Build your own search robot at Searchbots

a searchbot rampantBack in February, Mark Zeman, Lecturer and Subject Director in Digital Media, College of Creative Arts, Massey University, New Zealand, tipped me off to a search agent research project called Searchbots. I tagged it as something to blog about in my email and then, well, I got busy with my new job.
I’ve finally checked it out. Mark was clever enough to give me short precis of the project:
* Experimental social search engine created as a Masters in Design project.
* Build your own search robot and send it out to search on your behalf.
* Search using tags, location, color and mood, or ask a question.
* Get ongoing personalized reports and feeds.
* Talk to it and feed your Searchbot metadata to keep it alive.
* The more you interact with your Searchbot the better everyone’s results.
* Runs on top of API’s from Google, Yahoo, Digg & del.icio.us and more.
* Cross references popular Digg items with del.icio.us tags.
* Building an artificial intelligence using people’s common sense and clicks.
* 34,000+ Searchbots built.
* Interactive tag clouds & other metadata games to play with your Searchbot.
* Get your unique tag cloud plus your Searchbot printed on a tee-shirt.
* Your Searchbots finds facts and entertainment. Mix it up.
* Diligently retrieving the best of the Internet for the good of humanity.
Here are the questions (to users) the research is designed to address:
* Does personifying the search interface increase the motivation of
users to contribute metadata?
* Will users become attached to their Searchbots through ongoing
interaction and therefore be willing to play metadata games to keep it
alive?
* Will using mythology and game theory help make searching an active
give-and-take relationship? Will this sustain an open-content social
search engine?
* Would you rather fill out a basic form or talk to a Searchbot? An
agent that works on your behalf to wade through search results.
* How will users respond to creatively tagging the web? If I search for
the color red will I find a website about tomatoes, communism or angry
people?
* How would you define your ongoing “relationship” with your search
engine? Does it endlessly talk in your ear or just drip-feed you good
clues?
Mark said he was planning to run a survey of users so if he notices this post, he can chime in and let us know “some of the findings on how personifying the interface effects users motivation levels.”

2 Responses to “Build your own search robot at Searchbots”

  1. isabella Says:

    hw du u get da robots to talk 2 u?

  2. robxx Says:

    no

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