Mrs. Dewey was probably the most attractive search engine in the history of search engines, although not necessarily the fastest. But on closer inspection, the idea seemed to work. Mrs. Dewey was a fully animated search engine where a librarian (played by Janina Gavankar) in a futuristic urban landscape answers our questions on a lot of video material. However, the focus here is not on the answers, but on the reactions of Mrs. Dewey when she waits for our questions or the answers: bored, mischievous, sad, happy or embarrassed. Ms. Dewey a Microsoft project was online from 2006 to 2008. Anyone who has been involved with search engines knows that two years can be a long or a short time for search engines. Successful concepts will be taken over by larger ones after one year at the latest, less successful projects need more than two years to generate a relevant number of users, if they succeed at all. Mrs. Dewey managed to draw attention to herself at least quite quickly. Most critics have thrown themselves at the problems before all: Long response time, bad result display,... Personally, I think it was about collecting and analyzing user requests to learn more about what users want. It's just speculation, but Bing and Microsoft Academic Search started in 2009 a year later.
|Developer||Microsoft & Evolution Bureau|
|Country of Origin||US America|
|2006 - 2008||Microsoft|
|Used SeEn||MSN Live Search|
|Older Version||Internet Archive / WebCite|
»Ms. Dewey is a young, black librarian doing her best to help you find what you are looking for, but who gets bored if you don’t ask her the right question.
Yes, you heard us! This is a fully animated search engine, based on a lot of video footage of our librarian in a futuristic city landscape [...]
You enter your search term in a search form, as normal, and regular search results will appear in a pop up window — eventually, but first the lady will try to tell you the answer.
That often takes a lot of thinking on Ms. Dewey’s side. She looks bored, mischievous, sad, happy or embarrassed, which is all very funny. And the intros (which vary) can be pure entertainment.
However, as a search tool, we’re afraid this does not work at all. The response time is very slow, at times extremely slow. The results are close to unreadable. And there are no advanced search features.
But who’s behind it? The site doesn’t say, but it is actually Microsoft! Which is strange, as it is very unlike Microsoft. However, the search results are clearly powered by the Microsoft Windows Live Search search engine (now, isn’t that a mouthful!).
The Flash driven site is developed by Evolution Bureau, and the site will probably win the company quite a few web site design awards (you know — prizes of the kind that reward web sites that look insanely great, but have no real content and are impossible to navigate).
Ms. Dewey is played by actress Janina Gavankar.
Given that the search engine is dysfunctional at best and that there is no advertising, our guess is that Ms. Dewey is employed as part of a viral marketing campaign, making easily fooled bloggers like us write about her...«
|Phil Bradley (2006):
»Let me introduce you.. this is apparently 'Ms Dewey' and she's the front end of a search engine with results being pulled from Microsoft. Pandia says that it's the creation of the Evolution Bureau company, and who am I to argue. It's really all rather odd. Clicking on her name will take you to the website in question, where she stands there smiling and flicking the 'loading' bar along with her finger. You are then introduced to her doing various different things - the first time I visited she was sharpening a knife, the second time fixing a motorbike. Which just goes to show that librarians can do anything, but of course we already knew that.
However, we then go on to try and ask something. I of course started with a search for me - ever the egotist. She picked up a book, from which I could just make out that it was about the rules of baseball, and started to read from it. This is actually very clever, since one of the phil bradleys out there is a baseball player. I was however a bit startled when she read out some of the rules that didn't mean to make much sense and then said something to the effect of 'And what the f*** does that mean?' - although the word was bleeped out it's pretty obvious that's what she said. I've never had a librarian swear at me before - it was a rather strange experience.
Anyway, I was then presented with a list of results on the right hand side of the screen (as pulled from Live.com). It was quite difficult to read them, and very difficult to scroll up and down - since there was no scroll bar it's necessary to position the cursor above or below the results and move the mouse, making sure the results don't move too quickly for you.
If you take too long 'Ms Dewey' gets out her mobile phone and starts talking, or she'll stand there and read a magazine (as per my picture), or she'll tap on the screen and berate you for not being quicker....«
Schofield, Jack (2006): »Now there's a great-looking looking female searcher who talks to you, though searching isn't her strong point.
Have a go before reading on (spoiler)....
This actually seems to be a viral for Microsoft Live, and may ultimately prove to have Zune connections, or else it's just a bit of fun. (Try some team member names.) In one clip, she plays Halo, so try that for a tip.
The lovely and talented Ms Dewey is a singer and actress, Janina Gavankar with a minimalist Web site at http://www.janinamusic.com/. As Janina Ziona, she hosted the Sony PlayStation E3 Party 2006. Which just goes to show what a very small world it is.
(Anybody know what she says when she talks backwards?)« Source|
|Schwartz, Barry (2006):
»Microsoft launched Ms Dewey, it is basically a very cool Flash application where you can ask Ms. Dewey questions, she will keep you entertained while Windows Live Search brings back results.
For example, if you enter in iPod, she just might make fun of your MP3 collection.
If you sit idle for a while, she will go through the different stages of emotions. From telling you to enter a query, to being playful about it, to being sad and then angry and then just giving up on you. Kinda funny.
But I dare you to enter in Jeeves or Ask Jeeves. :)«
|Mrs. Dewey is a librarian in a futuristic scene. She is named after Melvil Dewey or the Dewey Decimal Classification he developed, a classification system for libraries. Source|
|Schofield, Jack (2006): »Ms Dewey is good for a bit of a laugh, but has little or no chance of forming a long term relationship, given that she's amazingly slow at coming up with results, and they are displayed in an extremely poor way.« Source|
Features & Functionality
References & further Publications
|Wikipedia (EN): n.a.|
|Wikipedia (Others): n.a.|
|Bradley, Phil (October 23, 2006): Ms Dewey - a librarian URL: http://philbradley.typepad.com/phil_bradleys_weblog/2006/10/ms_dewey_a_libr.html|
|Schwartz, Barry (Nov 8, 2006): Ms. Dewey From Microsoft; Ask Jeeves Who? URL: https://www.seroundtable.com/archives/006645.html|
|Pandia (21 October 2006): Ms. Dewey presents a new sexy search engine URL: http://web.archive.org/web/20061030215543/http://www.pandia.com/sew/298-ms-dewey-presents-a-new-sexy-search-engine.html|
|Schofield, Jack (October 19, 2006): A sexy search engine, sort of URL: http://web.archive.org/web/20070107225445/http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/technology/archives/2006/10/19/a_sexy_search_engine_sort_of.html|