SortFix Adds Visual Aids To Search

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 22, 2008
Updated • Dec 10, 2012
Internet, Search

You have got casual Internet users and advanced Internet users and the way they search is totally different from each other. The casual Internet users enter a search term in a search engine and go through the results. If they cannot find what they are looking for they either stop in frustration and get the information locally or try another search term. The advanced user refines the search so that the results match exactly what he was looking for.

SortFix is a search mashup for Google, Yahoo and Dmoz that provides a usual search form on first glance. A user can input a search phrase, pick a search engine and wait until the results are showing up. The result pages on the other hand are looking different than the ones known from Google or Yahoo. They still show the search results for the entered search term but they also display four boxes on top which are labeled Power Words, Add To Search, Remove and Dictionary. The options provide access to a fifth box named Standby which can be activated.

SortFix checks the results and adds the search term that the user entered in the search box in the Add To Search box. Power Words are gathered from analysing the search results. Those are related words of the search phrase. A user searching for network monitoring would see words like server, software and protocol analyzer in the Power Words box.

He can then use the mouse to drag and drop those words either in the Add To Search box which would be the equivalent of adding the term to the search phrase or in the Remove box which would equal the (-) operator in the search engines.

The last box is the Dictionary box which provides definitions for words that are dragged into it. Not all words are defined.

The advanced box the standby box which can be used to move words into that should not be used for the current search but that are worth keeping for future searches.

There are also two additional parameters in the advanced display. The OR parameter can be used to add the OR parameter to the search. A user could for instance search for cars OR automobiles. The second parameter can be used to included synonyms in the search.

Both the basic and advanced display allow the creation of words. The user can create a word that he wants to add and drag it into the appropriate box.

The SortFix engine makes use of three different types of scans for related words. The basic search is performed when a user presses the search button for the first time. The other two are performed when the user presses the search button again without changing the search query. The effect is usually that the power words are related more closely to the search phrase.

The visual component helps users refine search results. SortFix is working pretty well and there are only a few minor quirks that have been encountered. There is no undo function. It is possible to drag words on the Clear button which will remove them from the search but an undo function would be handy as well.

The second problem arises when a user switches between the available search engines. There seems to be a problem with Yahoo search results because none are displayed. The search terms are taken over to the new search which works fine in the Dmoz directory. Even a simple search for a one way word like Network reveals no results in Yahoo.


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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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