A point I'd like to add here is that we ought to consider a number of
different possible goals. For a person, say a shopper, who wants to
find and purchase a known product quickly this cloud technology isn't
necessarily the best. However, other people may have other goals
related to the same page. The marketer may have a goal of exposing
the site's variety of offerings. The casual shopper may have a goal
of finding a gift for someone but not knowing exactly what to buy.
Clearly one of CNET's goals is to deliver the news story I asked for
in a timely and effective fashion. They want to keep me coming back
to them for news and build their reputation as a good and reliable
supplier. However, they also seem to be exploring goals of using
information visualization techniques - and here I'm guessing - to keep
people exploring on their site. There's no doubt that many people
such as myself will find an interactive graph visualization more
enticing than a simple text list of story headlines/summaries.
To close this out, I'd say that these arguments apply to questions of
whether or not to use tag clouds as well.