A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this unique kids' search engine handpicks the sites it links to and periodically rechecks for safe content. It works like this: users type search terms into a standard search box just like at Google or Yahoo. However, the search generates two types of results: a standard list of sites and a "tag cloud" of suggested terms that might further refine the search and help pinpoint the desired information. For instance, typing in “dinosaurs” generated a tag cloud including the words “pictures,” “nature,” “animals,” “earth,” and “movies”. Hovering the mouse over any tag in the cloud (in Quintura for Kids literally a big, puffy cartoon cumulus) automatically adds it to the search box and updates the results while refreshing the cloud with a new cluster of terms.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Quintura for Kids is a kid-safe version of Quintura, a little-known Russian search engine that's based on a neural network displayed as a fluid tag cloud. Instead of ranking results based on popularity, Quintura ranks them based on connections to the search term. Start off a search by typing words into a standard search box, then refine if desired by hovering the mouse over a word or phrase floating in the tag cloud - which in this case is a big, puffy cartoon cumulus. The tag is added to the search box and results are refreshed. At the same time the tag cloud generates a new batch of terms that branch off the selected word. As a result, users can view one set of search results after another without typing in another word. Quintura for Kids launched in 2006 based on site content from Yahoo Kids. Now sites are hand picked and periodically rechecked for safe content.
Is it any good?
The dynamic tag cloud is an intuitive and potentially powerful tool most kids will love playing with. It often worked beautifully for me, letting me drill down to just the right nugget of information with a few sweeps of my mouse. However, just as often it produced strange word pairings or dead ends. For instance, when I typed in "stem cell research" and hovered the mouse over "society" I got nothing. Typing these same words into Ask for Kids or Yahoo Kids gave me dozens of sites that might help me write a paper. Content in general seems limited. Some common topics like the "Bronte sisters" produced no results. Similarly, it's hard to get basic information out of Quintura that other sites excel at, such as converting miles to feet. Quintura deserves credit for its mind-expanding search technology and serving up loads of safe content on popular topics like music and TV, but other search engines are more practical.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about using the Internet responsibly.
Families can also use Google Safe Search to get age-appropriate search results.
Families can also consider checking kids' browser history to see where kids have gone online. This should spark discussions about safe surfing, spending online time wisely, and your kids' interests.