Kayak Says Bing Isn’t Playing Air Fair, Hakia Sees Near Mirror Image

Kayak travel search launched a formal attack on Microsoft's Bing Travel yesterday in an article that appeared on Wired, Kayak to Bing: Stop Copying Us!. Apparently, Kayak's executives are more than a little steamed by the eerily similar look and feel, and even went so far as to put Microsoft on legal notice (presumably a cease & desist) to knock it off. Wired implies that Kayak is concerned about the similarities causing brand confusion with its users, and even noted an "uncomfortable" comparison in their own review of Bing, and points out that others have noticed as well. You can see f [...]

Hakia Debuts “Digital Newspaper” Start Page

If you're a general search engine that competes with Google (Yahoo & Microsoft), as you know, it's very hard to make headway in that game. But if you recharacterize or reposition yourself as other than a "search engine" you might gain some adoption. To some degree that's what Kosmix did by building out multi-media rich Wikipedia-like "topic pages" (a better version of the US version of Yahoo Glue Pages). Hakia faces this same conundrum. The company has been trying for some time to tell people that its "semantic search" delivers better results than Google. However people largely haven't bee [...]

Hakia Relaunches Site With “Trusted Results”

Today at SMX East, natural language search engine Hakia has launched a new search experience that  enables searchers to view categorized results, as well as view "Trusted" Results" from "Credible Sites". The Trusted Results program is an initiative Hakia  has developed with information professionals and librarians. As they note on their site: A popular Web source may not always be credible, and a credible Web source may not always be popular. hakia is the first search engine to integrate librarians’ collective knowledge of credible Web sites into search results to guide searchers. So [...]

Cuil Launches — Can This Search Start-Up Really Best Google?

Can any start-up search engine "be the next Google?" Many have wondered this, and today's launch of Cuil (pronounced "cool") may provide the best test case since Google itself overtook more established search engines. Cuil provides what appears to be a comprehensive index of the web, offers a unique display presentation, and emerges at a time when people might be ready to embrace a quality "underdog" service. The big questions now are how does the relevancy hold up and can word-of-mouth really still build significant share? [Note: The Cuil site was supposed to be live for searches at [...]

Powerset Launches “Understanding Engine” For Wikipedia Content

After nearly two years in the making -- and plenty of hype -- Powerset has finally rolled out a "natural language" search engine. It's not a Google killer. It's barely a business model right now. But at least it's something the world can finally play with, and under the hood, there's lots of potential. By the time you read this, the Powerset site should have changed into a tool that allows you search against material within Wikipedia. Why bother using Powerset rather than using Wikipedia's own search tool or even Google set to look only within Wikipedia pages? The Powerset pitch is t [...]

Hakia Goes For “Quality” Over “Popularity”

If Hakia were using an automotive analogy, the site might be saying to Google, "We're BMW, you're Chevrolet." The Hakia blog explains how the engine is taking a "quality" approach, trying to assess the credibility of sites in ranking them, together with the help of professional librarians. Hakia specifically discusses this in the context of health-related search and contrasts its approach with that of "popularity," a general reference to Google's original PageRank algorithm. The company says that it will roll out "Quality Search" in a range of verticals -- "law, finance, science, and in many [...]

The Google Challengers: 2008 Edition

Rich Skrenta -- who, aside from creating the first computer virus, is more notable to search as a cofounder of the Open Directory Project and the Topix news search engine -- has announced he's founded a search start-up. A stealth one, as TechCrunch puts it. Don't we already have several stealth search start-ups? Yep. Here's a guide to who's who. Blekko What we know so far about Blekko isn't much, and TechCrunch has the most details in its The Next Google Search Challenger: Blekko post from yesterday. Apparently Rich founded the company in September 2006, along with five othe [...]

Changes At Natural Language Search Company Powerset

Big management changes are going on at Powerset, which has received much attention for its potential in using natural language processing for search. Barney Pell, who has been CEO at Powerset, posted today in his blog that he is transitioning to CTO, that Steve Newcomb, who had been COO, is leaving the company, and that Ron Kaplan, who had been CTO and Chief Science Officer, is now solely Chief Science Officer. The company is currently looking for a CEO. Several companies have been taking the natural language angle in creating the next generation search engine, but turning the potential into [...]

Social Networking Through Search: Hakia Helps You Meet Others

Hakia, a natural language search engine, has just added a new spin to search: social networking. Their new Meet Others feature lets you connect with others who are searching for the same things you are. Since Hakia processes queries differently than old school search engines such as Google, you aren't just matched up with people who typed in the exact query you did -- you're matched with a larger set of searchers that Hakia thinks are looking for the same things you are based on natural language processing. For instance, if you're searching for "what drug treats a headache," Hakia processes t [...]

Mahalo Launches With Human-Crafted Search Results

Mahalo, the expected people-powered search engine backed by Jason Calacanis, has now gone live in an early "Alpha" test release. In Mahalo, human editors have crafted the top search results for popular queries. For example, search for [paris hotels], and human editors at Mahalo have assembled a page that lists actual hotels in Paris rather than hotel aggregation/booking sites that you see at Google. I ran a few queries when talking with Jason about the service last week. Often, the results were impressive. In some other cases, the humans had gone into overkill, listing so many rela [...]

Powerset Licenses Xerox PARC Natural Language Tech

Both VentureBeat and the New York Times are out today with an update on Powerset, which has won the rights to natural language search technology from Xerox PARC that it hopes will make it into the new Google, when Powerset finally launches. VentureBeat also gives us news of at least one person from Yahoo now working there -- Tim Converse -- who left Yahoo in December. I know others from Yahoo are also at Powerset, as well. Last time we had news about Powerset, I did a big long rant -- Hello Natural Language Search, My Old Over-Hyped Search Friend -- about the hype and history often associat [...]

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