CloudTuner, an Israeli start-up is working on technology that applies a new perspective to the importance of keywords in search. Users are provided with a WYSWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface consisting of keywords in a tag cloud. Different keywords can be selected and their importance in the query altered. The relative importance of the words is reflected in their size and text colour. Semantics would be applied to provide suggestions for terms matching the ones entered by the user.
An excerpt from AltSearchEngine
Time spent searching usually consists of analyzing results and refining a query accordingly. This process resembles the first HTML editors where content displayed during editing (HTML code) is different from the final output (Web Page Layout) so developers were forced to re-render their HTML code after each change to see how the final page layout is affected. These ancient tools are now replaced by new generation of software employing a “What You See is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) user interface for visual editing. Unfortunately, the standard user interface for search is still divided into query interface (search box) and results interface (list of links with summary).
What is more promising is the application of the technology to image search. Users get to zoom in and refine the parts of an image that search should be focussed on. This feature can have great potential given the proliferation of mobile devices with in built cameras. For eg: Tracking down a product from an image (jewelery for example).
There is lot of promise in providing flexibility with importance of keywords. What matters is how relevant keywords are brought in for a user query. Also, the size of the tag cloud could matter ( not too sparse, not too cluttered). And ultimately it will also come down to efficiency and comfort of use (how fast do I get results with repeated searching and few keywords changed). Perhaps shortcuts to toggle between words and change size quickly could also help.
The CloudTuner site provides several demos on the technology applied to search over mobiles, television, across enterprises, products and Web. A very promising take on Search to look forward to.