At Web 2.0 this week and saw Idealab’s Bill Gross announce the release of – a new search engine designed to address comments that Google’s interface is looks like a command line.

Based on the premise that search engines need to give control back to the user. You can change the focus of your results (with an integration of X1) in real-time and sort results on a number of parameters which change based upon your search query. Snap also believes at its core that it’s important to be transparent so it provides an interface to an area where you can see not only stats related to the top keywords and their related terms but also an area where you can view Snap’s revenues as well as performance reports on click throughs on keywords that you can specify.

A number of examples showed how this is a different kind of fish.

Search on “jaguar” then refine my typing in “os”

Search on “camera” and you get a totally different set of results based on the assumption that you’re looking to purchase a camera. In the results, new widgets to sort on things like price, resolution. Refine the search by typing in “cannon” and see the list narrow itself to just the cameras made by Cannon.

Search on “walmart” and you’ll see that the result set changes again. Bill explained that this was because they analyzed ISP traffic to determine popular clickstreams and saw that most people searching on “walmart” were either looking for the website, the company (news & quotes), the job page, or directions to the nearest store. The left hand column has these links ranked for easy access and other elements on this page provide shortcuts as well.

Search on “cars” and you get yet another view which is like a dashboard to the most popular links yet in a different format. This time the screen is divided into four main categories into which most behavior following the search results fell. Here you see further drill down on to Buying, Research, Loans, and Insurance. The same concept applies for that other big ticket item, “real estate” but this time with yet another set of drill down choices.

These innovations are all very cool and welcome but as I write about it, I realize that variations of each of these exist in some shape or form on Google and Yahoo. Snap’s presentation is so much more graphically rich than what is out there today giving a greater opportunity for advertisers to integrate their messages with the results in a much more meaningful way.






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