On every occassion that APLINK has heard Cory Onedrejka of Linden Labs speak he allows appealed for someone who could create an effective search engine…maybe his wish has come true withou the need for Lind Labs investment.
I was in a Second Life Store the other day and whilst it was cool having my avatar stroll the mega mall and see what was on offer, I was really there to get a new look for myself. Besides Second life’s need to achieve a universal search engine, site owners also need a search function (or should there be Avatar SalesPeople) within their own spaces to help avatars find what they need, as like the real world, time is money inworld. Maybe my client Recruit.net could come up with a search solution- itsReal
With at least a couple hundred thousand users, hundreds of stores, endless commerce and millions of objects, virtual world Second Life is begging for a top-notch search tool.
Yet search is one of the systems most in need of help in Second Life. The latest evidence is the recent selection of a team working on such a system as a finalist in the Second Life business plan contest.
More than three years after its launch, Second Life is still suffering from a subpar search engine–and other virtual worlds have the same limited tools.
Now significant attempts are being made by third parties to come up with better search systems for virtual worlds.
Rescuing search in ‘Second Life’
“There’s a lot to be desired in the current (Second Life) search, quite a lot,” said Tony Walsh, the editor of Clickable Culture, a blog about virtual worlds and other online cultures. “We need a Google for Second Life, something that works quickly and produces intelligent results.”
Some might wonder how important search needs to be in a virtual world. But as the number of Second Life stores, places and objects explodes, it is becoming crucial that users be able to find what they need without trying keyword after keyword. And while that dynamic is more true today than ever, many people believe the search system has been insufficient for years.
Read More: C|Net News.com
4 responses to “Rescuing search in ‘Second Life’ – A need for certain – itsReal”
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Lots of stores have sales clerks. And the SEARCH works *good enough* not to risk breaking it in key ways by “fixing” it.
The Lindens are working on a new version of search, if you read their blogs and go to their office hours, they are going to make it “more like Google” and such.
But there are social and political consequences to your urging of the Googlization of Second Life that a lot of us simply reject. Call us Luddites or FUDites, but the issues we raise are real:
o in order to catalogue all the stuff in SL, which has been tried by the Electric Sheep’s Grid Shepherd, a wandering spider bot, you have to invade privacy. You can’t distinguish always between what was intended for sale to the public, and what was put out for sale that minute, merely to my neighbour or to myself to undeed a TV — it is all-consuming and not opt-in but opt-out
o people do this kind of intrusive and invasive scrape of data because they fear they can’t populate data bases with data if they have opt-in, most people simply won’t participate because either they don’t hear about it, or, more importantly, they don’t see why they have to turn over all their sales data — avatar keys, purchase information, traffic patterns — to third-party businesses to exploit for their own commercial purposes
o shopping is a very social thing in SL — people shop in groups or couples; they shop by looking at one avatar’s profile and seeing his picks and his groups and his descriptions; they p2p and browse or read a blog and press on a SLURL. This is the attractiveness of SL — it is a social world that works part like real life and part like the Internet, but it not exclusively either. People don’t *need* to have a massively chomping Google that spits out massive search results — they use a combination of Word of Mouth, Picks, SLURLS in blogs, etc. to shop. People buy not because they objectively need the little black dress or the teal pumps. They buy to socialize with their friend who created those things; they buy in order to belong to a club or group; they buy for other reasons sometimes in a pixelated world where no one objectively needs clothes or homes to shelter from the elements.
o Google isn’t all it has cracked up to be. Google rewards those who have gamed the search engine functions; it keeps turning up Wikipedia just because everyone sees Wikipedia first and clicks on it — rewarding the uninvolved over and over again, for no demonstrably good reason. SL has overcome that idiocy by having traffic, which, after the first 10 or so “gamed” slots that are purchased by having people camp on them and get paid to generate traffic, in fact show the merited sites that really had good stuff that really sold. There’s a danger the Lindens might ruin that in the “fix” because now traffic will not be put on the search find as an automatic figure, but merely be one of many metrics examined in some secret and arcane formula to generate search results
o many third-parties imagine they will create a better search. They won’t. Because they will require avatars to a) don a cumbersome HUD that gets in their way, lags them, and sometimes has a learning curve and b) requires them to tab out of SL, which lags them or even crashes them, to visit a third-party site.
SEARCH is a public utility. It must be created by the makers of the platform itself and serve the public, and not be the creation of a third-party company that scrapes data and benefits from it at the expense of others. It’s bad enough that LL itself scrapes and benefits, but at least it’s their software. When they open source the entire thing in a year or so, then perhaps those who can make searches that actually become part of the user interface in intuitive ways may become beneficial to the public.
We used to have this problem in the first life as well. I had to walk from shop to shop to find a specific product. But then shops came up with the idea of setting up websites. Instead of walking around, you could simply go online to locate a shop that carries your product. Soon after you could even buy the product directly from the website. No need to walk to shops anymore.
But then someone came up with a second life that has virtual shops, and now we’re back to square one again.