Next Gen Search: Thinking Engines

    August 2, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

For those who’ve been keeping up, keyword relevance-based searches will soon look like top-loading VCR’s; they still may work but who has the time? Soon search engines will think, as evidenced by Engenium’s latest patented application, Semetric V.4.0.

Yahoo, Google, and MSN are looking into a more contextualized search experience, indeed this is the next wave, but now we have the technology “ConceptSpace” which powers the new Semetric.

According to Engenium, Semetric “learns” as users search, familiarizing itself with the nuances of the language. The algorithms designed by Dallas based Engenium are modeled on human speech and thinking.

By creating relationships between words, the technology scans the content of documents, judges how each word, phrase, or concept is related to other words, phrases and concepts in the document in order to retrieve more precise results.

“Because Engenium Semetric operates on concepts — not keywords — search and retrieval isn’t constrained by the language or lexicon used in queries. Advanced mathematics is leveraged to facilitate the retrieval of relevant content, even when disparate content elements do not share any words or objects in common. Thus, users benefit through more accurate, precise search results,” as posted on their Website.

To borrow from Business Week, here’s an example.

“Say you want to search for documents on sedimentation, water rights, run-off, and environmental impact. When you ask [the program] to do a contextual search for those terms, the engine might also return other unexpected terms such as riparian (an obscure word used to describe lush vegetation on the sides of waterways). And it might return the name of someone who you hadn’t expected to be involved in these matters.”

Semetric is invisible to end-users using existing interfaces to run queries while it completes each search “behind the scenes.” Engenium says the application also works for users unskilled in constructing search queries, for as soon a document fits what a searcher is looking for, the entire document can be used as a query for further searching.

Currently, the product is for businesses and other entities, like law firms and government agencies, who need to search volumes of material on their own databases. But it won’t be long until contextual search is applied to the Internet.

Business Week says, “The contextual search function lets you find things you don’t even know you’re searching for.”

Huron Consulting Group’s Jim Mitchell tested the system out on a securities suit.

“It was bringing up material that hadn’t been looked at when you search exclusively on those key terms,” says Mitchell. “That’s big.”