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October 15, 2008

KallOut, Powerful Contextual Search

When you read an article, you often find concepts or names that aren't properly explained, but it's inconvenient to interrupt your reading and use a search engine to find more information. KallOut is a Windows application that addresses this problem: whether you read the document in a browser, a word processor or in a PDF reader, you can select some text and obtain some useful information in a mini-browser.

KallOut lists many search engines and reference sites from which you can choose, but it also suggests good options. For example, if you select "DMCA takedown", KallOut suggests an article from Wikipedia, for "Flickr" KallOut points to Flickr's homepage, while "NY" is linked to Google Maps and geotagged photos from Flickr.

The software displays search results, maps, videos, Wikipedia articles, definitions, translations - all without opening a new page. For now, KallOut supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, Microsoft Office 2003/2007, Adobe Reader, WordPad and Notepad.

Internet Explorer 8 introduced accelerators, a similar feature that already has a public API and an impressive gallery, but KallOut is not limited to Internet Explorer, it's easier to use and it requires less clicks.


  1. Why doesn't it work with Chrome? That would be useful.

  2. Thanks for the great article Alex!!! We are a small team and really appreciate the post.

    We will be announcing our API towards the end of the month. Stay tuned for more updates.

    @Mike Sheridan,
    We are working on a generic solution that will support more apps (including G Chrome). It should be out before the end of the year.

    We are also working on the Mac version.

    If anyone has any questions or comments about KallOut, feel free to email me at matt[a]

    Matt Lorenzen
    VP of Product

    Email: matt[a]

  3. How is it better than's AnswerBar?

  4. 1-Click Answers shows a similar mini-browser, but it only includes definitions and Wikipedia articles.

  5. 1-Click Answers shows definitions from all of Answers resources not just Wikipedia. There might be hundreds of them, Look here: Most of them (might be all of them) are professional resources which Answers paid to their publishers in order to put them in their site.

  6. That's easy to find something on internet.

  7. Answers is better because it lets me search for words from virtually any app, not just IE, Firefox or MS Office ..

  8. How about KallOut as a Firefox Add-On?

  9. As part of the setup package, you also get a Firefox extension.


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