March 17, 2015
The article on Telecompaper titled Qwant Tests Child-Friendly Search Engine discusses the French companies work. Qwant is focused on targeting 3 to 13 year olds with Qwant Junior, in partnership with the Education Ministry. Twenty percent of the company is owned by digital publishing powerhouse Axel Springer. The child-friendly search engine will attempt to limit the access to inappropriate content while encouraging children to use the search engine to learn. The article explains,
“The new version blocks or lists very far down in search results websites that show violence and pornography, as well as e-commerce sites. The version features an education tab separately from the general web search that offers simplified access to educational programme, said co-founder Eric Leandri. Qwant Junior’s video tab offers child-appropriate videos from YouTube, Dailymotion and Vimeo. After tests with the ministry, the search engine will be tested by several hundred schools.”
Teaching youngsters the ways of the search engine is important in our present age. The concept of listing pornography “very far down” on the list of results might unsettle some parents of young teens smart enough to just keep scrolling, but it is France! Perhaps the expectation of blocking all unsavory material is simply untenable. Qwant is planning on a major launch by September, and is in talks with Brazil for a similar program.
Chelsea Kerwin, March 17, 2014
Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com
March 16, 2015
TechCrunch tells us that search startup “Swiftype Raises $13M More For Its Starter Site And App Search.” Swiftype’s mission is pretty straightforward: they want to create customizable search tools that do not suck (TechCrunch’s own language). You have to admit that it is a bold move, considering many out-of-the-box solutions do stink worse than dial-up from 1995 and open source (while it is free and awesome) requires a bit of developer experience. Swiftype takes the guesswork and makes a tailored solution without the hassle or developer experience.
While Swiftype originally started out for Web sites, they have moved into other areas:
“On the other hand, online publishers might not be the most lucrative customer base, so while co-founders Matt Riley and Quin Hoxie told me they still support publishers (and we still use Swiftype at TechCrunch), they’ve also expanded into other areas, particularly knowledge bases (basically, FAQs and customer support sites) and e-commerce.”
The search company will use the $13 million will probably invest the money to expand its already popular search tools. New Enterprise Associates led the Series B funding and they were used for the original Series A round. Swiftype used New Enterprise Associates to form a long-term partnership.
Whitney Grace, March 16, 2015
Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com
February 21, 2015
I wanted to capture Antidot’s semi pivot from enterprise search to eCommerce search. The French company provides a useful description of its afs@store product. If you bang this product name into the GOOG, you find that the American Foundry Society, Associated Food Stores, and the American Fisheries Society push Antidot’s product down the results list. In general, names of search and content processing systems often disappear into search results. Perhaps Antidot has a way to make the use of the “@” sign somewhat less problematic.
The system, according to Antidot, system delivers features that sidestep the unsticky nature of most eCommerce customer visits. Antidot asserts:
- Rich, tolerant and customizable auto complete featuring products, brands, categories…
- Fully typo-tolerant search
- Semantic search that understands your customer’s words
- Dynamic filtering facets to rapidly select desired products
- Web interface to simply monitor and manage your searchandising
the company offers a plug in for Magento, the open source eCommerce system, that enjoyed love from eBay. It is difficult to know if that love is growing stronger with time, however.
I did notice that the “See and read more” panel had zero information and no links. Hopefully this void will be addressed.
Stephen E Arnold, February 21, 2015
January 29, 2015
The blog entry on CREDO Technology Solutions titled Oracle Commerce Leverages ATG and Endeca discusses the method to Oracle’s commerce solution. In order to make smart decisions that impact customer experience and engagement, Oracle brought together search, business intelligence, and ecommerce through the acquisitions of ATG Web Commerce and Endeca. The article explains,
“The Oracle Commerce Solution…[enables] the online and digital channels across mobile, web devices and even kiosks. Oracle Commerce leverages ATG for creating sites, data and content that drive the customer experience. Once the data and content is defined, the solution leverages Endeca for placement and optimization of the cross-channel customer experiences. The joint offering provides extensive capabilities in personalization and merchandising, enabling customers to have their online interactions be guided, fully personalized and applicable to their specific objectives.”
The article argues that customer engagement has never been more important to make a company stand out from the crowd. The ability to personalize a customer’s online experience and ensure that customers are able to easily navigate can make or prevent a sale, and the article specifically calls on retail executives to focus their efforts on ecommerce usability. The article stresses consistency and engagement above all else, and offers a sales pitch for interested parties.
Chelsea Kerwin, January 29, 2014
January 6, 2015
I find that analyses of high-tech company management gyrations quite entertaining. Once a company is successful, does it not follow that other projects will be successful? Aren’t managers of high-tech wonders able to manage other businesses owned by their employer? I hear a Greek khoroos intoning, “True, true, true.”
Within the conventions of Greek drama as understood by one of my somewhat addled high school teachers, “Stuff then happens.”
“Following Fire Phone Flop, Big Changes at Amazon’s Lab126” captures one of these moments in the Amazon melodrama, “As Profitability Remains Elusive.” (Will this become a CNBC reality show?)
The article explains that the Fire Phone was a failure. Okay, got that. The management fix is to shuffle some senior managers. The issue of having a 3,000 person research outfit is ignored, which is a Silicon Valley tradition—Hop over the underlying question, “Who was managing this operation from Amazon’s headquarters?”
Therefore, management change commences.
The most interesting part of the write up was this quote:
As Bezos has told employees there in the past, his goal is to make it so Lab126 can take a hardware product from ideation to market in just months, a cycle as ruthlessly efficient as the company’s retail operations.
