ArcticStartup have earlier reported about a promising Nordic visual search engine initiative – the Stockholm based Spezify.com, a visual multimedia search engine founded by Felix af Ekenstam and Per Persson, digital creatives and freelancers. Their concept have a great potential to grab a big piece of this market.
Their approach and perspective emphasizes their service as a starting point for inspiration. And I have to agree, Google may still be the number 1 alternative for serious web research in most fields, but it takes time to find all the golden nuggets among the tons of information standard search engines can provide. Some argue that the top of the iceberg, is the top to read, end of discussion, no other service is needed.
But I don´t think that is the complete truth. It used to be, times have changed. Google is no longer the trendsetter in the search engine market, it has stayed with its original concept a bit too loyally and others with new daring concepts are ready to overtake or at least add extra needed functionality. However Google won’t wait long for a powerful retort in this area, I am sure.
The Flash powered Spezify format, with iPhone scrolling, balanced mix of images, quotations, YouTube clips and other searchable web media, is an elegant approach that suits humans way of perceiving various media & information without tiring the user. The widely used ordered list format (used by Google, Yahoo, Bing and many the other search engines) is secondary in that sense.
And as the saying goes, A picture is worth a thousand words, and a clip probably even more so. The team behind Spezify.com had an ambition to create a single place to find the essence of a word. Instead of having to dig through various sources like Flickr, YouTube, Yahoo, Twitter, Google Images and similar, they decided to make the process quicker to get that notion of a search term in a very short time. With that aim cleared, they are now moving on with the concept and customizing its service for the iPhone market, according to a twittering made some weeks ago.
According to online reactions, Spezify seem to have been received well by young trend sensitive users. One spontaneous reaction among many is from a female user (in her 20ies) expressing her fancy of Spezify in this way: “If Google was my husband, then Spezify would be my hot pool boy”
Even though they are prominent in the visual search market in the Nordic/Baltic countries, they are far from alone in a global perspective. Microsoft Bing is right now betatesting a visual search version (not yet testable in Sweden and presumably in the Nordic countries). It aims to visually sort, scroll and enrich categories like news, media, sport, entertainment, shopping items and similar. But they’re not quite there yet and apparently not on the same wave length as the unique Spezify concept.
Among about 50 other visual search services Blinkx.com and Search-cube.com caught my attention especially with their creative and useful approach. Blinkx focus on clips and videos in a neat visual format and Search-cube organizes multimedia in a cubic format.
And of course, while we are on the subject of innovative visual search tools, we have the still hot Google Goggles mobile app project, where you can pick up your mobile (for Android phones at the moment), take a photo of a book, a building or a work of an artist and in seconds get information of the who, what and when of the processed image. (rumour say it is possible also on an Ericsson Experia X10, but it is not yet confirmed)
These are just some of the top services in a bubbling trend of visual search engines, fighting for the internet audience, to present information differently from standard search engines on the market. I safely predict that this market will become even hotter in the near future.