Search Innovations (Demo 2004 Series – 2) – Two interesting Seach products were showcased: Grokker 2 from Groxis and p-Zoom from Big On The Net. They were both variations of a similar idea, with very different visual interfaces.
The core idea is to take the results of a search engine of some kind, and cluster and organize them to make them more understandable. Not a new idea, and in fact, there have been several products who have done this, none of which I can remember right off. Both Grokker and p-Zoom seem to work but in my view they don’t do enough in an effective enough way to be worth recommending.
In fact let me again my all-time favorite search utility, X-1 from IdeaLab. Now that’s a beautifully executed, and supremely useful search utility. It focuses more on searching of what’s in my own world (files, emails, etc.) which Groxis does but p-Zoom does not. I recommend it highly.
Two more editorial comments.
Grokker has a visually very pretty user interface employing a graphical device which we started calling the “circles-inside-other-circles” UI which I believe they invented. The interesting thing is that there were two other totally different products which seemed to have copied the idea and were using a very similar visual device.
Secondly, the notion of searching what’s in my personal space – files, emails, contacts, appointments, etc. (which both X1 and Grokker do) is an amazingly useful capability which certainly belongs in the operating system. And Microsoft has on several occasions incorporated this into Windows. In fact it seems like there’s some elaborate technology for search built into Windows XP. But for some reason it’s one of those things (like Collaboration) which Microsoft just never gets right. I wonder why.