NTT tests 'airship' search interface

Updated May 24: NTT goo search tests new interfacesJapanese telecoms giant, NTT, is demonstrating new research into a variety of innovative and quirky internet search interfaces, including one in which the user 'navigates' an airship through a sky filled with search results.

The online demonstrations, which the company announced yesterday, are part of research into next generation user interface design at NTT's subsidiary, NTT Resonant Inc. The company is seeking user feedback as it develops the ideas further. The new interfaces are all built on top of NTT's 'goo' Japanese search engine, which has been under development and publicly available for several years.

NTT Resonant's experimental flying search interface

Perhaps the most practical of the experiments is 'goo mix' (see image below) which does a fast simultaneous search of several different indexes, including images, videos, discussion forums and news. The demonstration version returns a page full of results in under a second.


Goo sky takes flight

NTT Resonant's whimsical 'goo sky' search places the user in an airship or spacecraft floating slowly upwards through clouds dotted with search results - eventually reaching what would appear to be low earth orbit. The current version (see images at top and below) apparently gives no real control of this flight beyond typing in new search terms. A rudimentary bookmarking feature can store search results at the side of the screen for later reference – the experimental nature of the interface means it keeps no permanent record of these beyond the browsing session, however.

NTT_Resonant_goo_search flying interface

The company is also demonstrating a much more conventional search interface which loads in new results dynamically as the user scrolls down, instead of refreshing the page like other search engines.

Read NTT Resonant's announcement of these experimental search interfaces (in Japanese).

Update May 24: See also NTT Resonant's geographical image search. This attempts to tie maps and image search together by showing photos and other images which are linked to a particularly geographical location.