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Monday, July 31, 2006

Webzari: Yahoo!’s New Way to Visualize Inbound Links

Posted by @ 1:07 am

The Yahoo! Search blog has highlighted an interesting new extension of Yahoo!’s Site Explorer functionality that might have been missed in the English speaking world – because it’s written in Korean.

Site Explorer was launched in 2005 and can be used to see how many and which pages of a website have been indexed by Yahoo!’s search engine. It also provides information on inbound links for a site.

Yahoo!’s team in Korea has used Site Explorer’s inbound link data and visualized this information. With Webzari, other sites linking to a site are represented by cutesy little planet drawings. If you mouse over the planets, you get more information about the link; if you click on a planet, you’ll see a snippet of the actual text containing the link. Korean users can even save their Webzari searches in the Korean version of My Web.

WebzariIt’s pretty difficult to assess this tool when you can only read a fraction of the information on the page, but Webzari certainly seems like a very user-friendly way to present inbound link information visually instead of just showing endless lists of URLs.

Yahoo’s Korean team has put a lot of effort into the visual details of the map, including a night sky backdrop with stars and flashing comets, little house icons on the planets that even have smoke coming out of the chimney, and little space rockets zooming around when you move your mouse from planet to planet (see the screenshot below from the Yahoo! Search blog). As far as I know, this type of design detail appeals to the taste of Korean Internet users – and it certainly also appeals to the kid in me.

From what I could tell, the displayed sites seem to be skewed towards Korean content and Korean sites with inbound links to your site are listed first. It would be great to have an English version of this visualization tool to be able to explore it more!

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