Sent to you by Sean McBride via Google Reader: Headup! Information
Incoming! via Alt Search Engines by rafi on 10/17/08
There’s a new phenomenon going on out there in the world of search, and
we’re seeing it more and more here at ASE. As we reported with KallOut,
search teams are now beginning to forgo the traditional browser-based
approach. Where KallOut lets you search using a separate program that
tags into any text you’re using on the web or in any MS Office document
and gives you the information you want in little bubbles without having
to leave what you’re doing, headup, by SemantiNet is out to do
something similar.

I just spoke with SemantiNet co-founder Tal Keinan last night, and this
thing is a big one. So much so, in fact, that I was a bit overwhelmed
by its scope. It might actually search for, and find, TOO much of what
you want, but than again, I’m probably just a wimp. Here’s a quick
example. Search for a CD on Amazon, and headup will tell you this:

* How many of your Facebook® friends like this band;
* Hear the band’s latest music streamed via Pandora™
* See band pictures on Flickr®;
* Find the best tickets for the concert in your city via Zvents™;
* How many of your friends are using Twitter™ or Friendfeed™ to discuss
the upcoming concert;
* What restaurants near the concert hall are top-rated by Yelp®;
* Use cutting-edge geolocation through Yahoo® and its Fire Eagle
technology for accurate ‘where am I’ capabilities;

Worried about being flooded? I was too, but don’t be. headup is nicely
and neatly tucked away into a little tiny plus sign next to potentially
interesting text, so it won’t jump at you like a slobbering punch-drunk
labrador retriever. It will be quiet and obedient, like one of those
helper monkeys I hear about in cartoons or some such.

Video time!

What you’re doing with headup is telling it who you are by uploading
information about yourself, like your facebook profile, into it, and
the more you give it, the more appropriate your searches will be.
Worried about people spying on you? I asked Tal this question, and the
answer’s at the end of the video, but if you missed it, there is no big
brother watching you here. It’s just your hard drive working locally
with the plugin.

If I may editorialize here, I think, truly, that browser-free search,
where you don’t have to go to a particular search engine, is going to
be a big thing in the near future as it becomes more developed. What I
think is needed here is to protect users from the potential torrential
downpour of information that headup, or KallOut, can give you. What I
mean is that I would really like to see these programs have an option
for eliminating options, like seeing how many of my friends are
interested in a band I’m searching. Personally, that doesn’t titillate
my libido, though I recognize that it does for others. But other things
that headup can do definitely make my grin widen, like hearing the
music streaming via pandora? That’s cool. Let the people decide what
they want to find, and have them put it in. Then you’ll have seriously
targeted search that isn’t overwhelming. headup! Power to the people!

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