Tafiti: Forcing Silverlight In Name of Search



Recently, Microsoft launched a new search engine named TAFITI. According to site, Tafiti is an experimentel search front-end from Microsoft, designed to help people use web for research projects that span multiple search queries and sessions by helping visualize, store, and share research results. The word Tafiti comes from Swahili language, which means “do research”. This little brainchild of Microsoft Inc. is actually built on their Flash competitor, SILVERLIGHT.
Tafiti provides a dynamic and attractive interface for searching the web, photos, news, RSS feeds and books. There is, actually, nothing new in terms of Technological breakthrough like new search mechanism or new algorithm or way of indexing. Infact, Microsoft has only combined it’s LIVE SEARCH with an eye candy interface. The search tool is big on style, but doesn’t provide much new in substance. However, some features—like the tray for saving and grouping results of any kind to the left of results—are potentially really useful. Tafiti works with any browser, requires that you install the Windows/Mac-only Silverlight.

Silverlight, which was launched back in April (and code-named Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere or WPF/E before April.), is a cross platform, cross browser .NET plug-in that enables designers and developers to build rich media experiences and RIAs for browsers. The preview builds released so far currently support Firefox, Safari and IE browsers on both the Mac and Windows. We got very disappointed with Silverlight as because when we tried install it on our system it gave message,”You need to be administrator of your computer to install silver light”, even though we were already logged on as administrator. We could access it only through our Head Admin Reshadat Ali’s computer. Moreover, one of users named Kam at Scott Gilbertson’s blog (Scott has done a very good first-look review of Tafiti) commented:

Well Tafiti Fizzles for me. Although I have SilverLight installed the page keeps insisting I need it installed!
Looks like the light is on but nobody’s home!

On the same blog, sgibbons had this to say about Tafiti:

I gave it a try and it doesn’t seem to return any search results in any categories… I tried searching for “linux”, “microsoft”, and “wired news”… not a single result. Something seems wrong here.

We, at Technonix, when tried to lay our hands on Tafiti it did open well but we couldn’t go far. Probably slow net connection or may be Tafiti (or silverlight) is not good enough for slow netizens.

Technonix’s take on Tafiti:
While aesthetically wonderful, Tafiti is slow and requires a Microsoft Passport log in and password (which is of course a bad idea for any search engine). Once you have have installed silver light and you step into Tafiti you will find that search results take most of the screen. On the right are “shelves” where you can drag your search results and save them. On the left is a “carousel” that gives you options of searching web, news, images and various RSS feeds. They can also be saved. Your results can also be saved and shared.

And there is “tree”. The search results in Tafiti can be seen as objects revoloving in slow motion. This all looks very pretty but these sweet graphics are not needed when you are in hurry to search very important. Slow search is always bad for everyone.

The big questions which arise : Why would we want to use it if we are doing fine with Google?
Why will a user take that pain of registering at it, when other search engines display results hassle free?
Since Tafiti does not uses any innovative or different technology like Powerset or Technorati or Search Wikia, how does it promises to give us more comprehensive and accurate results?
Will tafiti be able to keep up with new innovative upcoming arrangements like Powerset or Technorati or Search Wikia?

The visual experience, however, is quite unlike with other thing available on net. Tafiti is beautiful but it might take sometime to meet our satisfaction. Microsoft has been battling for some time to catch up with Google and Yahoo in search engine arena. But Tafiti does not seem to be a very right answer. It is, well, a nice Eye candy. Instead Microsoft should work on new innovative ways rather beautiful interface. After all, netizens are not kids who will fall for an eye candy.

[Submitted by Imran Asad]

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