In August 2008, I wrote about Memoori (see AEC-specific search), and having since met the company’s founder Jim McHale a few times (most recently last week), I can say the product, while still a little raw in places, is developing into a much more rounded offering.
Given the wealth of generic search engine power we have at our disposal, it is certainly helpful to have something that is focused on the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) or built environment sector. If you punch a search term into Memoori, it returns a short list of results from Bing, plus any mentions of that term in Memoori’s own indexes, including mentions in news, blogs and Tweets.
Jim told me Memoori is now being used by several AEC businesses – and not just as a search engine.
Memoori is becoming more of a ‘social’ search, information management and collaboration tool. It now has a groups function that allows users to share search results and to share uploaded files with other members of that group. This could be a private company group (monthly fees start from £10, rising according to storage requirements and the number of groups), for instance, or a public group (free). I have just opened a group for the Be2camp community, for example, and there are other public groups on topics such as Intelligent Buildings, Building Information Modelling, Building Schools for the Future, etc. Results from the Bing search, for example, can be shared with your group or emailed to a friend, and – for those like me that monitor information using a feed-reader – there is also an activity stream RSS feed for each group, useful for keeping updated about what’s recently been bookmarked or uploaded.
When I first discussed Memoori, I wondered – from a Web 2.0 perspective – if it might incorporate some kind of collaborative editing or tagging tools. In effect, I was looking for a construction-flavoured Delicious that would allow users to bookmark pages and share them with friends. Memoori is now pretty close to this, even including, like Delicious, a browser plug-in (currently only Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, though it also works with the Firefox-based Flock browser that I use; an Internet Explorer plug-in is being developed). It is simple to use: clicking on the toolbar widget opens a window which is pre-populated with the URL and title of the item you want to save, and you can add a note before adding it to your bookmarks.
At the moment, Memoori bookmarks don’t incorporate tags, and you don’t have the option of sharing your bookmark simultaneously with followers via Twitter (a feature of Delicious that I particularly like), but Memoori is becoming a more sophisticated and useful product, and I expect such niceties are already on Jim’s to-do list.