12 Inspiring Visual Search Engines
We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words. Beyond the usual lines of text and blue links, visual search engines can present results and relationships that are more quickly grasped, as well as flexible ways to browse and explore. As the web becomes increasingly image- and video-based, it just makes sense to scan certain results visually.
Here are 12 visual search engines, each providing a different set of benefits we enjoy. Hopefully you’ll find a few that will come in handy in your next search…
Search Spezify for a Flash-based mixed-media visual collage of results. Spezify also helps you focus your search with hot searches and related words. Drawing equally from blogs, videos, images, music, tweets, and more, Spezify gives a diverse overview of any given subject that is useful and fun to navigate.
The Cooliris plugin transforms searches across Google Images, Bing, Flickr, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon and others into a beautiful, interactive 3D wall. It’s a fast way to browse images and video, for shopping, entertainment, and beyond. Results can be enlarged, saved, shared, and played within the application.
Originally a 3D browser, SpaceTime is now a visual search engine. Using Flash, you can browse a “cover flow” sequence of results from Google, Images, Wikipedia, or YouTube. You can’t play videos within search results, but it’s a handy way to identify the clip or scene you’re looking for.
With many visual search engines, the innovation starts with the way results are presented. With Jinni, a search engine for movies and TV shows, the innovation starts when you type in your search. Jinni’s semantic engine takes a flexible, mood-based approach. Type a search or visually browse categories like “suspenseful” and “psychological.” Results are displayed as a picture collage of screen stills, sized by relevance. Pop-up windows provide more information and direct you to watch your chosen movie or show.
Viewzi’s highly customizable search engine and plug-in offers sixteen different ways to view results for any given search. Once you get a feel for the options, you can start to take advantage of the level of control over both display and sources.
NeXplore offers three ways of viewing search results (summary with pop-up previews, gallery, and line) but also lets you easily focus your search on blogs, podcast, videos, news or images as well as web. It’s also easy to share, save sites for later or trash results you don’t like.
EyePlorer is a search engine for facts – a handy research tool. Type or drag your search term into the central search box, and the circle fills up with grouped, related concepts. From there, click on topics to get more information. You can also add topics to see combined results, or save topics temporarily on the notepad.
Quintura’s search widget creates an interactive tag cloud of related topics around a specific search term. Browse the cloud to explore a topic visually and find more information.
LivePlasma’ results for music and movies are a visual map of relationships between artists and works. You can’t listen or watch on the website, but it’s an unusual way to get ideas of new bands and movies to try based on your existing interests. Sign up to save your favorite maps.
Ujiko’s visual search engine displays results in a circle, clustered by color. Point your mouse to a site and a preview appears in the center. You can label any site as “put this site forward” or “filter this site (dustbin)” to customize your results as you continue to refine your search.
Touchgraph is more precisely a visualization tool (Java-based) for exploring connections between related websites. Enter a concept or website name to see a visual map and maybe also new websites of interest. The interactive Facebook Browser version shows connections between your Facebook friends, photos and locations.
Ziipa is a visual search engine for Web 2.0. Browse the tag cloud on the right-hand side or type a search, and results will be displayed as screenshots from the websites. Vote on websites to give them more prominence within the search results.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Posted by Jeff Thomas at 5:24 PM