detailed and granular than search engines would normally reveal. Simply put, Trexy allows you to look over someone else's shoulder who has already succeeded in navigating the Sargasso Sea of information that is the Internet.

Trexy is the brainchild of Nigel and Megan Hamilton, a brother and sister team that created the Turbo10 Search Engine a few years ago. Like Trexy, Turbo10 was an innovation of existing search engine technology. Specifically, Turbo10 is a customizable meta search that sends queries to two or more search engines that end users choose and then returns one set of prioritized results, not unlike the better known Copernic meta search.

I wrote about Turbo 10 on XODP when I first discovered it a few years ago, and the only problem that I have observed with Turbo10 since that time is that of the proverbial problem of the chicken and the egg -- i.e., because of the de facto hegemony of Google, not that many people are using Turbo 10 just yet. But Trexy may be the killer application that can change all that. And even if Google or some other search engine remains the 800 pound gorilla in the search engine space, Trexy should be able to peacefully coexist with said 800 pound gorilla.

While still in beta, Trexy has over a quarter of a million registered users, and the only real problem that I see with Trexy is that of the proverbial "tail wagging the dog." Specifically, most of the data that Trexy collects will almost certainly be from the purveyors of information seeking information on their own placement for the search terms that they consider important rather than coming from people doing serious research and earnestly seeking information. This problem is not unique to Trexy; it's not even unique to the Internet. In fact, I see it happen all the time in all types of research, and it's too soon to tell whether Trexy will be able to respond to this challenge. Nonetheless, the Trexy team seems to be on the right track.

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