‘Visual’ UIs, Maps and Next-Gen Search

Unfortunately . . . this is in the realm of incomplete thoughts also (as was my Grateful Dead post). This collection of thoughts was originally inspired by Flickr’s introduction of geotagging and the companion notion of more and more visual information making its way into search.

Indeed, there’s lots of talk about “what’s next in search.” Social search and services like ChaCha (if they can get it to work consistently) are one doorway. Another path is a visual interface, which I’ve written about here and here. And, as I indicated in both of those posts, social networks, 3-D, gaming and virtual worlds potentially come together in some fashion (mobile is also implicated: mobile social networking, social gaming).

Meanwhile, I wanted to point out something in local that’s pretty interesting as an alternative search modality (in addition to maps, etc.) in a directory context. I’ve been a fan of Cox’s Kudzu since it launched a couple of years ago now. (Now they’re in four markets and rolling out nationally.) Here’s something they’re doing that’s interesting: The Virtual House. It’s an alternative way to organize and present local search listings. Click around and see what they’ve done.

Separately, here are two map-based local search interfaces (1, 2) involving Yahoo!-owned Upcoming and local events. There are many more such examples (e.g., Starbucks “Salon” as a local events interface).

If you know of or run across other interesting “visual search” interfaces, especially with a local dimension, let me know.


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