Tafiti: Making eye-candy natural searches

15Nov07

Today, just navigating around, I came into Tafiti, the new search thing from Microsoft. It is indeed, no other thing than a good front-end to Microsoft’s Live search engine.

The cool thing comes with the GUI. It tries to make search more natural, meaning also, more eye-candy. It still has to improve lots of things, but as a good step I think they made it pretty well. It’s not that I like the Live search engine (in fact I just see it as a poor competition to Google, unfortunately), but the approach this project has taken. It makes it easier and prettier to look for things. For example, depending on what you are looking for, it displays the results in different manners:
– If you look for “news” the results will appear as if they were in a newspaper.
– General web searches appear with a different clear to read representation.
– Images are displayed iPhoto like
….

Also, you have what have been called “shelves” where you can group your search with little preview thumnails and maintain them organized, as easy as drag & dropping.

One bad point is it finally leads you to the usual Live search engine in some cases as when you pick an image to see.

As I said, it pretty a first step (it’s in Beta phase right now), but I think it could be a good approach to a more meaningful and powerful search.

All of this uses the .Net based Silverlight techonology, which we have available in Linux thanks to Moonlight, so it’s kind of accessible “everywhere”.
Hope Google will do something like this, if they’re not actually working on it, you never know with them. For sure they’ll make it in an AJAX fashion, if they can (which may be true, as true is it would be far more complicated), but they also wouldn’t depend on a plug-in (specially Microsoft, even though Mono is there). Well… just speculations.

Resuming, I see this as a good research software. We’ll see if it leads to something mature.

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