Online search and shopping 'island' is a '3D visual search destination'

28 October 2009

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Two years in the making, Gemsta's shopping ‘island’ is the first of several to come in its online search and retailing site. 

Gemsta is simple to access: just go to You do not have to download any software, register or have any equipment beyond what Gemsta describes as an ‘average’ computer and broadband connection. For those with slow connections or who are accessing Gemsta on the move, an offline but updatable version, Gemsta G-Force, is coming.

500 retailers, one island

The shopping island gives browsers the choice of 500 retailers including John Lewis, Asda,, lovefilm, HMV, iTunes, Argos, BHS, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Next, Laura Ashley, Dyson, Prudential, Nationwide, Legal & General, Microsoft, the BBC, Reuters, Toys'R'Us, Thorntons and even Lego.

Rather than having a Second Life-style money economy of its own, you buy through Gemsta rather than in it. So clicking on a shop simply launches that retailer’s website in another tab in your browser. Our free advice guide to shopping safely online helps you get the best out of the internet while avoiding its pitfalls.

Which? tries Gemsta out

As Gemsta is only a way of getting to existing sites, why should you bother with it? Gemsta’s answer is its search function. Once you have entered your search term into the one box, clicking on surrounding icons will run that search in a general Google search, a Yahoo image search or a BBC News search

Using another feature, its Search Guru, lets you input your search into a large range of sites, depending on which area of Gemsta you are in. This works better with some sites than others, but is quick at the start of a search process. What it does not do is collect the results in one place, giving quite the opposite result by opening multiple tabs, one for each different site. 

Search has been 'like going to the local market'

Gemsta says that searching on the internet has previously been ‘like going to the local market’ and that their way of searching is more than three times quicker than conventional searching. We remain to be convinced because searches made in Gemsta don't always filter through to the websites themselves and still leave you with more detailed searching to do across a range of sites. 

Clicking on the ‘Compare’ icon takes you to the separate Gemsta Compare. There is one search box here too, and a very simple design. It gives you a choice of two searches, one of Gemsta’s 500 retailers and one of Amazon. While free of the many options sites such as Amazon present, their absence means the results can be something a jumble. Reading our free guide to price comparison sites will help you get the best from them.

We couldn’t find any exact competitors to Gemsta, but sites such as and come close.

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