Will IBM's 3rd Generation Piquant Search Technology Trounce Google?

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Thread Title:
At I.B.M., That Google Thing Is So Yesterday
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An interesting look at IBM's PIQUANT (Practical Intelligent QUestion ANswering Technology) - although this is (i think) aimed at business use it does seem that they are comparing to Google and thinking in terms of the Web also. PIQUANT uses natural language processing to add meaning to text:

One example is question answering. Google-type search engines are fabulous at retrieving random data, but mediocre at handling subtler queries. Using Google or Ask Jeeves, you can eventually find out how many of the world's Web pages are in each of the major languages, but it's slow and frustrating compared with finding out, say, Mozart's birthplace. Jennifer Chu-Carroll of I.B.M. demonstrated a system called Piquant, which analyzed the semantic structure of a passage and therefore exposed "knowledge" that wasn't explicitly there. After scanning a news article about Canadian politics, the system responded correctly to the question, "Who is Canada's prime minister?" even though those exact words didn't appear in the article.

MR. CICCOLO, the search strategist, said that in a way his team was trying to match - and reverse - what Google has achieved. "As Google use became widespread, people began asking why it was so much easier to find material on the external Web than it was on their own computers or in their company's Web sites," he said. "Google sets a very high standard for that Web. We would like to set the next standard, so that people will find it so easy to do things at work that they'll wonder why they can't do them on the Internet."

I saw this piece this morning but missed the fact that it spanned two pages heh.. so thanks to slashdot posting a thread on it also, i went and had another look.

Does anyone have more insight into this? It would be good to get a little clarification on whether this is going to be used on the WWW aswell as company intranets etc...


Search is many things ...

I have worked on the technical side of both enterprise search (on site) and web search and even though many think the two are very alike the fact is they are not!

Almost everything from data retrieval, indexing to ranking of documents is different. What works for web-search doesn’t necessarily work for site-search. A good example of this is link popularity (or Google PageRank) – this works pretty well on the web (at least as one important out of many factors) but don’t work at all for site-search. There are many other technical differences.

Another big difference, beside the technical issues, is the packaging and sales of the two products. Again, what works for a web-search engine usually doesn’t work for site-search.

I am not the only one that has realized this. All the large companies that have previously focused on both products are either doing very bad with one of them, have sold one part of split the company up (as it happened to both FAST and Inktomi).

Just because you can build great razing cars doesn’t mean you have the skills or knowledge to make good trucks, bulldozers or motorcycles – even though you could call them all for “vehicles”.

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