Float Through Your Results With Surfity

By joshuaaajoshuaaa (1254321935|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

Surfity's innovative layout surrounds you with results.

Float Through Your Results with Surfity

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Surfity, a new search engine for images, video, and web articles, displays your results in a 3-dimensional realm in which you navigate by clicking and throwing (not literally, of course) your mouse. Upon searching, you find yourself floating amidst your results and as you begin to look around, you grow surrounded by related pictures, videos, and web pages.

Background

Surfity was developed by Jacek Ciereszko for Makolab, a Polish website upkeep company. Makolab is hired out by companies and corporations to maintain the appearance of their website and their overall internet experience. While Surfity appears to have been developed for the sole purpose of winning a competition, the website will remain up and running under its current domain name.

Test Drive

This blog has taken quite some time to write as I have been distracted by Surfity's unique results layout. I have never come across a search engine quite like it, and keep finding myself searching for different things just so I can fly through the results as fast as possible — you can almost make a game out of it. Surfity uses Bing's database for its searches, so the results it returns are typically pretty good.

Pros

  • Awesome concept for results layout, especially for images and videos
  • Quality results — same back-end as Bing

Cons

  • No live preview
  • Bland (but not boring!) website
  • Fewer results are visible to the viewer at any one time (the 2 you can see in the Surfity scroll bar vs. the 15 you can see in a typical Bing search)
    • This makes it more difficult for us to scan the results quickly
  • No unique URLs (i.e. an image search for [Will Ferrell] still results in the basic Surfity URL of http://www.surfity.com/#/images
    • Impossible to bookmark specific searches
  • While the layout works well for image and video searches, web searches are confusing and difficult to navigate

Implications for the Future

Because Surfity uses Bing's database, it is not logical to foresee this unique search engine outgrowing its source. I don't see Surfity becoming popular unless some major improvements are made, since there is really no point in developing another search engine unless they create and work off of their own database.

What I can see happening, however, is Surfity's ideas being discovered and utilized by one of the major search engines for their image and video search functions (i.e. Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or Ask). Of course it would probably be easiest for Bing to swallow up the technology, but would it actually benefit their search capabilities? I believe that it would.

Recently, Bing has been striving to be a little different, to be one step ahead of the game. I say, give the innovators at Bing a chance to improve what Surfity already has going, and the results could be phenomenal. Imagine Bing's interesting website, coupled with Yahoo!'s extensive search database, displayed to us as an interactive matrix of results similar to Surfity, complete with live preview and better graphics. That is what I would call a search experience.

Will I Ever Use It Again (for search purposes, and not to test my mouse dexterity)?

Probably not. While it is an interesting concept that could have big implications on the search industry in the future, I don't see the point in using Surfity when I could just as easily, if not more easily, use Bing and receive the same results. While the concept is intriguing, Surfity is not yet practical in the sense that search engines are meant to be easy/fun to use (success) and expedite the search process (fail).

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