Thursday, October 30, 2008

Viewzi - New View Mix prototypeImage by Travis Isaacs via Flickr Search has become such a common part of our everyday lives that google is well on its way to becoming a verb. I use the search box built into my browser as frequently as the next person, and am well accustomed to the no frills google search results. Which is all well and good, but I never thought that search could be fun - until I encountered Viewzi.

Viewzi is a visual search engine that launched to the public around June this year. Currently, it offers 18 possible views of search results: the celebrity photo view, song view, album view, web screenshot view, simple text view, power grid view, google timeline view, site information view, photo tag cloud, video x3 view, photo view, 4 sources view, weather view, viewzi news view, amazon book view, everyday shopping view, recipe view and techcrunch view. According to its wikipedia page, there are still more to come including a celebrity gossip view, facebook events view and movie view (which I would love)!

Each view draws from a number of relevant services or search engines e.g. the photo view presents results from flickr and smugmug. Though all the views are made available when a search is performed, their order is determined by how relevant they are. For example, if I were to search for 'britney spears', the celebrity photo view and the song view would be the first options in line.

Huge emphasis is placed on providing novel and seamless visual experiences, making search results really enjoyable to browse. One of my favourite views is the photo tag cloud, which presents photos and tags related to the search in a 3d cloud which can be further manipulated and explored. Even the so-called simple text view's results include small screenshots of the sites which are magnified when hovered over. If you create an account with viewzi, views can even be bookmarked and rated, allowing for handy access and personalised recommendations.

It makes sense to break down the diversity of the products available on the web today into their different types and enable these to be searchable. We've seen google move in this direction with its range of search services, from images and videos to blogs and maps. Viewzi takes this concept and adds its own twist to it, presenting each type of product in ways that flatter them best. Although the sources of content for some of Viewzi's views are handpicked and hence limited, it's a pretty good bet for what you'd most probably be looking for. Although it won't replace my trusty google search, it'll serve as a good complement. If anything can offer me such fresh perspectives (quite literally) on the information that populates my virtual home as well as Viewzi can, I'll take it!

Do you know of any services that offer you a fresh take on our everyday internet activities such as search? What do you think of Viewzi? Let me know in the comments!

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