First Look at Microsoft’s Tafiti search engine

2 09 2007

Microsoft has released a new showcase of its Silverlight web development frameworks, a graphical search engine called Tafiti. Tafiti, which means “do research” in Swahili, is an experimental frontend to Microsoft’s Live Search engine. It presents search options in three panes on the screen: the left pane is for entering search queries and switching between image, RSS, Web, and News, the middle pane contains the search results, and the right pane is used to “dock” results using drag-and-drop for looking at later.

To run the Tafiti web application, you must first download and install Silverlight. Silverlight runs on Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.4.8 or higher. A Linux version of Silverlight is being worked on by Mono developer Miguel de Icaza but is not yet available.

The installation is a one-time-only affair, with the default setting to update Silverlight automatically in the background when new releases come out—a good thing since the Silverlight frameworks themselves are still in beta. Once installed, a browser restart is required, and then the Tafiti site will run. Tafiti runs on Internet Explorer 6 or 7, Firefox 2.x, and Safari 2.x, but it will not work on Opera or the new Safari 3 beta. I had some problems with Tafiti not rendering search results on Firefox, but others have reported no difficulties. Read the rest of this entry »

MyLiveSearch public release announced

20 08 2007

MyLiveSearchMyLiveSearch has officially announced its public release which is scheduled to be on August 29. MyLiveSearch, which claims to be the world’s first live search engine, is the brainchild of software developer Rob Gabriel.

Google’s search engine works by building a vast index of web pages, via automated “spiders” that crawl through billions of web pages a year. However this represents only a fraction of the enormous, sprawling internet, and the index can never be entirely up to date.

Yahoo! search and Microsoft’s Live search work the same way.

MyLiveSearch is fundamentally different. It works through a small browser plug-in. The search terms are put through Google, or other indexed search databases, but those results are treated as “starting points” alongside the user’s bookmarks and other popular web hubs.

From there, the live search takes over, crawling through hundreds of web pages connected to those starting points in search of more information relevant to the search.

Mr Gabriel says the results come back in seconds, and are almost always richer, more detailed and more useful than a standard, index-based search.

Geni – We Are All Related

15 08 2007

Geni’s premise is very simple. We are all related. This idea, while theoretically feasible, has resulted in a family tree website where you map your family tree visually. If you’ve tried to create a family tree earlier – either on paper or in MS Word or MS Excel – you would have realized how painfully-difficult and error-prone it is.

Geni hits that exact problem on the head, and all you need to do is follow the visual clues to create your own family tree. What’s more, you can invite all your relatives via e-mail to join the tree. And your relatives can in turn invite their relatives to join the tree – and pretty soon you realize that your family is way bigger than you thought it possible. The data entry can be kept to a minimum – name, email address and relationship to another person in your tree – if you feel this is the way to go, or you can fill in as much detail as you wish. You can add your picture (so far-flung relatives will finally know what you look like).