I’ve been writing and thinking about search engines and Web search since 1996.

The writing has not been incessant but the thinking has. For a long time I’ve privately pondered questions like:

  1. How do you search when you’re just starting? How do you ask for what you don’t know?
  2. How can one use commonly-understood metadata to inform and direct a user’s search in a transparent way?
  3. How can we put the same amount of care in developing a data pool to explore as we do into developing a search query?
  4. What are ways we can ethically take real-world data like location and blend it into a Web or social media search?

In the last four or five years I’ve tried to explore some of these questions using Google Sheets as a platform. But that platform is hard to share and expand.

In the spring of 2022 I looked around and realized that if I really wanted to make search things I needed to learn JavaScript. So I signed up to SkillShare and took a Kalob Taulien course (that is NOT an affiliate link.) I got through 50 of the 59 lessons before getting distracted by all the things I wanted to make. And since then I’ve been making Search Gizmos. In October 2022 I started this site to share them with you.

Some Gizmos here require that you get an API key, but the keys are always free. I try to keep the requirements on your side as simple as possible – few keys, using the most Open APIs I can. These are limiting requirements, but I have over 25 years’ worth of thought experiments to build and I think I’ve made at least a few slightly interesting things.

Look below for ten random Gizmos to try. Look over on the left for a list of popular Gizmos, a search box, and a tag cloud. An RSS feed link is at the very bottom if you’d care to follow along. Thanks for visiting.

01-06-2023: New Gizmo — MastoWindow — Explore hashtags across Mastodon instances
01-06-2023: New Gizmo — CountryFeed RSS Generator for Bing News
12-28-2022: New Gizmo — Mastodon Web Space Search
12-27-2022: I updated No Shop Sherlock so it has four filters for your Web search – general search cruft, online bookstores, social media sites, and video sites.