The competition for search eyeballs is an intense game. Anything that a company can do to test new waters or create real differentiation could potentially be a driver for new user acquisition. Of the big three search proprietors, Microsoft has stepped up with an innovative new visual search tool called Tafiti (which means "do research" in Swahili).
Built on the company's Silverlight (it's basically another version of Flash and could be the downfall of this product) platform, Tafiti allows users to search in an interactive, visual environment. The motion is fluid and rich and should appeal to anybody who is tired of the stark white look of Google or the overly crushed look of Yahoo. This universal search tool incorporates images, RSS, news and books into one search with a visual toggle between them. The option that allows you to drag results to a pile for later reference is a very cool idea. (Makes me wonder if/when Apple would partner with Google to do something like this.)
Here is the video for your review.
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- All major search players are moving to universal search
- Visual search overlays like this one could be a part of next generation search apps
- Because items like images, videos, RSS, books, etc. will be indexed, marketers need to start looking at tags and other meta data to make sure people can find them
- Silverlight = Flash functionality, but it's a separate plugin
- Would be interesting if Microsoft built another version of this in Flash to bump up adoption
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