I’ve often thought that what is needed is a lateral search engine. The search results would all be laterally connected to your query. I remember being disappointed that Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button didn’t do just that.
The reason I’ve always wanted lateral search, is that one of the joys of the web for me has always been serendipity. The web is simply filled with opportunities, when looking for knowledge, to find something amazing that you didn’t expect to find.
Chris Brogan has contemplated Twitter as a Serendipity Engine. I think there’s something to this, because today I happened across a tweet from Maarten Verkoren that contained a link to a blog post about a cursor kite. I originally saw the cursor kite at Beautiful/Decay, but Maarten’s link went to yay!everyday, a site I’d never seen. It’s filled with links to gorgeous and interesting art and design. As I perused it, I came across the link to the post at shape+color about anitabling.
You see, Jeremy Elder, the dude what runs shape+color stumbled upon the Flickr stream of anitabling, and came across the amazing work this anitabling has done with paper. The beautiful thing is, he can’t find anything else on this person. He assumes her name is Anita and that she’s a she. Beyond that and what appears to be Portuguese in her Flickr stream, he knows nothing else about her. It’s a gorgeous example of the serendipity I’m talking about.