Inform Brings Structure To News Search

    October 17, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

A new search engine culls stories from news sites, blogs, and subscription sites, and categorizes and groups them automatically.

New York-based Inform has launched a beta version of a free online tool that collects stories from a variety of online sources. It’s much more than a feed reader or news aggregator. The company describes its technological differences from sites like Google News or Yahoo news:

“Inform’s differentiating technology uses a series of information structuring techniques and natural-language interpretation to auto-categorize and group news stories into thousands of categories, and then shreds the text of the stories to isolate the important elements of each. Once the elements have been identified, you can easily connect and read news on any person, place, organization, topic, industry or product…”

Users can create news channels as desired. Next to an article, two icons appear. One allows a story to be flagged for later viewing. The second icon triggers a search for stories related to the topic.

Once those results have been returned on the left side of the page, two check boxes for News and Blogs appear at the top. These appear to serve to filter the results if they are checked or unchecked, but they currently don’t seem to do anything whether they are checked or not right now. Inform is in beta, and this might be a bit of planned functionality.

On the right side of the result page, Inform displays content it calls Discovery Path. Options to start new queries based on Topics, People, Industries, Places, or Organizations related to the story can be generated by clicking on them.

Inform plans to keep four days of news in its index. It draws content from registration and subscription sites and designates content from them as such. Users still need to be registered or subscribers with sites that require it for viewing their articles.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.