OneRiot (the social search engine The Next Web covered when they launched in November 2008) have released the Beta version of their search engine, which allows “the first real-time web search for video”.

Huh? I hear you ask. OK. Here’s the news: you can find what people are watching and sharing in real time, “using ‘social signals‘ from the 2–million-strong OneRiot community”. This works when users anonymously share information with other users in real time as to what is ‘hot or not’ in video. You can find video results that reflect what people are buzzing about now. Well, that is, as long as the people buzzing are using the One Riot toolbar, or one of its variations, if I understand how this works correctly.

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The look and feel is clean, simple and uncluttered, and the ‘relevance’ or ‘newness’ of the results is not actually apparent – there’s little ‘pulse’ data visible. In the example I used, the first video shown is dated 31-Dec-2008, and those who follow such matters related to Russell Brand will know that this is not quite the latest news. A nice swap from web to video search is instant for the same term, but to view a video, you leave the one riot site entirely, which may not help user retention.

“OneRiot prioritizes web pages based on its current popularity with real people. OneRiot delivers search results that are fresh, friendly, and pulsing with the real-time energy of the web.”

Well, they sem to be pretty chilled-out about the way they present that energy – which is no bad thing, but the immediacy and real-time nature isn’t strongly apparent in the site’s look and feel.

Foreign Matters

One Riot pointed out they have a healthy proportion (almost a third of the company) of Europeans, including Director of Search technology and VP/General Manager. My Safari browser on my Mac failed to do anything when I clicked to download, and their Get Satisfaction page has a 4-month old “OneRiot taking over my browser; thread” that shows what may be a weakness – the need to use a toolbar (Firefox or IE) to gather the ‘social signals’ to power their search engine.

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Better Beta?

As I said, it didn’t do anything at all or explain what the problem was, when I tried to download with My Mac’s Safari browser, and I didn’t install their toolbar on Firefox as there were no declared benefits to the toolbar – just a link stating it was free, and it would let me share stuff. Well, sorry, but when you don’t bother to cite an authorised author for your software, and I can see no benefits (or terms and license) in advance, I’m not letting your toolbar into my screen real estate or my laptop. I don’t even know you.

I have my own branded toolbar and I know exactly what that does. One Riot also seem to have MySpace and Facebook toolbars – which is good. However, they also seem to have an invalid certificate for what I assume is a click-tracking interstitial site (a subdomian of yahooapis.com) so I’m afraid this is still ‘very beta, should do betta’. OneRiot are on Twitter.