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tag cloudGenerally, tag or word clouds visually depict the words used in a given text. Frequently used words may stick out with an increased font size, groups of tags may appear in uniform colors. Additionally, tag clouds can visualize relationships of words.

Tag clouds are much easier to grasp than simple lists, as words can be weighted with the help of font size and color.

We see tag clouds on lots of sites these days. Almost in all cases the purpose of the tag cloud is to give user an easier way to browse the site and at the same time see popular content.

Here are some of my favorite ways tag clouds are used on the web.

1. Discover New Music

The Music Artist Cloud is an artist recommendation engine. Try to “Get Artist Cloud” for a band you like and receive a cloud of similar musicians you might enjoy. I love many of the suggested bands and there are yet a few to be explored.

The site also fetches music videos from YouTube which you can watch while noting down discoveries.

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music suggestion

2. Extract Information from Twitter

Using Tweet Cloud you can create a tag cloud based on a keyword or Twitter ID. This tag cloud shows you the major words found in the most recent tweets and their occurrence frequency in relation to each other. The cloud rotates in 3D and you can click words to explore them further.

twitter

3. Create Fancy Word Art

Wordle was built for no other purpose than to play with it and create pretty word clouds. You provide the text and can tweak fonts, layouts and color schemes. Results can be printed, downloaded and saved to the Wordle gallery. Below are some recent examples.

word cloud

4. Improve Google Search

[NO LONGER WORKS] Search Cloudlet is a Firefox extension. The next time you search Google, Yahoo or Twitter after installing this tool you will find a tag cloud on top of the search results. This tag cloud derived from search results and shows you all the keywords relevant to your search results.

google search

Users can easily narrow/filter search by clicking keywords on the cloud and adding them to the query. This is a must-have addon for everyone who frequently searches on Google, Yahoo or Twitter.

Where and how Search Cloudlet appears can be optimized within the extension’s option.

5. Analyze Your Texts

Are there words that you use far too often?

Using a tool like TagCrowd you can create a tag cloud from any text and analyze whether or not your use of words is balanced. You can enter a webpage URL, upload a text document or paste a piece of text and finally finetune the options. When done preparing click Visualize! and wait for the result.

Below is an excerpt from Obama’s inauguration speech.

analyze text

Where do you find tag clouds helpful?

Image credits: modish

  1. MCA
    July 9, 2009 at 5:20 am

    The correct URL for 'Music Artist Cloud' is artistcloud.camaris.be.

  2. Me
    April 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Cool Music Discovery Cloud. It's addictive to click on related artists over and over again and see where you end ...
    I wonder how many clicks you need to get from mozart to madonna ;-) Any suggestions ?

  3. fasil
    April 29, 2009 at 6:26 am

    The second one is my most favorite one! and I really use it alot...

  4. fattom
    April 28, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    I created a "cloud" from attempted spam messages and attempted relays. Fun!

    http://fishin.inmyshorts.org/cgi-bin/spam-cloud.cgi

    Updated every Sunday morning with the last 5 weeks of data, and shows a by-day and by-hour graph of attempts. Data is harvest from Sendmail logs.

  5. Steve Bacarli
    April 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Music sites like Pandora are great. Outlook users, try Outlook Track-It, which is a great site for an outlook plugin for followup email reminders.

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