ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Technology»
  • Internet & the Web

Visualize the Web with Tafiti

Updated on June 18, 2009
The Tafiti Homepage
The Tafiti Homepage

Early web pages presented nothing but text. Todays' surfers become quickly bored if sites don't include multimedia components. Microsoft developed Tafiti as an effort to make Internet searching a more visually engaging experience.

Does it work as advertised? You might be surprised.

Results of a Web Search for "Jon and Kate"
Results of a Web Search for "Jon and Kate"

Supported by Microsoft's LiveSearch technology, Tafiti provides a visually appealing interface that encompasses RSS feeds, News, Web, and phonebook components. The components are arranged in a rotating carousel to the left of the results window. We started with a simple search; "Jon and Kate" (quotes included). Because the interface is programmed in Silverlight, it's easy for developers to build controls that don't look like traditional browser controls. Fortunately, Tafiti searches can be kicked off with a click on the Go "button" immediately to the right of the search bar.

The results of our search included the first 30 of 11,400,000 results (evidently these two people are somewhat popular lately). Each result provided three links to be clicked. Two of the links appeared to be identical; both pointed to the web site that was found. The third link did nothing. We think it was a link because the mouse pointer changed shape when hovered over the text. However, when clicked, nothing happened at all. Silverlight can be maddening because it doesn't interact with web browsers in ways that we have come to expect. For example, when we hovered over links in the results set, the mouse pointer changed shape but the link address didn't appear in the lower left-hand corner of the browser window. We didn't know where we might be going until we got there. In fairness, we were using Firefox 3.0.10. Perhaps IE products behave more consistently.

Image search on "Jon and Kate"
Image search on "Jon and Kate"

With the Web results still on the screen, we clicked on the Images link in the carousel. Results were plentiful but terse. No surprise that the first 30 of 9,030,000 results were returned, but disappointing was lack of captions, descriptions or even sources of any kind. The images had no associated text at all. Perhaps all 30 of the images came from the same site. Or not.

News Search for "Jon and Kate"
News Search for "Jon and Kate"

Lastly we searched News sources using the same search criteria as above. The layout of results resembled a traditional crinkly newspaper. Articles were arranged in 2 columns with the background a slightly dingy off-white, a la newsprint. Sources selected for this results set were obviously arbitrary. Some were web sites representing newspaper companies, some were Internet-based publications,some mainstream national magazines. Florida, California, New York, Calgary, and other parts of the world were represented. As before the results count was massive: 31,700,095. Do that many news sources exist?

Adding a New Stack
Adding a New Stack
Click on an item in the Stack and This popup appears.
Click on an item in the Stack and This popup appears.
Attempting to create a blog entry from a Stack Item
Attempting to create a blog entry from a Stack Item
The error message displayed when we tried to save a blog entry
The error message displayed when we tried to save a blog entry

At the far right the window was a column labeled "Add Stack". The label appeared to be a link. After creating a new stack, we were able to drag items from the search results into the new stack. These items persisted between searches. However, it was impossible to determine what was stored in the stack; the icons were identical and communicated no information as to what each might be storing.

Clicking on an item stored in the stack triggered a pop-up window. Evidently items stored in the stack can be blogged or emailed, but these features have yet to be debugged. We attempted to create a blog entry, but instead we received a bizarre error message that provided no guidance. The error message contained hex codes interspersed with plain text; we didn't even try to decipher it.


Tafiti, the Swahili word for "do research", needs polish. Silverlight offers uniquely captivating graphical experiences, but Tafiti doesn't deliver anything unique enough to stand out from traditional search engines. Spend a few minutes with it, but be patient. Add an entry to your to-do list; come back in 6 months and check on it again.

Tafiti has potential

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)