Zanran helps you to find ‘semi-structured’ data on the web. This is the numerical data that people have presented as graphs and tables and charts. For example, the data could be a graph in a PDF report, or a table in an Excel spreadsheet, or a barchart shown as an image in an HTML page. This huge amount of information can be difficult to find using conventional search engines, which are focused primarily on finding text rather than graphs, tables and bar charts.
Put more simply: Zanran is Google for data.
☛ Zanran: “What is Zanran?” by Jon Goldhill (founder) and Yves Dassas (founder).
Presently Zanran is offered in an early beta version. Among other things it means it only works in English for now, synonyms are limited (it’s better to try various search keywords for a given subject) and the search engine doesn’t spell-check.
That being said, it’s a great idea and it really is worth a try. There’s a whole page of search examples to begin with. I tried to search for violent crimes in the United-States. The results were interesting. One of the pleasant aspect of its user interface is that you can preview any given results by simply hovering your mouse cursor over the graph icon associated with it (see below).
For more, see the Search Engine Land’s review of Zanran.
First spotted via Data Mining (Data Mining has a list of four other search engines for data).