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This article was published on March 19, 2010

Movie search engine Jinni on Nanocrowd

Movie search engine Jinni on Nanocrowd
Charles Knight
Story by

Charles Knight

Charles Knight is the editor of The Next Web Search. Charles Knight is the editor of The Next Web Search.

If you think about it, who knows the most about movie search engines than other movies search engines? Other than the search engine itself, of course, but anyone can toot their own horn.

Just for fun, I asked movie search engine Jinni to compare themselves to movie search engine Nanocrowd so that you can gain an appreciation of both projects. In Part II, Nanocrowd will return the favor! Here is Part I:

Jinni on Nanocrowd: by the Jinni team

The way we watch has changed. Instead of heading to the video store, we get DVDs in the mail, from a kiosk, or stream or download from the growing selection online. And what about the way we choose? We’re not consulting the local video store clerk anymore. We may regret the loss of these advice-givers, but these changes also present a fantastic opportunity to push the boundaries of search.

As Danny Sullivan recently noted in live blogging from SXSW, “Web search is great for objective questions, but subjective ones create the majority of queries. These are ones with no correct answer, ‘What’s a good book to read?’” In this context, it’s surprising that titles, people and genres continue to characterize most video search.

Nanocrowd and Jinni are innovators in entertainment search. Both companies are working to transform how people choose what to watch. Interestingly, Jinni and Nanocrowd both draw on how people describe what they watch, analyzing reviews from around the web, to create more sophisticated and useful ways of indexing titles. Nanocrowd calls this “Reaction Mapping.” The technical differences are beyond the scope of this article. But the result is that each service offers more subtle, intuitive search terms, specifically designed to help people find what they feel like watching – though the user experiences are quite different.

Nanocrowd’s groups of three-word “nanogenres” in search results for each movie are an original way of using one movie as a springboard to explore others. For example, one nanogenre for (500) Days of Summer is “commitment-neurotic-dates,” which leads to movies like Annie Hall and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Sometimes the three words are just right; other times I would have liked to use just one, or a different combination. Nanocrowd also lists movies “least like” (as well as “most like”), an intriguing approach to deciding if a movie fits your preferences.

A key difference between the two services is that while Nanocrowd focuses on “cold engine” search, Jinni offers semantic search and also models people’s tastes to create a personalized discovery experience for both movies and TV shows. In the on-demand era, each approach is valuable for different people, contexts and frames-of-mind.

What next? Why Nanocrowd on Jinni of course! To be continued…