Built on its new Silverlight application, Microsoft last night released a new, experimental search site dubbed “Tafiti,” which means “do research” in Swahili. You’ll need to download Silverlight to use the engine, which offers a richer “visualization” of Microsoft Live search results.
It offers Web, RSS, image, news and book search presented in a rotating carousel. It also offers the ability to drag and save search results.
The most provocative (though perhaps impractical) aspect of Tafiti is its “Tree View” that literally indicates search results as leaves on a tree. Don’t see this as a serious search engine competitor, but rather an interesting interface experiment, which is where a great deal of innovation will undoubtedly take place over the next few years.
Postscript From Danny: I mostly thought this was unnecessary eye candy — fun to play with, but nothing particularly intuitive. The ability to drag and drop results into a scratchpad was neat, but you can do this with some services on Live Search already (images, last time I looked). But the news results display was cool — listings were put up as if they were on a newspaper page. Still, there was nothing intuitive about why one story was bigger than another.