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Could Spezify.com be the next Google?

I stumbled across Spezify.com while browsing web magazines at a Barnes & Noble. I immediately tried to check it out on my iPhone but couldn’t because it requires Flash - but I bookmarked it and took a look later. And it may live up to the boast, somewhat. 

spezify.com

OK, to be fair, it wasn’t Spezify.com boasting they’re the next Google…it was the article’s author mentioning that possibility. But I’ll admit…Spezify has an interesting spin on search - well, more a spin on how the search results are presented - more visually. A quick text input brings up an array of search results categorized as: images, text, tweets, video, etc. all displayed as a cluster of visual elements. You click on each visual “element” to learn a bit more - then if you want, click to quickly jump to the “found resource”.

I think visual search is the future.

Text-based search results (e.g., Google) can only take you so far. It’s good, but to me it seems to break down quickly. You can only scan so many “text listing” results before you give up in frustration. Humans are more visual in nature. We see patterns, we can gather more from seeing images than from simple text results. And as touch-based computing takes over…I think more visual representations of data and search results will become the norm - along the lines of the virtual displays seen in Minority Report. And Spezify.com seems to be heading down this path. Though, currently it lacks the multi-gestural support that would allow you to quickly navigate its visually displayed results - it does allow you to click and scroll with the mouse…grabbing the virtual desktop to move it around.

Of course, the quality of results counts too.

Of course, any search engine is only as good as the quality of the results. Cuil.com can tell you what happens when you boast you’re better than Google and then fall short. And while I didn’t spend enough time analyzing Spezify for it’s effectiveness in gathering search results - I’ll leave that for others - I do believe Spezify.com heralds in a shift in how search results will be displayed. And if it can deliver good, topical results, then its visual representation of the results will give it an edge.

As this new decade starts, multi-touch displays are starting to trickle into the mainstream - first with our Smart Phones….but soon with Tablets and Laptops. And eventually, you’ll see 3-D monitors that track your movements. When these technologies reach mass adoption (probably mid to late this coming decade), Spezify style search results will become the standard. It’s just how humans are designed to function. We can absorb visual data much quicker than we can scan rows and rows of text. And if we can manipulate “stacks” or “layers” of results - “flicking things around with our hands” - we’ll truly be searching in a humanistic manner. Provided our initial search, either typed or spoken, gathers us good, quality results to look through.

I know I’ll be giving Spezify.com a try in the coming weeks to see how their results stack up to Google and Bing. But more than the quality of the results, I’ll also be evaluating how quickly I can find what I’m looking for within their found results. Spezify.com may not be the next Google, but they could certainly shake things up on how Google or who might be next displays their search results.

Dec 30, 2009
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