First Look: The Viewzi Visual Search Engine

While Viewzi is really a search aggregation tool that uses, but doesn't compete with, Google, it does show a nifty approach to search. The company, Viewzi, is based in Richardson, Texas, and made its public debut Wednesday night at the Digital Experience show in New York.

A quick runthrough of Viewzi found it to be a promising new destination for Web surfers and searchers. While most of the views are specific to different forms of media, they all come up with results that are relevant to the initial request.

After entering the search request, Viewzi opens what is called the View Mix. This is a scrollable, linear display of all the available views. When the user clicks on the view he or she wants, it opens—and a miniature version of the View Mix is shown on the top of the screen. From here, the user can switch back and forth between views without having to re-enter the search info.

Each view has a different look and feel and pulls results from different source sites. It then compiles the data in a flash-based, interactive display. The MP3 view, for instance, returns results from Seeqpod, Mooza and MP3 Realm and lists them with a play button that allows the user to listen to the file. There is also a link that will open a new tab (or window if the browser doesn't support tabs) with the source site.

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The other views are Album, Video X3, Site Information, Simple Text, Basic Photo, 3D Photo Cloud, 4 Sources, Web Screenshot, The Weather, Everyday Shopping, Recipe, TechCrunch, Celebrity Photo and Amazon Book. For the most part, each view is exactly what you'd expect based on the name.

Viewzi plans to develop additional views on an ongoing basis and to leverage its open API to seek out a global community of developers to author more unique views.

Brandon Cotter, who is officially credited as "Chief Viewzer," has said he believes "search has not fundamentally changed in 10 years we want to make it a bit more fun."

Although many past visual search sites have been either gimmicky or too confining in their one-solution-fits-all design, it was actually enjoyable using Viewzi and it will be interesting to watch it evolve if it can find a business model. It is obviously designed with the user experience in mind and succeeds in the goal of making search fun.