So what’s the latest and the greatest in the field of web searching? Well I’ve got a list of the top 10 new things a web search engine should have :
- Dynamic Search – Instant search as you type. Type in a few letters, and results come up instantly based on those letters. It’s really nifty. Obvious places you can already see this is when searching in WMP 11, Yahoo! (Search Assist), Vista’s Instant Search, OS X Spotlight, Windows Live Toolbar, etc. Integrating this directly into the search engine would be profound. What Yahoo! and Live Toolbar does is neat, where it shows what "search term" you might be looking for, but I want to see what "results" you’re looking for, not just the words. And if it’s done instantly and just as fast : wonderful.
- Website image preview – Have you ever seen an icon like this : ? Or an icon like this : ? Chances are, if you hover your cursor over them, an image preview of a site will show up. Too some that can be really nifty. To give you a nice identifier of the site you’re about to go to, just in case you’re not sure if it’s the site you want, or a site you want to avoid. Very nifty.
- Universal Search – Seeing all or many major search fields (Web, Image, Video, News, etc.) all in one setting. This is predominantly seen in Ask.com, where major search fields are seen all at once. This can be useful for those who don’t know of something, and seeing all of it laid out in various fields can be useful. This has been seen before in Google and Windows Live before as well.
- Ranked Search – This is more user-done than a regular algorithm. Have you ever searched for something, but couldn’t find that definite thing you’re looking for until you reach several more results down? If users could rank results themselves, this would more appropriately match results to what’s most popular and relevant now, than some algorithm. Think of it like ranking comments on Digg or any other site : bad ones get a thumbs down, good ones get an up arrow. Something like that. This could also be more beneficial in image search than anything.
- Filtered Search – Sometimes, you really wish you could narrow down to EXACTLY what you’re looking for. That’s where filtered search comes in. You can EXCLUDE certain keywords that are not at all related to what you want (Windows as in Microsoft, or the ones on walls?). You can find results from a CERTAIN site just by dropping the URL : like this. Look for something posted at a particular TIME. Etc. That can be really useful for a college student or somebody who likes to specify what they’re researching for.
- Immersive Search – How about a more interactive search engine? Services like Viewzi are entering into the age of customizing how we view the data. Traditional search results laid out as they are now, are getting kind of old. These days, a simple link won’t do for us. Now we can embed other neat graphics, layouts, among many extras to customize our search experience. Viewzi is a search experience that’s looking to make the data we find more visual-friendly and interactive. Take a look at the video. Soon, we can really customize how we view the data in a better way.
- 3D Search – Imagine if a website was like a little 3D space, in a world of other 3D spaces. This is taking the web to the next level. You could make your own little self to walk around this vast world. Think of it as Second Life, but specifically for websites. Stroll around, gander at floating videos, streaming content, and a bunch of other neat things from where you are. Maybe we can see Virtual Earth utilized for this?
- Data manipulation – Wouldn’t it be neat to manipulate the data you find? What we do now is just look at it and click at it. New ways of data manipulation could be things like grouping together things you like, adding tags or notes to certain results, ranking them, among other things. There’s something called Tafiti (Silverlight-needed) that does something similar to that. You can search for things, and if you like a result, you can drop it into one of the glass panes next to you. And make a collection/group from that. Or how about literally stretching photos from image results? Playing multiple video results at once? Rearranging web results the way you see fit? The possibilities are many.
- Localized Search – Localized search has been gaining traction for quite awhile now. Suppose you were at at Point A, and you were looking for destinations. First it would help to have a GPS feature handy or the address/zip code of the area. Localized search can help you pinpoint to where you want to go if you’re just wanting to try anything new or unfamiliar. Find a store, school, police department and look at their user rating, reviews, pictures, health inspections, and other info. about the area right at your fingertips. This is the kind of information that can be really helpful when you’re on the go. We’re really seeing this take off.
- Favicons with results – Not a major thing, but favicons are the little logos you see on many websites. You can usually see the site’s favicon right from the URL entry of the browser. Like I said, it’s not a major thing, but it could be pretty handy if you’re looking through a long list of results from multiple. You might trust this site a lot more if you can see the favicon fast and directly, and pick it. It’s a nice tool for those who are more pertained to go with ‘trusted’ sites they know. We can see this coming in web results, news results, image results, video results, etc.
So those are the top 10 new things to come in web search. I’m really rooting for Microsoft to do a remake of their whole Live Search brand with these little tips to what I want to see. If a search engine could manage most of these next-gen things, they would be definitely #1.