organized search

Today’s Indian Express carried an article about Kosmix, another search engine but with a revolutionary new idea. We all know that Google has become synonymous to web search that we often call it as googling. May be that verb should get added to the dictionaries.

But, as the article rightly points out, the outcome of a Google search is nothing but a list of blue links, sorted by its PageRank mechanism. Thus, what we see as the result is just the top scoring web pages and not a mixture of relevant and different types of information. The reason is still most top web search engines consider the web to be made of pages, which is not entirely true.

Though we still access a web page to see a content or in original terms the information, the information is not just a bunch of text. And even information as a bunch of text is not of the same type. In this web2.0 era, information is not just in web pages, it is in blogs, it is in Orkut and Facebook profiles and groups, it is in microblogging especially tweets, it is in images posted in Flickr and lot other places, it is in discussion forums, it is in Youtube and other video sharing sites, it is in iTunes and other music sharing sites, and a hell lot of other places and in a hell lot of formats.

For example, when we are searching about a person we just do not want to know his home page and wherever his name is mentioned. We might want to know his personal information, we might want to know his Facebook profile, we might want to know his digital albums, we might want to know the music he hears to or uploads, we might want to know the video he has just uploaded or a video about him or presented by him, we might want to know his last tweet, we might want to know lot of other things. Just giving them as a list of blue links in a page doesn’t help people anymore.

The search results need to be organized and categorized so that the audience can get a big screen picture and not the boring links to click one after another in an endeavor to find the information that one wants. This is what Kosmix tries to do. It organizes the information into news, video, books, blogs, tweets, photos…

For example, search for Manmohan Singh gives me the wiki article about him, videos of him and about him, links for information pertaining to him, images of him, discussion about him, questions asked about him,  news and blogs, and all you want to know about him neatly organized.

As the article mentions in the end, it is now upto Google, Yahoo and other search engine beasts to wake up and take the web search to the next era. We are sick of blue links..

optimise for faster navigation

According to what Nielsen says, the average size of web sites have gone up making them fatter and fatter in the last few years. On the other hand, people’s response times have come down to 2.3 seconds per page.

Still he feels that half of the world doesn’t have faster broadband access and hence web sites need to be slimmer, simpler and easier to browse through, and such websites will get more attention than fatter but slower websites. We need to achieve a response time of 1.0 seconds for an optimal user experience.

As we all know, once the inter web was filled with web sites containing big images which rather distracted us. It has moved to a web2.0 era and been replaced with widgets. This hasn’t improved things anyway, still the web sites are slower and distractive a lot. The only way to attain the ultimate interactivity is to have sites which load up faster and are more easier to navigate around. If the user has to search on how to reach the next page or the previous, especially in his first encounter, he rarely returns back to the site again.