I've been playing around with the Exalead Exalabs site for a while, and thought I'd share my discoveries. In common with the Google labs site Exalead has been playing around with, and exploring a variety of different search concepts, and their experiments are available for the rest of us to play with.
The first of these is the 'Constellations' option; the link takes you to an English language search page for 'library'. We're shown something very similar to the screenshot below:
It's quite similar to the Kartoo interface that I looked at the other day; mouse over a result and see more detail about the page. Unfortunately however, that's primarily what this resource does - it'll identify a particular site/page, but it doesn't show any kind of context, so it's necessary to click on the link. Obviously Google and Bing in particular are rather more helpful than this. There's an option to refine the results, so my library search resulted in refinements such as public, digital or academic libraries. I could also choose to limit/change the search to 'people', but I was somewhat surprised to see results for 'Jesus' so I think a bit more work needs to be done there. There are options to move around the screen, enlarge/decrease the view and a sidebar to pull out a text version. Interestingly it simply wouldn't work for me in IE8, but what fine in Firefox. In summary - an interesting experiment, and probably wise to keep it in a 'laboratory' at the moment. Finally, they have a twitter account for the developers.
The second experiment is Miiget which is a celebrity search option. Search for a star, and have them displayed at the centre of a cloud of results - I tried Clint Eastwood and the entry was surrounding by other actors, directors and characters. Slightly disappointed that there wasn't an image of Eastwood - that can't be difficult to find, surely?
A fun option is the 'relation' between famous people, though I've got to say it was thin at times. I tried a link between Eastwood and Mother Teresa. It went like this: Eastwood to Harry S Truman (President Truman is featured in the 2006 Clint Eastwood movie Flags of Our Fathers, where he is played by American actor David Patrick Kelly.) to John F Kennedy (He was a congressman for six years but had a mixed voting record, often diverging from President Harry S. Truman and the rest of the Democratic Party.) to Mother Teresa (Kennedy came in third (behind Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mother Teresa) in a Gallup list of the most admired people of the twentieth century.). Yes. well.
Chromatik is an image/colour search engine. Start with a search, choose saturation (colorful or grey), then luminosity (bright or dark) and hue. Finally an answer to the question - it was a red book! This one isn't at all bad, and stacks up well against the Google and Bing offerings.
Karen's done a more indepth view of this and other image/colour search tools in her blog which you might want to take a look at.
There's also an 'Exalead Lite' version, which looks similar to the normal version, but doesn't have any advanced search option, and the refine feature is rather more limited.
Then there's Tweepz which I liked. Basically it's another people finder - listing biography, avatar, URL, followers/following, with a really nice refine feature that I've not seen before, allowing you to limit to number of followers/following, language and 'extracted entities' which are search dependent. Useful options if you want to find some authoritative individuals to follow in a particular subject area for example.
Next up is Voxalead, which finds keywords in transcriptions of video. I have to say that I was very impressed with this resource - it does exactly what you'd imagine. Run your search and the video clips appear on the screen, choose the one that you're interested in and the video starts a few moments before your word(s) appear to put it into some sort of context.
The range of sources is disappointingly small at the moment - mainly major US and French resources, but given that this is just in the labs, that's fair enough.
The final option was something called Wikifier which I wasn't impressed with. The idea is that you type in a URL and Wikifier loads the page and puts in links to appropriate Wikipedia entries, and highlights them for you. However, a political reference to US lead to a link to the US Womens football team, and a football reference to Newcastle led to an entry on the city. This needs lots of work!
So there you have it - a quick roundup of the Exalead lab experiments, ranging from the really interesting and useful to the not so much. Do have an explore if you get the chance!