In preparation for upgrading the cloud computing tool at Tag Cloud Generator and Service I decided to review tag cloud resources on the web to understand current state and features used.
Below will be brief summary of what was found. First of all here is very useful link to 5 Online Tools To Create Tag Clouds And here is one more review of Word Cloud Generators on the web 12 Cool Word Cloud Generators Some description of tag cloud algorithm and PHP source code can be found at Font variation in tag clouds The usage of tag cloud is now more extended. Many online tag generators now have also text box where any text can be submitted. This allow to use the service for idea brainstorming, text visualization, text analysis.
Originally tag clouds were used as another way of navigation on web site. I still sometimes see the web sites that provide tag cloud widgets however from the reading forum discussion at Tag Clouds: A Worthless WordPress Widget? looks like the usage for website navigation is significantly decreased. However in my opinion this does not mean that such visualization of information is worthless for web site navigation. The problem is that it is very hard to create good tag cloud. The current generators do not have all needed features and so people find tag clouds not usable enough. For example I just saw the tag cloud for “Cloud Computing” and the words “Cloud” and “Computing” where at separated positions. Such separated words can lead to wrong conclusions about links. Additionally I saw some noise words that does not mean much. Such features as remove some words from tag cloud based on different criteria, recognizing word phrases, similar words, grouping near each other tags on the same or similar topic instead of locating tags by alphabet order – all this is very important but still hard to find on the web.