Hard to believe that 2010 is in full swing. (Wasn’t it just the holidays?) Lots on the plate for this column: cool search ideas, a few industry tech tidbits (would those be techbits?), and a bit of, too.
It’s Getting Visual in Here. Search is getting visual, that is. If you ask what the future of search engines looks like (putting social media aside, for the moment), the keyword may just be “visual,” as in “visual search.” Bing, trying to keep up with and surpass Google, has its Bing Visual Search now in beta. The idea is simple. When searching for information, instead of links to Web pages, how about getting images of the results, which you could then click on to see more information?
Do You Have Your Goggles On? Google Goggles is a new visual search app for Android phones (hold tight, iPhoney folks, we’ll get to you in a sec). Use this free app to take a picture of an item, such as a landmark, a logo, or a piece of art, and the system returns Google search results pointing to lots of info about the image. Using the business card function, the app will scan the card and allow you to download it into your contacts. How about using that on the floor?
Not to Be Outdone. Natch, the iPhone has followed suit, with an app called oMoby. Same premise, different operating system. Tell me that the future of search isn’t visual.
What? You Want More Visual? Have you checked out oSkope? (Will developers ever stop capitalizing the second letter of their products’ names?) This visual search tool allows you to select one of a few specific sites (including Amazon, YouTube, eBay, and flickr) and visually drill down to find what you want. More, you say? Well, this column isn’t that long, so I’ll end this segment with a great article that discusses many of the top visual search engines. But it’s a deep rabbit hole … Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Social Search Is Way Cool, Too. The buzz these days is that social media is replacing traditional search engines as the go-to search resource. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to think these tools will overtake Google, at least in 2010. However, that’s not to say that social search isn’t effective and increasingly popular. One cool engine that I like is Social Mention, which searches dozens of social media sources for your search terms and provides results and analysis. You can drill down to specify a type of social media to search (e.g., blogs) or select the sources you want to query. It even has a Google Alerts–style social media alert tool.
Did You Go to Camp in February? I did. EventCamp 2010, that is. This first-of-its-kind event brought together meeting professionals with a passion for using social media in this industry. Held in New York City, it was an enormous success. Kudos to all of the organizers, as well as the participants, for making this day rich in content and networking. I know that the organizers are looking to bring this concept to other cities, so be on the lookout. It’s a can’t-miss event!
Some Cool Twitter Tools. If you haven’t starting using Twitter, do so … now (please). I believe it is the best information-sharing tool out there and is critical to being part of today’s conversation. If you’re already using it, have you checked out ReFollow? This Web-based tool allows you to better manage your Twitter contacts. Many folks use HootSuite as their Twitter client, which now has a great mobile app for the Droid phone, which I love. Oh, by the way, you are following @meetingsnet on Twitter, aren’t you? Just thought I’d ask. And yes, I am.