Review: Specialized search engines fit the niche

For when the Google net spreads too wide

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Next is a list of album tracks, with embedded samples so you can have a listen, and another "Get it" button in case you just want to buy the single track (which seems limited to Napster so far ... why no iTunes option?) Last is a reviews section, also from, with lots of hyperlinks to distract you into looking up more music. The interface is information-dense but very clean, with the album review being the only prose on the page.

BiggerBoat's Product Details page offers lots of information about an album.
BiggerBoat's Product Details page offers lots of information about an album. (Click image to see larger view.)

Just to reiterate, BiggerBoat is a music product search engine; you won't find any artist results. Let's illustrate that with an example: if you've been bopping to the recent iPod Nano commercial and want to check out the full version of the song ("1234") featured in it, you'd search on "1234," filter by artist ("Feist"), then click on the album "The Reminder" to see all the details of the album that features the song you're looking for. You won't find a link to a "Feist" page, because there's no specific "Feist" product.

This example also illustrates one of the limitations of BiggerBoat; there is no contextual information. You can't search on "iPod Nano" in hopes of discovering what song is in the commercial. You have to know what you're looking for.

To rectify some (but not all) of these shortcomings, BiggerBoat partners with That site does contain biographical information on the artists and includes various ways to discover music and artists that you might enjoy. uses BiggerBoat for its e-commerce section, and as mentioned, BiggerBoat uses's ratings and reviews.

Now let's look at the movie search. It'd be pretty safe to say that the movie search is like the music search, only for movies. Filtering isn't as immediately intuitive here, with filters for "Keyword", "Theme" and "Tone" as well as the more manageable "Director" and "MPAA Rating."

However once you start using the filters you'll quickly see their value. Again an example seems in order. I want to find that Johnny Depp movie where he's a writer and going crazy. So I first search on Johnny Depp, then browse the keywords. I notice "cabin" is one of them. Yes! He was alone in a cabin. I select it and up pops Secret Window, the film I was searching for. Alternatively I can choose "Driven Insane" under Theme, or "Paranoid" under Tone in order to get the same result. It works surprisingly well.

BiggerBoat's "Theme" filter offers some bizarre, yet useful, options. (Click image to see larger view.)

Clicking on a search result brings you to a Product Details page, which has all the information you'd expect (cast, director, producer, composer, MPAA Rating, etc.), plus a Product Versions page, where you can buy the film in various formats (VHS, DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray), a plot synopsis and, possibly, a review. Once again ratings and reviews (as well as plot synopses) come from a partner:

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Bing’s AI chatbot came to work for me. I had to fire it.
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