For All Your Song-Related Zebra and Chicken Needs, Look No Farther Than Hakia
As I have mentioned before, I’ve been looking for some good music for my iPod. (And as I’ve also mentioned, Apple is a cunning, manipulative technology spider, luring us into its non-functioning web, then leaving us lonely and musicless, yet coming back to Apple for more, and in fact, my new iPod has decided to wreak vengeance upon me for writing such words and has introduced me to a new music mode called silence. The menus work, the music plays, but sound is not forthcoming from headphones, speakers, or car radio axillary jacks. But I digress.) I got some fantastic suggestions, both in comments and in email and have been furiously GIVING APPLE EVEN MORE MONEY IN RETRIBUTION FOR CONTINUING TO FAIL ME and downloading songs from iTunes. As soon as my iPod is working again or I finally escape the cult and buy an .mp3 player that actually works, I’ll report back on my favorites.
But in the meantime, I’m returning to the old school world of CDs. Hakia gave away a CD at BlogHer, so when faced with a musicless commute this morning, I figured I’d give it a try. Of course I loved it. What’s not to love? Songs about search! All the lyrics are from search results! Listen for yourself.
I’m not sure exactly what they’re going for with the first song, “Search for Better Search”. Well, OK, I think they’re trying to say that search is kind of sucky and we need something better. Hmm… what could that be. Maybe something like Hakia. I don’t know. Just a random thought that came to me. But it doesn’t really come across that way. It comes across as search is a hopeless pursuit, doomed to failure and spiraling depression and despair. Why try it at all. It’s a really fantastic song though. Filled with things like searching for lost childhoods and finding them for twenty five cents on eBay.
The second song, “Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road”, seems to conclude that this is no chicken or no road or that chickens can’t cross roads or maybe that asphalt is hot. Then there’s “The Guy You Work With”, which might be about a zebra. Also at one point, someone apologizes to his beard.
The whole thing is a crazy hodgepodge of words and images and music and I’m not sure that it supports Hakia’s notion of extracting meaning from natural language. It’s more extraction of nonsensical musings, well-suited for a night of pondering philosophy, possibly with mind-altering substances. Although perhaps that’s the search experience they’re going for, so who am I to judge.
I talked to the search evangelist for Hakia when I was at BlogHer. He said their biggest challenge was adoption, and I can see that. Although I suggested that a related challenge might be getting people to change the way they search. Hakia shows promise with natural language queries, but doesn’t generally provide a search experience beyond the other engines with the typical 2-3 word queries that searchers perform. So unless searchers change how they query, they’ll have no motivation to switch. Or maybe Hakia’s marketing plan is to be like that show that used to be on MTV, during which fledging bands handed out flyers all over town and tried to get the most people to come to their last-minute shows in divey bars. They’ll convert searchers one .mp3 download at a time.
Speaking of .mp3 downloads, I would review the rest of the songs, but I have to go fetch my lost childhood now. I hear it’s going for cheap and I don’t want to be outbid.