As the name suggests this service provides a visually-oriented approach to searching and, rather than attempting to describe this service I suggest you try it.
I suspect that an initial response from some information professionals would be to highlight the limitations of such an interface, pointing out the difficulties of more advanced searching. However I feel that this would be to overlook the potential of this type of interface to provide browsing functionality. And this, indeed, was the use case made by Tony Hirst:
I met Tony at the recent CRIG DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) Metadata Barcamp held at the University of Bath. Over online pharmacy canada lunch I mentioned UKOLN’s JISC-PoWR (Preservation of Web Resources) project and described my interest in ways of exploiting content held in the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine. I suggested that a generic screen-scraping interface to the service would be useful – and when I returned to the Barcamp later that afternoon Tony demonstrated the first version of the software 🙂 And the following day Tony had started to explore ways of providing a richer user interface to such data. A browse interface such as that used by Search Me Visual could potentially provide a very engaging way of visualising the changes to an organisation’s home page, I would think. And wouldn’t it be great if this could be demonstrated at the JISC-PoWR’s opening workshop on 25 June 2008. Has anyone come across any tools which could do this?