Scandoo: Making your searches safe

May 24, 2006

Topics: Search Marketing.

I was recently made aware of a very interesting search application called Scandoo. Scandoo is a sort of variation on the metasearch idea with a very valuable twist. Rather than searching a collection of websites and collating their results, it searches one particular engine of your choice (currently offering MSN, Yahoo, and Google) and pre-scans all search results looking for malicious "badware" (adware, spyware, etc.) and examining for potential illegal activity.

Unlike adblockers, spyware shields, or antivirus software, which can only help you out AFTER you’ve visited the problem site, Scandoo warns you in advance if there are risks in visiting sites in your search results.

We scan each and every one of your search results to see if there is anything malicious behind the links and then feed the security results back into your search page. Unfortunately, using a database lookup alone can’t protect you with better or safer searches, and because database technology relies on updates you can’t rely on its accuracy. That’s why Scandoo is designed to give you advanced warning – before you click – by scanning content in real-time.

There’s always a risk in any search that a site may try and deliver malicious software to your computer. In addition, there’s the risk that a site may be using language you don’t want to see, advocating hate crimes or discrimination, or providing less-than modest photographs. Scandoo can be configured to warn about a wide variety of categories.

The default setting warns you about Sex or Nudity, Hate and Discrimination, Illegal activities, and Weapons. You can also get warnings for Arts and Culture, Nature, or Technology.

I think that’s a little strange, honestly – I turned on the Art and Culture warning and ran a test and, indeed, I was warned against visiting my favorite museum…

However, in addition to these warnings about specific topics, the tool provides warnings about security risks – try this search to see an example of the various results.

Not something I see as an everyday tool, but I can certainly see some times when I would want to use it – researching an article on illegal software, looking into web security techniques, etc.

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