Silobreaker is a current awareness service that launched at the beginning of 2006. It’s designed for the “light information professional,” as Silobreaker puts it. (I’m assuming this description doesn’t refer to the weight of the person, but how much information work they do). The product is rich with various features for visualizing, extracting, and clustering search results to expose relationships in content and give as much context as possible.
They’ve recently re-done the interface. Check out the the beta launch of Silobreaker.
Not surprisingly, the interface is very link rich: you can click on just about anything at any time. There are also quite a few mouse-over features that reveal a quick view of information in layers and such. I like this overall approach and feel it’s appropriate for the target group. But frankly, I prefer the original version of Silobreaker. The information design of the beta product doesn’t seem to help visually scanning information on the screen, and it appears more cluttered somehow (although the amount of information is about the same).
Overall, Silobreaker lives up to its claim that it provides numerous ways to slice and dice content. For a relatively new servcie, it has many strengths and an impressive range of features and functionalities. The underlying concept moves away from searching in favour of browsing; however, the product is complex and presents potential interaction problems such as small texts and targets to click. Nonetheless, Silobreaker’s unique approach is likely to appeal to many users who conduct news research and require current awareness content on a regular basis.