Jonga – South Africa’s Search Engine

I’ve been privileged this week to be able to test a new search engine to be launched for South Africa soon. (Ok, actually I bitched about how it was indexing my blog like crazy and then Alistair Carruthers from Jonga contacted me about a tweak they made to correct the issue and offered me the chance to check out the service.)

Unfortunately, I can’t divulge the url of the test servers, so don’t ask.

Here’s a screensnip:
Jonga.co.za South Africa's Search Engine

What I liked:
* AJAX/DHTML (or something similar) allows you to preview search results by opening them inside the search window. Way cool.
* Search history (without needing a login)
* Dictionary results in a side pane
* The option of going direct to the hit page or to the main url

What I didn’t like:
* The placement of search history bar means you can’t have it open and conduct a new search.
* Navigating to result pages was tricky if you’re a “middle-clicker” like me – the “open in new window” link was just too small to navigate quickly (and lazily). This may just be a font config thing on my side.
* The actual search result gets highlighted, but the highlighted portion is not a link, forcing use of the “open in new window” link as mentioned before.
* Microsoft’s IIS or equivalent is serving up the pages.

So I took a quick look at the competitor search engines in the South African space:
aardvark: slow like an aardvark, and yellow, and just a google wrapper.
ananzi: more yellow (wtf?), icky – I feel dirty just browsing to it.
funnel: better, cleaner, but few pages and far too google-ish, no creativity.

From what I’ve seen, I think Jonga can own the search space in South Africa.

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6 Comments

  1. dev.jonga.co.za appeared in my referrer logs earlier this year and I had a quick look around. Interested to see it finally launch!

  2. Google.co.za owns search in South Africa right now. Computing power available to Google is enormous and to create relevant SERPs you need lot of it

    I tested Jonga with my own websites and it did return less relevant pages first so I’m disappointed with it

  3. Way to go Jonga!. This is a truelly spider based search engine and I must say I am impressed. I did my own search for my site and i rank number 1 for the term.. “search engine optimization south africa”

    My question is does Jonga also have special algorithms to rank web sites or what?

    Please let me know

    Way to Go Jonga!!!!

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