Indiana University researchers have created a Web site that highlights differences in query results provided by country-specific search engines, such as the version of Google built to accommodate China's free-speech restrictions.
The idea behind CenSEARCHip is to determine the impact countries' censorship laws have on search results. The project was largely inspired by the google.cn system that Google decided to create earlier this year for China (Yahoo and MSN have followed suit).
"We wanted to explore the results returned by major search engines and in so doing to foster an informed debate on the impact of search censorship on information access throughout the world," said Filippo Menczer, associate professor of informatics and computer science at Indiana University, in a statement. He spearheaded the project, along with Mark Meiss, a computer science doctoral student.
The CenSEARCHip site shows side-by-side query results from the different countries' search engine versions. It uses "tag clouds" to highlight terms used more or less often by the different search engines.
Only the most notorious cases--France, Germany, the US, and China--are available for comparison so far. Which makes it not much more than polemicware at this point; expanding the comparison matrix could make it interesting, though. It gives you the ability to check only Google and Yahoo searches (but not against one another). Where's MSN?
So, anybody tried it out yet?