Aardvark Shutting Down

According to an email I got this morning:

Dear Aardvarker, 

This mail is to remind you we will be shutting down vark.com shortly, and you will no longer be able to access Aardvark.

We’re sad to say goodbye to Aardvark now, but pleased that this project has inspired so much related activity in this area.
(See http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/fall-spring-clean.html for the broader story.)
Thank you for your support for Aardvark along the way!

All our best,

– The Aardvark Team

(p.s. You can visit blog.vark.com for information about data portability after Aardvark shuts down.)

I am really bummed. I enjoyed being a part of this community for the last year and a half.

My only solace is the hope that with the fall-spring-clean, that Google can finally deliver on the projects they keep promising (I’m looking at you, Google TV!)

Here is the text of the post on blog.vark:

Goodbye Aardvark

By Max, Zoo Director | Published: September 2, 2011

As part of the shutdown of GoogleLabs, Aardvark will be shutting down at the end of September.

Aardvark began as a small experiment in a new kind of social search, and over a few years blossomed into a service that made millions of connections between people to answer each other’s questions.  It was a great experience in seeking to combine a broad vision for the future of technology with a rigorous user-centered design process.  Over this time, we learned a lot about creating and maintaining online communities, and how to facilitate sharing of knowledge between people.

We’ve been excited to share these lessons within Google over the past year, especially as part of the effort behind Google+.  It has been gratifying to see how well this project is doing — even in these early stages, Google+ has already become a great place to share knowledge online, eclipsing the original vark.com! — and there is much more to come very soon.  In this and other projects at Google, the Aardvark team remains committed to developing powerful tools for connecting people and improving access to information.

Of course, we’re also sad to say goodbye to the original Aardvark here at vark.com.  Who would have thought that a digital version of a nocturnal burrowing mammal would have engendered so much affection!  We’re very grateful to the whole Aardvark community for your support along the way.

Onwards,

Max and Damon

p.s.  In the spirit of data liberation, we want to make sure that any of you Aardvark users who would like to retrieve your past data from the service can do so.  Right now of course you can log in and manually copy anything you’d like to keep.  Or if you prefer, you can email us at support@vark.com and we’ll send you a bulk dump of your data (please allow time for us to process these).  After September 30, there will be no way to retrieve your data, as shortly after that we will delete everything permanently.

Data Visualization

data cloud

As a researcher and professional working with accessibility, special needs, education, usability and interaction design, I am constantly searching for better ways to present information. Especially complex and dynamic information.

Web 2.0 has introduced cloud sourced information that defies traditional representations (graphs and pie charts). We as an industry of information technology specialists need to find ways to present interactive information in an understandable, interesting and fun way.

I have written about ManyEyes before as a great idea (in thought, while maybe not implementation) of how to ask society at large how they wish to be presented with this information, hopefully to find a way that works across cultures in way finding and understanding of information.

As I get ready to leave for UPA 2009 Conference in Portland, I am following and connecting with my colleagues who are already there or on their way. This is easily done through Twitter and its myriad of applications. Squidoo List of Twitter Apps.

Over the last couple of years, I have seen several implementations that collect social feeds, but this UPA2009 Twitter Feed’s animation styles are really interesting.

I took that and created a search based on My Tweets

I highly recommend going to The Man in Blue’s VisibleTweets Site and try creating one for yourself.