Search the web visually with Viewzi

Summary:If you use the web a lot, you probably use Google a lot. It's a habit for you to plug in keywords and you can easily browse the search results page to find what you are looking for.

If you use the web a lot, you probably use Google a lot. It's a habit for you to plug in keywords and you can easily browse the search results page to find what you are looking for. But isn't that sort of... robotic?

Dallas-based Viewzi is trying to change that boring search experience with something pleasing to the eye. Not only that, but they are giving away more information with a simple search query and a few clicks.

Below are some of my favorite "views" on the site and a few sneak peeks. If you click the image, you can see a full version of the view.

x3 Video View - A simple search for "Barack Obama" brought up this view. It shows three rows of animated video screenshots from YouTube, Blinx, and Veoh:

viewzi-video.jpg

It's better than just searching YouTube because you can see results from other popular sites. I would like to see more popular sites like Vimeo, Viddler, and Flickr built into this view.

Weather View - When I am rushing out the door in the morning and I want to find the weather, I usually just type "94105 temp" in Google, and I get the current conditions plus a few days ahead forecast. That's fine, but doesn't this look much better?

viewzi-weather.jpg

If you don't have time to read everything, you can just look at the background color; blue for cold, red for warm. This view shows current conditions, live radar, and a 10-day forecast that is easily hoverable at the bottom. Data is being pulled in from Sunlight, Yahoo! Weather, Weather.com, and AccuWeather.

Site Information View - What if you want to get information about a site before visiting it?

viewzi-siteinfo.gif

This view grabs stats from Google, Alexa, Delicious, and even Twitter. There is a little sidebar on the right that shows tweet chatter in real time. One glance at this page told me that Facebook was down an hour ago, but it's back up now.

News View - This view is not fully developed, but it does look pretty. It took a few queries for all the news items to show what I was searching for, but I can see this view being very useful in the future. It is nice though to have a quick scan of the headlines:

viewzi-news.gif

3D Photo Cloud View - The screenshot below doesn't do this view justice. Search for anything and Viewzi will show you photos from Flickr and Smugmug in a truly interactive interface. Do a quick search on your name to see if friends are posting unflattering photos of you:

viewzi-photocloud.jpg

Upcoming Views

I had a chance to sit down today with Giovanni Gallucci from Viewzi, and he gave me a sneak peak of new views they are working on.

Gadget View - This is a mashup of Flickr photos, Amazon products, Digg news stories, and a brief description from Wikipedia:

viewzi-gadget.jpg

Timeline View - By the time you are reading this blog post, the new Timeline View should be live on Viewzi. They simply take the timeline view from Google Experimental Search and dress it up with a full-page chronological view:

viewzi-timeline.jpg

Theatre View - This could be the newest of them all. Search for a movie that is currently playing in theatres and get everything you need; rating, Metacritic reviews, local showtimes, the trailer, and even a soundtrack view:

viewzi-theatre.jpg

There are countless other "views" and there will be more to come. For your Google addiction, there is even a simple text view. Meta search freaks are covered too because Viewzi has a four-way view that combines results from Google, Yahoo, Ask, and MSN.

Gallucci says his team is sprucing up the API, and soon, anybody will be able to build new visualizations. You can track that project at Viewzoo.

iPhone development is underway as well. Here is a sneak peak at what Viewzi was working on at iPhone Dev Camp this weekend:

viewzi-iphone.gif

So if you are tired of blue links on a white page, give Viewzi a try. Is this product just too complex for the average web user? If you use Firefox or Safari, add Viewzi as your default search engine for a week and see what you think.

Topics: Google, Browser

About

Andrew Mager is a hacker advocate at Spotify in New York City. Before moving to NY, Andrew worked at SimpleGeo & Ning in San Francisco. Previously, he was an associate technical producer at CBS Interactive. Andrew studied print & electronic journalism at Virginia Tech, where he created a student-run online news publication called Planet B... Full Bio

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