Wednesday, May 9

Search Innovations Article on R/W Web

Read/Write Web has an article on the Top 17 Search Innovations Outside of Google. The article is broken up into 17 areas of innovation.

Globalspec is mentioned under number 7, parametric search:
GlobalSpec lets you specify a variety of parameters when searching for Engineering components (e.g. check out the parameters when searching for an industrial pipe). Parametric search is a natural feature for Vertical Search engines...Google has already incorporated this feature at a general level - such as the parameters on the Advanced Search page - but that waters down its usefulness. The most powerful use of this feature happens when additional parameters become available as you drill down further into standard search results or when you constrain the search to specific verticals.
Good press is always nice :-).

Parametric search (database-like) and Google-like text search are converging. Google is adding faceted search via Google Base, and the traditional sql-like parametric engines are adding better full-text search. The goal is seamless integration between the two (a primary goal of faceted search). Faceted search engines like Ebay Express and are leading the way in this area.

The full list of the 17 areas:
  1. Natural language processing
  2. Personalization
  3. Canned, specialized searches (I'm not too sure about this one)
  4. New content types (Video, Images, Audio, etc...)
  5. Restricted data sources (aka 'custom' search engines like Google Co-op and Rollyo)
  6. Domain-specific search
  7. Parametric search
  8. Social search (Delicious, Stumbleupon, etc...)
  9. Human input (aka answers, Yahoo Answers)
  10. Semantic search (I'm not sure I agree, Spock and ZoomInfo, information extraction)
  11. Discovery support (aka recommendation systems)
  12. Classification, Tag clouds, and clustering (Is this innovation? Google uses clustering behind the scenes... I don't think users need or want this.)
  13. Results Vizualization (new ways to display search results
  14. Results refinement and filters (I'm not sure this is big either, it borders on faceted search the way it is described).
  15. Results Platforms (search result APIs? This is a bit strange. The closest example is the Alexa Web Platform).
  16. Related Services (I'm not sure I understand this..., not well defined)
  17. Search Agents
Overall, not a bad list, especially the top of the list. It seemed like they were stretching a bit towards the end...

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