The web has become a vast cesspool. While there is still plenty of good information available out there, it is getting harder to find. People are spending more time wading through the endless array of garbage that has nothing to do with what they searched for. Computers have evolved a lot from when they were first invented. The world wide web has been through a few changes itself. I predict it will do so again in the near future.
In the beginning, the web was text based. This got you the information you needed, but it lacked a certain je ne sais pas. (“I don’t know” for the non French speakers) Later the web gained the ability to display graphics and photos. This gave it a better feel as information was displayed in a way humans more readily accept. People tend respond better to things that are visually appealing then just plain text.
However, other then new ways of programming, the web has remained for a large part, visually stagnate. Google helped to organize the vast quantities of sites in a way to make them easier to find. Definitely a very helpful feature, and it did indeed change how we searched for awhile. It even gave us new language for describing how we search. Very few haven’t heard someone say, “just Google it.” Even this is now old news and long lost into our language as a regularly used lexicon. The visuals however have stayed the same. It’s still the same web we’ve been searching for over a decade now.
There are a few new sites here and there that are aiming, at least partially, to change that. By organizing their search results in a more visual way, they are starting to think outside the normal search boxes. As computers get more powerful and the internet gets faster, I see information becoming a lot more visual. Imagine surfing the web in 3D. Imagine surfing the web on a virtual surfboard. We have games that blur the lines between virtual and reality, yet we still look up information in only 2D? What is wrong with this picture? It’s flat, that is what is wrong.
Granted, not all systems are yet capable of anything near what I’ve mentioned, but we are getting closer every day. It’s time to start thinking about where we are headed on the info highway. It’s time to start thinking how to keep it a superhighway or let it become a deteriorating back road.
In the meantime there are a few sites that are trying to change the way we think about the web and searching for information. One of these was designed by an ex-employee of Google. You can see their idea of how search should be here. Here are some screen shots from Cuil.
There is also a new site called KGB. They are available on the web and on mobile devices and phones. You can check them out here. Instead of giving you a list of other sites to go to, they give you a list of closest matches to what you’re looking for. Once you select what your looking for, they display a page on their own site with the information you requested. The theory is it brings all the information to you instead of making you find it yourself. Here are some screen shots.
It’s still a new site in so called “alpha mode”, but it does have an interesting new take on how to search the web. I’ll be keeping an eye on these and other new technologies. Hopefully our information superhighway will get the proper upgrades it deserve to keep it from becoming a side road.