Musicplasma – the music visual search engine

Posted by jerry on May 12th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

Now here is a site you have to check out! It’s a search engine showing links between musicians. the interface is great! it displays results like a 3D fly-through so you get the sense of being inside the data. The site is called musicplasma – you just enter the name of a musician or band and up come the results, along with all the other musicians that have been associated with that band. It’s real six degress of separation stuff 🙂

The interface looks as though it owes something to an early alternative interface design called HotSauce, developed by Ramanthan v. Guha while he was at Apple Research in the early-mid 1990s.

Hotsauce interface
An example of the HotSauce interface

Guha’s aim was to produce a feeling of flying through the data stream to provide a visual representation of web pages in space. I remember having a go with it – must’ve been about 1996 – when a version was released in MacFormat magazine on a 3.5″ floppy disk. It was great fun, but I found it tricky to get back to places I’d been to once I’d flown past. Somehow HotSauce never quite caught on, but it clearly laid some important groundwork for data visualisation and interface design. The latest iteration of Guha’s concept is actually quite useable – check out Map Net which uses more of a terrain metaphor. It is certainly easier to become oriented in the information. Guha is a technical adviser on – who have developed the map net technology.


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