Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Facebook Friend Reports

Recently I stumbled upon http://www.wolframalpha.com - a search engine with a difference. It does not follow the dominant methodology followed by all other major search sites such as Google,  Yahoo or Bing. All of the major search engines present to the user short summaries (text) that match the users query from web pages that they have in their database. Their approach works well when you are in an open minded research mode. If you are looking for a more structured output than wolframalpha.com is the place for you. I most definitely recommend it for High School and College students who might find this a great place to get a jump start on an assignment or project.

The site has many features but the one I liked was their Facebook based data visualization reporting capability. Try it as it is free and you will be able to see your Facebook friend related data in new and fascinating ways. I found the graphs interesting and educational and they kept me glued to the computer screen.

The negatives of such type of search engines is that they make a lot of decisions for you . And this means that they control what you see and what you don't. This is in sharp contrast to the approach of showing the user short summaries of any web page that met the user search query and letting the user "click" his way through.

In summary, it is a great attempt at presenting organized information to the user but I am not switching my favorite search engine just yet.