By archive July 27, 2006
In the recent online and offline discussions of tagging and Tag Clouds, I have found myself thinking about different ways to represent and explore data. My most recent idea is the concept of a Tag Cloud Explorer. The basic idea is that for any one given tag, you would search all the other tags and find the X number that are most often used in conjunction with that tag. The new set of tags would be organized in a cloud as well (with more popular tags, regardless of their proximity to the original tag, in larger fonts).
The big idea is allowing people to see the way others use terms and give them the chance to refine and/or expand their ideas before doing a search. Open their mind to other possibilities related to their initial idea. And by using tags, you are tapping into the group consciousness regarding information organization. Instead of guessing how others have organized something, you could visually represent it.
While the results pages aren’t exactly structured as a Cloud, Matt pointed out that flickr had a similar concept in their clusters (see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/house/clusters/).
Matt and I also discussed the idea of a search engine that is either tag based or at least tag aware. I am confident that the major search engines are working on tweaking their spiders to be tag aware and adjusting their algorithms to factor in tag popularity in their rankings, which means as SEO service providers, we need to be on top of it as well.