Searchles might not be the most popular site, but it has a couple of innovative and interesting features. It definitely doesn't follow the obvious design for a social networking site, which is "profile + gallery + instant messaging + applications".
The plan for this site was to combine the features of a social networking site, with that of a search engine. Of course, many sites have the option of adding links to interesting sites to the profiles, so the friends or followers can see them. But here, the link system is much more elaborate.
Once a user creates a profile, he or she gains access to an ever changing and developing source of information, which gets adjusted to the users tastes, habits and the growing circle of friends. The user can, for example, start with joining a couple of groups that deal with interesting topics, and then receive news about the posts and links added to that group. The user can also use a big tag cloud to find the topic they are looking for, or go straight to the "social networking" section to make friends.
The site has several search possibilities:
* the search bar for keywords, and tags, divided into "posts" and "videos" sections
* advanced search for determining the sections in a more detailed way (users, groups, friends, etc.)
* browsing through "groups", "people", "posts" and "tools" menu
* checking out the "Top Groups" which are currently highlighted in the main menu.
* Using Twicsy, to browse through images published via Twitter
Another interesting functionality is the Searchles TV, an application which enables to mash up favorite videos into one player and embed them into personal site. The TV supports the most popular sites, such as YouTube, Google Video, College Humor, etc.
Basically, there seem to be many ways to use the site, without the need to explore all possibilities. This is probably a good thing, and leaves the users quite a lot of freedom, with customizing their information flow, and their connections. On the other hand, it might be a bit overwhelming at first, and difficult for new users to get organized.
There's one more interesting functionality, which is the Searchles Bookmarklet, which can be added to the browser to collect interesting links.
The site is quite neat, with pleasant, pastel colors, and well organized, with a couple of really entertaining video tutorials for the new users. The design might seem a bit dry and boring at first, but probably, using little colors and decorations is the only reasonable way to create a site which will host a lot of links and colorful thumbnails. If the site were more elaborate, the important information could simply be lost among the decorations.
Searchles is a really interesting site for those who want to gave a good access to useful information. It doesn't have all those cute and time consuming applications, like Facebook does, but it gives the users tools to create their own, personalized newsfeed. This is one of those modern sites, that have many features in one, and allow the users to perform many different tasks at the same time - reading the news, discussing them, checking out shopping bargains, and staying in touch with friends.