The Rise of Religion-Specific Search Engines

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While most people use Google, Bing, or Yahoo, there are more niche search engines. Yesterday, ReadWriteWeb looked at three search engines based around religion -- I'm Halal, Seekfind, and Jewogle -- to see how their results differed. Turns out the clear winner was I'm Halal.

The site's about page is kind of fascinating, if not perfectly written. Relevance, the currency for the web, takes on a whole new meaning in this context.

"Because there is no search engine out there that is truly build on top of social-cultural and ethical values, we have entered the search market to offer Muslim internet users a tailor made search experience...," the site's creators write. "Alternative search engines are built for the great mass, which makes them extremely mainstream oriented while search is mostly cultural biased. This means that search algorithms should calculate the culture, mindset and lifestyle of the user in the determination process of relevancy." [emphasis added]

In any case, here's a snippet from ReadWriteWeb's post. Check out the whole thing if you want to see the details on how the search engines performed:

Now there are search engines for each of the "people of the book," Christian, Jewish and Muslim. Although it is just a skim through the possibilities, I thought I would test each of these engines. Would I find anything surprising in the results? Or would they do what so much of the Web does already, reaffirm the presuppositions with which each group of users already approaches the world? But most importantly, do they work as search engines?

Read the full story at ReadWriteWeb.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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