Just recently an inspiring new user interface came out, which gives users an idea, that “googling” the web isn´t the ultimate way to find information on the web: Freebase Parallax by David Huynh. David was also strongly involved in some projects of CSAIL at MIT which also dealt with the “simple” question: How to make (web) data more accessible for users who aren´t aware of SPARQL, SQL or OLAP cubes. For example, Exhibit became a wide-spread environment to setup a faceted search on a given dataset. A bit more sophisticated is the “nested faceted browser” – and now Parallax is out.
In his screencast about this “novel browsing interface” David stresses the advantages over Google or Wikipedia. Is this a fair competition? So what is the novel thing?
- If you want to learn a bit more about Abraham Lincoln – go to Wikipedia!
- If you want to know where you can find even more information about Abraham Lincoln – go to Google!
- If you know a bit about Abraham Lincoln already, and you want to aggregate or compare some facts of his life to other presidents or you want to visualise some data on a time-line or on a map – learn how to handle a tool like Parallax (and don´t complain, that this isn´t as simple as Google anymore)!
In some ascpects Parallax was a missing building block in the web universe: (Professional) fact finding on the web could work like this in the close future (although Parallax needs some more servers and – indeed – some more data in the database).
But what if Parallax became the graph-based UI on top of Freebase + LinkingOpenData?