kid-friendly search engine
|Developer||InfoSpace (In 2012 Infospace was renamed Bluecora, in 2016 the Infospace business was sold to OpenMail, which renamed itself System1 in 2017.)|
|Country of Origin||US America|
|2006 - 2008||InfoSpace (In 2012 Infospace was renamed Bluecora, in 2016 the Infospace business was sold to OpenMail, which renamed itself System1 in 2017.)|
|Topic||Search engine for Kids|
|Meta search engine
|Used SeEn||Google Search Engine
|Older Version||Internet Archive / WebCite|
|2006: »InfoSpace has announced Zoo.com , a search engine designed for kids 8-13. [...] Zoo is a metasearch that aggregates results from Yahoo, Google, and Wikipedia [...] with what I presume is search filtering turned on for the full-text engines, and another layer of filtering applied on top of that. There’s also a news search that aggregates ABC, Fox, and Yahoo.« Source|
|»Zoo is a search engine designed for children. Actually, it's not particularly designed for children at all, other than having the funky backdrop to the page, and the use of a simple font. What they really mean is that they've provided access to a subset of data from Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia, with news from ABC, Fox and Yahoo.
I can't say it really rocks my boat that much. They've just done a blanket block on certain terms in certain situations. For example, 'sex' is totally blocked. As is 'tits'. So much for youngsters who want to do research into biology and bird watching. Sure, that was a cheap shot at the search engine, but just because a searcher happens to be a child it doesn't per se mean that they're not going to have serious queries. Completely blocking the use of certain terms is a cheap cop out. All that it means is that a child is going to shrug and move to another search engine that does provide them with the information that they want. Stopping a child by saying 'NO' just isn't going to work.
Next area of concern, or irritation that I have with the engine is that it's not difficult to confuse it. And believe me, it's easily confused. I can run a search for 'homosexual images' and 'gay images' but not 'lesbian images'. However, I can do a search for 'images lesbian'. Work that one out if you can!
Another thing that really irritated me right from the start is that some of the results are 'sponsored'. Now I don't have any problem with search engines trying to make money - far from it. However, this really is NOT the way to do it, because you get the title of the page, a bit of description and then 'Sponsored by: |
|»Unfortunately there seem to be a couple of problems with the engine. First that it only filters for sexual content. If you do a search for ritalin prescription, for example, you will get the usual buy-drugs-in-Canada type listings and some search engine spam. Of course, it’s hard enough to filter for one type of objectionable content; I can accept the idea that Zoo can only filter for one kind of thing at a time. But I do not like what it’s doing with the search results. Look at the search for ritalin prescription again. Results #1 and #2 are for Walmart.com and Reliable-Online-Drugs.com. They are numbered like regular search results. They are formatted like regular search results. The only way you can tell they aren’t regular search results is the little “Sponsored by:” part of the URL line. Furthermore, the sponsored results are not all at the top of the page. In these search results, for example, fully HALF of the results on the first page of ten results are noted as sponsored, one coming in at number 8 (In this case; the sponsored results seem to change and shift around as you reload the page.) Think ritalin prescription is a little too “asking for it”? Okay, let’s do a search for Wii. This page has two sponsored results coming in at number 5 and number 10. Again, formatted just like the regular search results except for the “Sponsored By” that’s the same color red as the site URL. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mind advertising (if I did I’d be some kind of hypocrite.) I don’t even mind advertising on a kid-oriented site as long as the advertisers are chosen EXTREMELY carefully. But I am horrified that a search engine — especially a KID’S search engine — would not delineate sponsored listings as carefully and overtly as possible, and would even mix them up into a list of regular search results. Didn’t we go through this back in 1999-2001 with general search engines? Weren’t there attorneys general and lawsuits involved?« Source|
Features & Functionality
|»... while Zoo admits that machine filters are not perfect, it has created a filter of over 50,000 words and phrases to filter out content and asks for feedback if any naughty content is found.« Source|
References & further Publications
|Wikipedia (EN): n.a.|
|Wikipedia (Others): n.a.|
|New Kid-Friendly Search Engine to Avoid: Zoo URL: http://researchbuzz.me/2006/11/21/new-kid-friendly-search-engine-to-avoid-zoo/|
|Zoo - Web search for children URL: http://philbradley.typepad.com/phil_bradleys_weblog/2006/11/zoo_web_search_.html|
|InfoSpace Launches Kid-Friendly Search Engine Zoo.com URL: http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/news/2057341/infospace-launches-kid-friendly-search-engine-zoocom|