If you’re a fan of offbeat ways to search online, you may want to try Kallout, a beta search application that’s drawn good notices like this one from AltSearchEngines.com. I’ve been using it, and I also use a Firefox extension called BlueOrganizer that does a few similar things. Kallout is particularly good if you want to instantly search multiple sources for the same search string.
Kallout is a downloadable application for Windows that sits in your system tray. When running, you can select any word or phrase on a web page, or in a Microsoft Office document, and have access to menus that look like those above. In this example, I selected the words “Mozilla Firefox” on a Wikipedia page, and brought up the menus by clicking on a small, blue pop-up box.
As you can see from the search menu I’ve accessed above, I can instantly route my “Mozilla Firefox” query to Google, Yahoo, Technorati, and other search sources (I can also add search sources to the list). If you look at the menu on the left above, the same principle works for sending my search request to news search engines, video search sites, reference sites and more. This is pretty handy, and it works the same way when I select words in Microsoft Outlook and Word.
It was precisely when testing Kallout with Outlook and Word that I began to realize that it works by sitting in memory at all times, and I wondered if I wanted it there constantly. Fortunately, Kallout handles this concern in a mannerly way. If you right-click on Kallout’s blue “K” icon in your Windows system tray, it will politely give you the option to either disable it or exit entirely. This is the right way to handle things for an application that takes memory and is so sensitive to any selected words.
Aside from saving me from typing text into my browser to continue searching for a specific string, Kallout also does a nice job of suggesting alternate places to search. For more of a feel for it, check out the video at AltSearchEngines.com.