Saturday, April 22, 2006

Swicki Search

If you look at the right sidebar you'll notice a new search engine I just added to my blog. It's a swicki search, which shows search terms used by visitors to the blog.

A swicki is new kind of search engine. Unlike other search engines, the user community has control over the results and uses the "wisdom" of users to improve search results.

The swicki shows the search results, which are constantly updated, in a nice 'buzz cloud' of search terms.

What's cool about this?

Sometimes, looking for specific information has that needle in a haystack feeling. Not only can you get 6,000+ results from a simple query, the most relevant data for you can be buried way down the list. Swickis let you slice and dice and customize your search query so that you can specify the most relevant sources, then get further refinement of the results once like-minded users start engaging with the results. Every click refines the swicki's search strings, creating a responsive, dynamic result that's both customized and highly relevant.

What is a buzz cloud and why is it cool?
Buzzclouds are a list of search tags that are popular or recently typed into the swicki. Its a bit like overhearing your community's conversation at a water cooler - the buzzcloud shows what is going on in their searches. This is useful as it drives more traffic by surfacing what is already at the top of your users' minds, and suggesting interesting things to look at.

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