Funnelback Demonstration: Australian Government Grants

July 15, 2014

I saw a link to what seems to be an implementation of the Funnelback search system. Some folks see Funnelback as an alternative to the Google Search Appliance (a comparison that eludes me) or Elasticsearch (a little closer to the mark in my opinion).

Navigate to Enter a query. I used the term “aboriginal.” The results demonstrate that Funnelback has implemented some features that I associate with the 1998-2001 version of Endeca and a Google style results list.

Here’s the variant of what Endeca called “Guided Navigation”:


Here’s the Google style results list:


For a discussion of how one can integrate Squiz Matrix (a content management system) with Funnelback, navigate to the Squizsuite discussion board.

Years ago, I learned that Funnelback was a project of a university/Australian government project. Funnelback popped out of its incubator program and became part of Squiz in 2009. Even though Squiz flies the open source flag, Funnelback is a commercial product.

My Overflight archive shows that when I provided a profile of Funnelback to Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, I received inputs from someone. When the profile was published, the wizard responsible for Funnelback complained that the profile did not reflect his view of the system.

Since that initial interaction with Funnelback and its resident wizard, I have kept the system on my back burner. Getting one’s ducks in a row can be helpful when a third party is writing about a search system for inclusion in a monograph about information retrieval.

My recommendation is to talk with licensees and then, if possible, use the system and run some tests. Accepting a statement that Funnelback is an alternative to the Google Search Appliance is a stretch based on my experience. Is Funnelback comparable to Elasticsearch? The answer is that Elasticsearch has about $100 million in venture funding, outfits who make access to Elasticsearch a cloud solution that requires less fiddling than an on premises solutions, and developers coming out of the woodwork. See, for example, this Search Wizards Speak interview.

Marketing does not equal employee satisfaction with a search system. Testing and analysis are often useful, not the baloney generated by some of the wizards who advise potential licensees. One outfit is selling my work via Amazon without my permission, without a valid contract with me, and without sharing the fee for a report based on my work. When “wizards” run companies, caution is advised.

Stephen E Arnold, July 15, 2014


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