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wink

Wink is a social search site that’s got an interesting take on search. You could say it’s a mash-up of a search-engine, a bookmark tagging service and a wiki.

The search page is divided into 3 areas. At first you’ll probably notice the “favorite resultsâ€? area. These results were recommended (i.e. tagged and rated) by wink users. Eventually this would become one of Wink’s strongest features. Currently, it just lacking in content.

Following the favorites are Google’s search results. You’re given the option to tag and/or rate links in both result sets. Tag a link and it’s saved as a tagged bookmark, accessible through your personal page. It would have been nice to use other search engines here but, frankly, who uses anything but Google anyway?

You’ll also notice the concept box, immediately under the search bar. This is an attempt at disambiguating search terms by providing the user with a list of articles from Wikipedia. It’s a pretty interesting idea as these concepts can be edited by wink users in the familiar WikiMedia interface, helping Wink keep up with the times and helping users narrow down their search even in areas they’re not deeply knowledgeable. The concepts also come with a related links (also wiki-fied) letting you surf through similar or connected concepts.

Occasionally, you’ll see a list of users show up between search results. These are users who created search sets that matched your search, more on search sets later. If you click on any of the user names here, you’ll get to their search page where you can see their favorite links, sets, etc.

Does that sound like a busy page? We’re barely even scratching the surface.

So you’ve tagged a few links, rated others, now what? Click on “My Pageâ€?and check your main Wink page where you can organize tags and manage your search sets. This page tries to cram as much information as possible into limited space while maintaining an “airyâ€? design. The result is that you only get to see about 3 of your links/sets at a time and you must page through your tags with about 20 tags per page. Navigating through your tags is made easier by dynamically filtering tags as you type.

This page also lets you see related users, similarly to the search results and search sets created by other users which you added to your list of favorites. Sometime in the future, you’ll also see your search history at the bottom of the page. Adding sets (or tags) from other users is a good way to stalk^H^H^H^H^H keep up with someone whom you consider a good source on that topic.

Clicking on a tag pulls up related links and search sets both from your collection and from Wink’s favorite links. As usual, you can tag just about anything in view, even tags. Clicking the edit button brings up the Search Set editor, here you can create (or edit) your search set. There is a strange duality, on Wink, between tags and sets, they appear to be two sides of the same coin. For now I’ll just treat tags as sets meaning you can add a link to a tag or you can tag a link with a set, achieving pretty much identical results. Confusing? There’s more! You can add sets to other sets. This means you can (relatively) easily organize your links in a hierarchy but still access them through tags. That’s kinda neat.

All in all, Wink has some interesting ideas but most are hidden behind a limited UI and unclear concepts. I don’t see any way to export my content from wink but they do make it very easy to import data from del.icio.us. Yeah, I know, they’re in beta… 🙂

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Filed under: Search, Tagging, The Net

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