(Note: This is a really old thing. I wouldn’t bet on that it works nowadays – 2016.)
The main purpose of ShapeNet is to get myself to look at more than the first 10 hits of a search at Google. If I only evaluate 10 out of 2.5 million hits, or even click ”next ten” two(!) times, I haven’t looked at more results than in this one ”page” and yet bored in the process. The display of the searchresults are focused on the summary since this is the main ”persuader” of how the page is related to my own intentions. The potential for several enhancements (categorisation/animation/colors) is not yet explored. And, it puts the ”surfing” back in websurfing.
Update: This is an old idea. Apple had this idea more than twelve years ago. Anyone remember HotSauce? Steve Jobs froze the project since there was no apparent need for going into 3D to get the information you wanted. I see that. But I still think it’s a bit more entertaining this way. Thanks for the info Jonas!
Download ShapeNet and give it a go. Mac, Windows, Linux.
NOTE on usage: It seems that it crashes/freezes just after writing that one word. It doesn’t (mostly) really, it’s just receiving data from Yahoo.
Some more details
The application/prototype is written using Processing. The 3D part is OpenGL or rather JOGL.
The ONE word part in the aplication is due to my inability to understand how to write decent queries. And perhaps that I found the how-tos a bit … uhm … non-existant. So I went for the one that worked. All in the interest to prove the concept.
So really, why 3D and sound and all that?
I firmly believe that we could use some entertainment while searching. The parch-dry searchresult pages of today is boring, not really efficient and well, not close to my dream of interacting with the web.
There just has to be some likeability to it all. I think this is likeable. And it gives me a nice feeling of discovery. I discover things this way, not the meta-tagging-specialists, not the best paid sponsored link.
This is a sparetime project. Drop me a mail if you have cheers, boohs, snickering, comments or suggestions.
Mim & Me
Mim: So I see alot of weird rotating circles. What’s the deal here?
Me: The circles get their size, position and color from the URL (webbaddress). It’s a small calculation (algorithm?) that parses the adress and makes a unique set of circles, positioning and colors. So in the long run, and I mean really really long run, you should be able to tell the site by its shape rather by its letters. Alot of searching included in that case.
Mim: Why is it in 3D?
Me: Well, basically because the 2D-version of it, like a three-column webpage with highlighted summary would be just as boring as the standard search-result page. Maybe even three times as boring?
Mim: Why can I only type ONE word in the text-field?
Me: Because I haven’t got the hang of decent queries yet. It is a prototype. Or an idea.
Mim: What about ads? We gotta have ads..
Me: Yes, but remember ads comes in many flavors. There can probably be ads if it were for real.
Mim: Whats with the colors?
Me: Colors can divide, separate and communicate values or attributes in a faster way than text. This feature is not yet fully explored.
Mim: No, I meant the background color.
Me: Oh, just leave it.
Mim: Whats the deal with the circles? Couldn’t they be balls of fire or something?
Me: They probably could. In fact, thats a really good idea for the customisation template. Thanks.
The circles (2D ellipses) are fast to draw in Open GL. Oh, yes, the rotating is a bit like the color part, it indicates priority, properties or something else that matters to me when I search. Also something for the customisation-part I think.
Note: Mim is Me Interviewing Myself. Me is just me.
ShapeNet is an extension of the thing I made for the Yahoo BOSS mashup contest.