A new Search Engine is out!

9 04 2007

As just found at John Swords Blog as well as on 3PointD, the Electric Sheep Company just published the beta version of a new search engine.

You can check it out at search.sheeplabs.com where it’s showing off in a nice web2.0ish Look’n’Feel.

So what’s new about this search engine you might ask? Simple, it automatically indexes objects within Second Life by using a libsecondlife based bot which teleports from sim to sim and indexes all the objects it can find. By default it indexes only objects which are set to be on sale but you can go to the SheepLabs Headquarters and change that to include all your objects or none (opt-in and opt-out). Thus there also is a virtual version of robots.txt which makes it very much web spider like.

Of course there are existing search engines for objects such as SLBoutique.com (also from ESC), SLExchange.com or Second411.com. But in all of these you have to insert your objects yourself (usually by putting them into a box and updating their information on the website). So this new search is different in that it already automatically indexed more than 422,000 objects on 4612 sims (according to the Statistics page).

Data it indexes are the owner and creator of the object as well as the amount of prims and the permissions. By clicking on an avatar name in the resultlist you get a list of all his/her objects and by clicking on the objectname you get teleported to that location.

There are of course also some disadvantages from what I see:

  • There is no sales function integrated as in SLB or SLX. But of course that way it’s also not that distinct from the Second Life experience as you still need to go in-world and shop there. OTOH a sales service could possibly be added later.
  • Objects in vendors are not found which definitely is a disadvantage. Thus shopkeepers might need to rethink if they want to be findable in this engine.
  • There is no metadata like an image or a longer description like in SLB or SLX but then again this could be added later as it’s done for those services (and that was also what I was discussing once with Hal9k Andalso, the original author of second411.com)
  • There is no ranking of objects (well there is but I don’t see how this could work except for naming conventions) as there are no links from objects to each other which could compute something like a Google pagerank. But the traffic on that plot might be used in some computation (although this is easy to fake as we all know).

Now of course this is an early beta version and I am sure there will lots be added. Especially I’d expect a HUD interface in order to further keep the search in-world and then there would be no need to leave the environment. Basically like second411 and SLB (they have HUDs).

And in general this is a great idea and I am looking forward in how it might be useful in everyday life and how big the acceptance of it will be. Definitely a cool idea and implementation!

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11 responses

9 04 2007
» Objects and relationships M is for Myg

[…] ho? What’s this? We hear from Tao Takashi that the folks over at Electric Sheep have developed a new way to search for stuff you want on SL. […]

10 04 2007
Troy McLuhan

I suppose they could count how many times people click on an object name to be taken inworld to the object. In my opinion, clicking on the object name should pop up a dialog box asking you if you want to launch SL and go to the object inworld. When I tried it out, I didn’t actually want to go inworld to buy the object; I just wanted to see what happened when I clicked on the object name.

11 04 2007
Siobhan Taylor

Pity it can’t get it’s descriptions correct. It seems to ba attaching descriptions for one item to names of others and listing them. Weird. Perhaps they’ll fix it soon…

11 04 2007

Well, I am sure there are lots of improvements to come and possible to think of. Also the search itself could use some advanced mode esp. if I eventually only want to find buyable items instead of everything. Also more search options would be great.

OTOH all this is a hack of course. A nice hack for sure – but the better way would really be that LL collects all that data (well, they have it) and published the opt-in data with a webservice interface to that everybody can obtain it and eventually build a search engine or similar service (no need to limit it just to object data). But e.g. every parcel flagged as “publish on web” could be exported the same way.

12 04 2007
Siobhan Taylor

Can’t argue with that. I’m just afraid people will buy something, thinking it’s not what it really is.

12 04 2007
Bart in SL

The new search in town and the big privacy issues it implies

There is a new search tool available as beta for Second Life, being developed of the Electric Sheep Company at the moment and open for public now since a few days ago.

What’s this thing and how does it work? Well, the searching part of it is a bot …

23 04 2007

search.sheeplabs.com is not working now.

24 04 2007
Metaverso » Nuevo Buscador

[…] Via Teotakashi. […]

25 04 2007

Thank You

29 04 2007
Behavioral Targeting in Second Life « Tao’s Thoughts on Second Life

[…] a big reason for disputes (Mark Barrett, you remember that? ;-), most recently probably about the new search engine. So we need to see how people react to it and if there’s maybe also a difference between […]

22 05 2007

It’s not international……

I’m getting no results on Dutch quiries!

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