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Requires: Windows 98/ME, Windows 2000 & NT 4.0
(SP6 or later); Pentium 300MHz or faster; Microsoft Internet
Explorer v5.01 SP1 or later
MSRP: US$49.99 (download)
Plus is a moderately intelligent Web search tool and search
information manager aimed at semi-professionals, student researchers,
teachers, online consumers and info packrats. It's simple
enough to use and is designed to save time and effort for
people who are searching for or researching specific information
or gathering comprehensive news. BullsEye Plus incorporates
SurfSaver, a browser add-on from ASKSAM Systems which lets
you store web pages into searchable folders on your computer.
installed and tested BullsEye Plus on a PIII/550MHz machine
with 256MB RAM running Windows 2000 Professional and Internet
Explorer 6. Installation was flawless and placed a BullsEye
button on the Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer toolbars.
BullsEye Plus uses IE or Netscape as its browser and search
results are displayed in its integrated browser view, with
Fwd, Back, Stop, and Refresh options. There are three viewing
layouts to select from: a results list, results browser, and
a split window with results list on top and a Web browser
below. We also tried using BullsEye Plus in Netscape 6 on
a PIII/650 running Windows ME but the results were somewhat
unstable. Ditto for an AMD Athlon-based machine running Windows
did some comparison searches using BullsEye head-to-head with
Google (via the IE6 Google Toolbar). A search for "Sex
education under 16" (with the "Kid-Safe" flag
set in BullsEye Plus) yielded 17 hits with no sex education
information at all. The same search in Google yielded over
100 hits which refined down to 9 directly relevant sites.
"Project management theories" yielded almost identical
results in BullsEye and Google. "Buy a Cisco 1601R Router"
yielded more comprehensive sources via BullsEye. "Game
theory bush" yielded more numerous, varied and interesting
hits in Google.
are a few usability problems with BullsEye Plus. Task buttons
in the management pane on the left side of its UI jump to
the bottom of the pane whenever you select a different task.
Intelliseek's design idea, I think, is to always keep the
active task button immediately above the category list. It's
visually distracting however. Simply highlighting the active
task button would prevent things from dancing around and moving
out of an easy-to-hit location. The ability to save successful
searches is great, but it would be greater if you could organize
the saved searches into categories.
are some really useful features in BullsEye Plus. Foremost
is the Report Generator which can be used to generate HTML
reports, without ads and banners if you prefer, containing
a search history for a particular session, hit/page summaries,
local Web pages, related links, and the relevant search engines
used. Nice - and a great addition to any research report to
facilitate due diligence and fact checking. You can save reports
to disk or send them via e-mail. The Analysis feature does
a good job of purging dead and duplicate links from search
results - very nice indeed. Multi-language searching opens
up a huge, relatively untapped resource (at least untapped
by most North American Internet users). It's a big world and
Intelliseek seems to understand the value of looking beyond
U.S. English sites and search engines. Also very nice.
Cons: Use IE 5 or later because BullsEye Plus v3 doesn't get along
nicely with earlier browser versions. Netscape can be somewhat
problematic. You're limited to 3 open searches at any one
time, which is somewhat irritating because you constantly
have to save or discard existing searches. The current UI
looks like a hybrid of Outlook and something else I haven't
quite figured out yet. There are several task and function
buttons in BullsEye Plus which don't do anything except call
a popup window telling you that you've clicked on something
available only in BullsEye Pro and that an upgrade is only
a few clicks away. This is annoying! So is the Persistent
Highlighting feature which unfortunately highlights innumerable
words unrelated to your searches. Intelliseek touts BullsEye
Plus, variously, as a professional research tool and a research
tool for students and teachers. It's not a professional tool
and we'd like to see Intelliseek refine its product descriptions.
Pros: Major search engine access (800+ engines). There's a link
in the Help menu which can be used to suggest new search engines
to Intelliseek. The Analysis feature will save you lots of
time which would otherwise be wasted chasing dead and/or duplicate
links. One-stop 'shop' for basic organization and storage
of research. The Report Generator will enhance most basic
research reports and projects. We're not sure if BullsEye
Plus is worth fifty bucks, but it works and provides basic
level of organizational and reporting functions. For more
serious, professional research, BullsEye Pro is a much better
bet even though it's also much pricier (US$199).
(As of December 2004, the BullsEye features and functions have been fully absorbed into askSam Systems' askSam and SurfSaver products. Dedicated search tools like BullsEye have taken quite a beating in the wake of vastly powerful freeware such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN Search. If you're thinking about doing deep or otherwise very specific searches with Google or MSN, have a long look at Google's Advanced Search page and Advanced Search Tips. You'll find an even larger set of guides and tools for MSN Search).
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