KartOO had an Adobe Flash GUI, as opposed to a text-based list of results. Its color scheme was to a degree reminiscent of Apple Computer's Aqua interface. Search results were presented as a "map", with blob-like masses of varying color connecting each item. On rollover of an individual result a bunch of red lines connected related links. If one began their search with a general topic, KartOO sometimes helped to narrow it down. Every "blob" clicked added another word to the search query. The map would often succeed in presenting keywords or subtopics that defined the topic one was searching on, very much like an interactive spider diagram.
It was co-founded in France by two cousins, Laurent Baleydier and Nicholas Baleydier. This project was launched in 2001. Most of their advertisement was through word of mouth.
In 2004, KartOO launched a new version called UJIKO (five nearby keys on a keyboard, similar to QWERTY). The interface looked more like a "jukebox" with the linked sites as playlists.
In January 2010 KartOO closed down, removing all content from the KartOO and UJIKO websites, but leaving a small message in French thanking its users for their support. By 2011 that message had been removed.
Ahead of its time?
In a review of the service, Juan C. Dürsteler wrote in 2002, "Perhaps visual representations will begin to predominate in information retrieval when they show things that we can not see in the ordered list. The semantic links of KartOO are an incipient step forward in this sense."
Also see Robin Good's Review in MasterNewMedia.org June 30, 2002, Edited here by Luigi Canali De Rossi, http://www.masternewmedia.org/2002/06/30/new_visual_metasearch_clustering_engine.htm
The Solar System-like Search Results, where hovering over the planets or satellites gave you the pertinent lines from that web page, and the Genie on the Flying Carpet that interacted with you were innovations unparalleled at the time.
- Juan C. Dürsteler, "KartOO is a new meta search engine that shows graphically the results it gets. Its technology extends to products oriented towards information retrieval within the corporate world.", August 16, 2002, Inf@Vis!
- Recent Review of KartOO and Clusty (now Yippy), from Brigham Young's Center For Teaching & Learning.
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