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Friday, September 26, 2008

Search Engine Interfaces and Virtual Reality

User interfaces are a crucial point to access and navigate information and by this these are a most important design issue, which is influenced by the point of access and purpose. The point of access might be the computer, a mobile phone or a tv set. Purposes might be information access or entertainment. Nowadays there have come up a couple of new user interfaces. So far there have been inferface introductions for search and video in particular.

Another great interface comes with Viewzi. It is a meta search engine and portal offering access to various sources by various interfaces. One may submit a keyword and choose the way fitting the purpose most. This might be a general search, news or video, shopping and much more. There are some useful tools, that are not available at other search portals like timelines. To me it seems that Viewzi has one of the broadest approach related to sources and offers the easiest navigation to information access.

A completely different way to access information is offered by yoowalk. Here sources from the web are visualized like real world shops at a fantasy virtual reality street map. Navigation happens by walking through or accessing elevators. As there is a community this is an interesting approach making the web a virtual world experiences, which can be navigated together with others.

Visualizing the real world and making it available to walk through is what EveryScape does. This is a great experience of virtual traveling the real world. The service is still in beta, but has some popular places visualized to start a journey. For example one may walk through Beijing. There is a navigation menu at the upper left to choose and visit popular places, restaurants or shopping. EveryScape invites artists to develop to add new places and businesses to present their locations or services.

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