Microsoft's Tafiti incorporates slick visuals with common web searches. ((CBC))

Microsoft Corp. has launched a search engine, called Tafiti, to showcase its new Silverlight animation and video player.

Tafiti, which means "do research" in Swahili and is available as a test version, combines the company's Live Search with Silverlight and adds a visual element to basic web searches.

Searches are presented, through a slick graphic interface, with results appearing in a central column. Users can select the type of media to search in — from websites andnews feeds tobooks or images — via a carousel in the left-hand column, then drag and save their results in the right-hand "shelf" column. The results can then be added to a blog or e-mailed.

Tafiti also offers a "tree view," with search results displayed as branches that can be pruned by dragging a slider at the bottom of the page.

On the Tafiti website, Microsoft said the service is designed to "help people use the web for research projects that span multiple search queries and sessions by helping visualize, store, and share research results."

The service is intended to "explore the intersection of richer experiences on the web and the increasing specialization of search."