Kartoo Web Site Optimization Information

The Kartoo search engine was founded in 2001. The initial stages of Kartoo began in 1998, when creators Laurent and Nicolas Baleydier began work on a search algorithm that would generate cartographic interfaces. Kartoo is based out of France, and Laurent Baleydier is the current CEO.

Kartoo is a meta search engine that retrieves its results from: Voila, Alltheweb, Altavista, MSN, Yahoo!, Wisenut, Hotbot, Lycos, Entireweb, ToileQuebec, Exalead, Dmoz, Teoma and Looksmart. Kartoo’s unique approach is in delivering results on a visual map, via Flash. After entering a search in the search bar, relevant results are broken into a map of page icons at the center of the screen, which depicts the relationship between websites and related topics.

When you draw your mouse over a page icon on the map, you are given a snapshot of information about the site, which is broken down at the left hand column. If you click on one of the page icons, a separate window opens that site. There are also keyword paths that lead to different categories related to the search term.

Without conducting a mouse over, the left column breaks your initial search up into organized categories related to the search term. For instance, a search for Lord of the Rings organizes topics into: Return of the King, Peter Jackson, Merchandize, Collectables, Toys, etc. Below these categories is another section titled ‘Popular Queries,’ which also contains a number of sub-folders. By clicking on a category, a new visual map is opened with relevant pages at the center of the screen. In this manner, Kartoo operates much the same as Visimo, by breaking results into organized packages. The intent is to make searches ordered and relevant to your needs, instead of returning a host of unorganized results. For instance, Lord of the Rings has a broad range of possible topics. A typical search engine would have no idea you’re searching specifically for photographs from the Lord of the Rings films, if you only enter “Lord of the Rings” into the search bar.

The problem with Kartoo is that it isn’t very intuitive, or user friendly. Although it does provide an HTML version that is more standard, the graphic results in the Flash version are not displayed in a seemingly organized fashion. Instead they seem strewn about the screen. First time users may have difficulty figuring out how it works.