Friday, July 21, 2006

What will those search engines do next?

While it is not particularly new, visual searching seems to be catching on. With a visual search, users type in their search string, same as always, but results are displayed visually and clustered into subtopics, related areas, etc. The goal is to conceptually organize results and to allow users to look beyond the top 10 that appears in a traditional results list.

Check out a couple of these engines on their own:
http://www.kartoo.com/
http://www.grokker.com/

Grokker’s homesite allows users to “Grok” (and get visual result displays) using Yahoo’s search engine, but more and more databases are using it too. EBSCO Publishing and Factiva now use Grokker to provide a visual results display for several of their databases, and even the Internet Public Library, http://www.ipl.org/, is now on board.

Read more about the use of visual searches in these articles:
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6328082.html
http://library.stanford.edu/about_sulair/special_projects/stanford_grokker.html

Want to get rid of words all together? Information specialists are working on methods to search for images using images, just like those face-matching databases we see on TV police shows. Play with one yourself at the web site for St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum: http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/fcgi-bin/db2www/qbicSearch.mac/qbic?selLang=English.

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