Thursday, October 19, 2006

Changing the Face of Searching?

Well, as you may have heard by now, Ms. Dewey is a brand new search engine that is taking a run at Google. Reviews are all over the blogosphere now. However, it's so unique that I'm going to hop onto the Blogosphere Express and offer my two cents:

(1) Interface - Well, what more can I say. It's definitely a diversion from Google's simplicity. There's more to look at, that's for sure. But I like it. It's fresh, dynamic, and interactive. The only drawback is that the search results are a bit cumbersome to navigate.

(2) Web 2.0-compatible - To date, there's still no search engine that makes witty comments, shows signs of moodiness, and has an interest in your searches. True, it's artificial, but it's still not a bad attempt at user interaction. When one types in a search term or phrase, Janina offers a commentary. If the question is bizarre enough, Janina might even perform a short skit.

(3) Effectiveness - In the end, the question is, can it do what it's supposed to do? I've done quite a few searches. It's definitely no Google. A little trick that I use to determine an engine's effectiveness is to try finding a journal article by simply by typing in the full (or partial) article title. Ms. Dewey unfortunately comes up short (but so does Yahoo! and MSN Live). Google still rules at the end of the day.

(4) A new type of search engine - The "traditional" search engine days of Google and Yahoo! are increasingly challenged by up and comers. The clustering search engines such as Clusty and Vivisimo are great tools; and the visual search engines like Kartoo are also great as well. And now we have the "interactive" search engine. What does this all mean? There's still a ways to go before Ms. Dewey can offer us searchers something substantial. Perhaps Janina can offer a witty remark to that.


Megan said...

Very interesting. I've never seen anything quite like Ms. Dewey before. In my opinion it's good for a laugh, but not very practical for searching. And it is hard to navigate through the search results.

Dean Giustini said...


This is *fun* but I can't really see how the tool works in action because my computer browser at home shuts down when I try to use it. My computer at work does not have a sound card; I need to buy some headphones. I'm feeling very "out of it" today.


Allan said...


Good point. The search engine is more of a novel concept with a recreational purpose behind it.

What I admire about it is its bold move towards interaction with the user. It's a tiny step. But it's perhaps a faint sign of things to come.

What I'd like to see is what it will look like years down the road if it's still around. Or whether other search engines (e.g. Google) will take this concept and move beyond the novelty into something grander in terms of utility.

Indeed, the reviews are mixed so far.

Allan said...

As for the technical glitches, one possible reason is that it requires the installation of Macromedia Flash...

Which, ironically, is not very user-friendly in terms of computer compatibility for people with different systems and hardware.