Saturday, January 22, 2011

Semantic Visual Searching

One of my favorite topics these days is the idea of Web 3.0.  Yes, I know that we just got used to the second version of the web, but if you were lucky enough to have a discussion with Tim Berners-Lee he would be  sure to tell you that he's been working for years to have organizations post their data to the web for the world to tap.  And thus, the web is now full of non-linear data and we need a way to make interrelationships between this information possible. Part of this revolution will be the "semantic web" and with it will come a new way to search.  One search engine that has come along in the last few years that a lot of people claim is a semantic search engine is Spezify  While it's not quite there in terms of true natural language searching (it still seems more keyword focused), it does a wonderful job of pulling information from various sources on the web.  It's database appears to be constantly growing and currently includes Twitter, Facebook, Questia, Soundcloud, YouTube, Flickr and a host of other sites.  The results appear as visual snapshots (which will expand to the full version when clicked on) or with a "widget" allowing you to play media - all without leaving the confines of your search.  But what I didn't realize it could do (until today) is allow you to embed your results to your blog, wiki or webpage.  So, below you will find an example of a Spezify search for Abraham Lincoln Civil War.  The results can be rather sporadic until you become more granular with your keywords and fall apart more if you try to use "natural language" in your search.  So as a semantic search engine, Spezify is not quite there yet for me.  But for it's visual returns, I think it deserves a nod as one of the top search engines available today.

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