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This article was published on May 3, 2008

    Boolify helps children figuring out search

    Boolify helps children figuring out search
    Ernst-Jan Pfauth
    Story by

    Ernst-Jan Pfauth

    Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

    You’ll probably recognize this. My less web-savvy friends are sometimes really surprised when they see me searching for something on the web. They had no idea one could do it so fast. Yet what I’m doing is not that special, e.g. using terms like AND or NOT. For them it’s one of the many mysteries the new digital age brought along.

    The people behind the Boolify project stumbled upon a similar problem. Teachers and librarians told them they had a hard time teaching kids to search. Which actually surprises me, as I had figured kids pick up new technologies pretty fast. Anyhow, Boolify has developed an overlay service on Google’s “Safe Search STRICT” technology that illustrates the logic of search, using colored puzzle pieces. These visual cues help children to create a mental model of the search they’re performing. Eventually, it should learn them how to sift information from all the web noise.

    So imagine you’re an English kid from Birmingham, looking for a playground. Yet you’re afraid of dogs and totally dig the swing. So you start using Boolify. But after the first keywords, only stores that sell ‘playground equipment’ keep popping up. Apparently they know their SEO. So you exclude them as well. This is how it will look:

    Visual search

    Thanks Charles Knight from Altsearchengines for the tip.