If you liked tag cloud / keyword cloud concept using text, think of what can be achieved using images instead of text! That is exactly what CloudStore – Online Shopping using Image Clouds from ToCloud does. The Digital SLR Cameras Image Cloud displays all the Digital SLR Cameras from Amazon as an Image Cloud. The cameras are ordered from left-to-right and top-to-bottom using Amazon’s SalesRank while the size of the Image is set to reflect the list price of the digital cameras. So, those digital SLR cameras that are more expensive are shown big while those that are cheap are shown small. Further, the images have a border rendered with different colors. Green indicates a “too low to display” price of Amazon, orange indicates that the sales price on Amazon is less than the list price while Yellow indicates that the list and sales prices are the same.
As far as I know, this is the first instance where a Web 2.0 concept of tag clouds has been implemented for Product Catalogs. What’s cool about this is the fact that it makes use of html image maps to be able to show the user additional information about each product and clicking on a particular product takes the user to the product details page on Amazon.
I have noticed an Image Cloud from chainofthoughts.com listed at wikipedia which seems to have multiple drawbacks. They are, 1) there is no semantics to the ordering of the images 2) each image in the Image Cloud is a separate which ends up requesting several http requests. But perhaps that website is the first to come up with the concept of Image Clouds while ToCloud is perhaps the first to use Image Clouds for Product Catalogs.
A lot of people are using tag cloud or keyword clouds these days. Many websites provide free tools to create these clouds. ToCloud.com has used it’s log of the websites that have been converted to keyword clouds, for each of those websites, got the number of bookmarks on del.icio.us and then plotted it as cloud of clouders.
Is this “cloud of clouders” a tag cloud or a keyword cloud? I think it’s neither. Because, tag clouds are based on tagging while keyword clouds are based on converting of text within a page, article or book. However, a cloud created using the names of an entity with some metric of those entities as cloud frequency can probably called as “metric cloud” or “statistical cloud”.
ToCloud.com has extended the Tag Cloud mashup with Google Suggest to now support exploring Amazon Products from the Tag Cloud. This gives an opportunity for bloggers to quickly check what kind of products correspond to their blogging content. This is useful for people considering placing affiliate links to generate additional revenue.
Here is an example of Photo.net tag cloud and when you click on each link, you can choose either Google Suggest or Amazon to display the related content for each of the words in the cloud. When Amazon is chosen, it is also possible to pick the product category.
And Tag Cloud is also a Web 2.0 concept.
So, what if we combine these two together? You get Script.aculo.us effect on a Tag Cloud. That’s exactly what the ToCloud Keyword Cloud Generator has done. Here are a few examples.
Plusate Effect on My Blog
Grow Effect on Amazon Homepage
Shake Effect on MySpace.com
BlindDown Effect on Yahoo!
What happens if a keyword cloud or a tag cloud is mixed with Google Suggest? You get a Cloud Suggest. The motivation behind this is that say you have a tag cloud of your blog. The cloud gives you and your readers a quick idea of what topics you mostly cover in your blog. But what if you or your readers want to know what are the popular searches related to those tags? That’s where you can make use of Google Suggest. ToCloud.com seems to be the first keyword cloud generator that has this Cloud Suggest idea. So, once a cloud is generated, clicking on any of the word/phrase opens a popup that fetches suggestions for that word/phrase from Google Suggest.
Earlier I discussed tag cloud algirhtim/logic/formula and talked about linear and logarithmic interpolation. The difference in visualization can be viewed at ToCloud.com that takes any URL and converts into a tag cloud with various options for interpolation and sorting. In addition, there is an interesting concept of comparing two pages in a single keyword cloud. And also the ability to take tag summary pages from del.icio.us or slashdot and turn them into clouds to give clouds within tags or what is referred as sub-tags. Even daily news can be converted into keyword clouds.