Look out 2D search, you're one dimension behind

SpaceTime lets you search the web in three dimensions.

SpaceTime is a new tool for searching the Web in three dimensions. You can search using Google and Yahoo, or dig deeper into niche services like eBay and Flickr. Results show up in a swirling sky-like environment where you can sort through rendered pages in stacks, similar to Windows Vista's Flip 3D window-shuffling effect and the upcoming Time Machine in OSX Leopard. You can maneuver around any page, and zoom back and forth. To see any result up close, just double-click on it and it will revert to a customized browser window that's running a shelled version of Internet Explorer.

SpaceTime installs as an extension, and is by no means a lightweight Web app. The minimum hardware specs will likely put it out of the range of most computers that are over two or three years old. In our testing, we found it to hog a considerable amount of RAM and CPU, so unless your machine is beefy, you're likely to have an undesirable experience. It's also limited to Windows machines, so Mac users are out of luck.

This is by no means the first venture into the world of turning the internet into 3D. 3B, which launched at last year's Web 2.0 conference, turns bookmarked pages into walls in a Doom-like 3D world. Users of the popular MMORPG Second Life are also able to put up live Web pages inside the virtual world.

Frankly, I really don't find a use for these services. When I am searching for something, I want it to be as quick and easy as possible. If I have time to dedicate to a search, I'm often using multiple search engines or the built-in search on Web sites. While SpaceTime is visually appealing, the amount of resources used and slow search speeds make it too prohibitive to take the place of something like your browser's built-in search box.

Yahoo search results show up as a stack of windows. Users can drift through them, or double-click on a window to view the page in their browser. CNET Networks

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About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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