Looking Forward to Viveri: An Experimental Search Site

If you visit Viveri today, you’ll only see a placeholder with an “under construction” sign, but come later this summer this website will become Microsoft’s testing bed for experimental search technologies. Some of the features launched on Viveri will make their way into Live Search, but which ones those will be is to going to be based on user feedback.

The idea behind Viveri is for Microsoft to have a place where new concepts can be tested and users can provide feedback directly to search engineers. Think of it as sort of a “Search Labs” type of venture.

At the recent Tech Fest event, attendees got to see Viveri in action. One example of a feature that Vivieri users will soon be testing was a world cloud of additional queries related to the search terms entered. Another feature showed results from niche search engines appearing next to the main results in separate modules. For example, a product search returned results from Amazon and a health-related search brought up a WebMD module.

The Feature I Want: The Real-Time Web

That “module” concept immediately made me think how useful a side module of Twitter results could be if implemented. Imagine searching for something on the web and seeing real-time results from Twitter appear to the right of the traditional web results. The real-time results would have to refresh of course, like they do on search.twitter.com, in order to be truly useful. Or even better (perhaps), what if the side module could contain updates from Facebook’s Live Feed?

Everybody’sbeen saying lately how an engine that searched the real-time web could be the big “Google killer.” I think that’s a bit optimistic – changing ingrained habits tends to be a much slower process. However, that said, I could definitely see myself, as an early adopter, migrating to a search engine that integrated the real-time web results with the static ones. Heck, I’d probably switch today if one became available.

Even if you’re a “Twitter hater,” (and frankly, I don’t get you people – don’t dare call yourself a techie, OK?), there’s something  that’s just truly incredible about being able to tune into the thoughts of millions of people as opposed to just seeing a list of relevant web pages.

Perhaps this is on my mind today because I watched Obama’s speech last night while hitting “refresh” on search.twitter.com for a live (and often amusing) backchannel. A backchannel which included people from around the world watching their TV sets, yes, but it also included other politicians, staffers, and White House press correspondents. Since when did you ever have access to that type of transparency?

If that real time web of information could be mashed up into a normal web search engine, I could definitely see the beginnings of a search revolution taking place.

But perhaps I’m just getting ahead of myself here. The demonstrators at Tech Fest made no mention of anything like this. But could someone please pass along my idea? Thanks. 

You can read more about Viveri and check out a screenshot over on TechFlash.

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