The assumption that if one thing works (selling like Wal-Mart) then making hardware will work too. Barnes & Noble has demonstrated its acumen with what I call “the Nook cook.” Failures are like bad burritos. Reheating a bad burrito does not improve the burrito. Now Amazon is emulating Barnes & Noble and adding the zesty seasoning of assuming that success in one business automatically triggers success in another, unrelated business. Pizza Hut has a pretzel pizza. Amazon has a Nook Fire.
What’s next? Maybe Amazon should buy Yahoo and stir it into the mix.
Stephen E Arnold, January 6, 2014
January 3, 2015
Founded in 2009, Bloomreach is now popping up in my Overflight system. The company is buying Google ads and publishing a blog written by Bloomreach’s storyteller. The company is a “personalized discovery platform.” The angle seems to be ecommerce search, which will probably make EasyAsk, Endeca, and SLI Systems long for the day when MBAs ignored search for more glamorous endeavors.
The company offers an interesting mix of marketing oriented search services. There is hosted search and consulting. I noted a bit of search engine optimization as well. And, not surprisingly, there is some “Big Data marketing” lingo too.
Information about the company is available at this link.
Stephen E Arnold, January 4, 2015
December 10, 2014
The article on Digital Journal titled Baymard Institute Study Finds Major Problems with Search on Leading E-Commerce Sites considers the study’s findings that “essential e-commerce search capabilities” are missing from many sites, creating an obstacle in their potential for online sales. Poor test results included low tolerance for misspellings, a lack of support for search based on certain produce features, and a lack of support for thematic searches. Reportedly the study broke down search into twelve categories and EasyAsk, the site search “solution” provider jumped into the ring with a white paper on how to improve search and raise sales. The article explains,
“[The] white paper, Improving E-Commerce Search to Meet the Needs of the Modern Shopper, identifies specific solutions for the problems identified in the Baymard Institute Study. [It] also shows examples of how EasyAsk customers such as The North Face, Oya Costumes, InkJet Superstore, and Travers Tools have delivered an engaging search experience as identified in the Baymard Institute report. “The inadequacies of traditional, outdated keyword search engines are prominently displayed in the Baymard Institute Benchmark Study,” said Craig Bassin, CEO of EasyAsk.”
The immediacy of their response and their collaboration in letting organizations freely download part of the study might raise some eyebrows. The article does not go into detail on who exactly sponsored the study, either.
Chelsea Kerwin, December 10, 2014
November 27, 2014
Logically this statement makes sense and if you have been paying attention to facts you already knew it:
“A recent study by the Baymard Institute, an independent web research institute with a focus on e-commerce usability and optimization, found that many of the top 50 U.S. e-commerce sites are lacking essential e-commerce search capabilities which is hindering current online sales.”
Please feel free to insert your favorite exasperation for pointing out the obvious. This is something that even an experienced online retail shopper could tell you. Digital Journal covers the story in “Baymard Institute Study Finds Major Problems With Search On Leading E-Commerce Sites.”
Baymard found that most users don’t like browsing through categories. The search function on these big e-retailers also found they don’t have a spell check feature, did not support thematic or product searches, and required specific jargon.
EasyAsk responded to the Baymard’s with a white paper detailing how e-commerce Web site can improve their search feature to improve sales. One way is supporting natural language search. The white paper is available for free download.
November 24, 2014
I read “Google Adds Detailed Info to Shopping Search Results on Mobile Devices.” Google has plenty of information about products if any of the Ramanathan Guha data structures have been put in place. The write up says:
Starting this week, mobile users searching for products on Google will see detailed information, specs, store availability and customer reviews. In addition, select products on Google Shopping will also have 360-degree views for a closer look.
Are these listings ads? I know that when I use my mobile devices to log into Google I often have to fiddle around to get what I call the classic desktop presentation. Google seems to have some difficulty figuring out what to put in front of users.
More on a mobile device can be problematic. I was looking for the street on which I lived in Brazil using my eye pad. I could not find a way to get around the information shoehorned on a limited viewing space.
Mobile is creating some online ad revenue challenges for Google. If more information crowds out ads, I ask, “Maybe the more information is a paid listing?” The write up does not provide any information to help me answer my questions.
I long for the good old days of Froogle and the catalog service. Call me a dinosaur.
Stephen E Arnold, November 24, 2014
November 8, 2014
I wanted to call this write up Godforsaken ID. But you might plug in the letter “C” or you might not. I suggest you track down a dead tree edition of the still dog paddling New York Times. Check out the business section and look for the Google pleasing headline “Prominent Editor’s Exit a Setback for Amazon Publishing Unit.” I quite like the juxtaposition of prominent, setback, and everyone’s favorite online WalMart.” You may be able to view a version of the story at this link, but I make no promises in this money oriented era.)
The write up has a great quote or two.
- “His [Ed Park, a literary luminary unknown to me] departure reflects the challenges that Amazon faces in a publishing ecosystem that largely views the online retailer as a rapacious competitor.”
- “Some literary agents say Amazon’s publishing operation seems to be retreating.”
In my view, I don’t want my work sold on the Amazon system. I have enough experience writing and selling monographs that appeal to maybe 300 people in the world. These folks are not reached via WalMart.
You views, like those of Dave Schubmehl and IDC, may differ from mine. As you know, without a written agreement, Mr. Schubmehl (an alleged expert in information retrieval) and his employer (the large mid tier consulting firm, IDC) reworked my research, put their names and brand on the material, and attempted to sell the result for $3,500 on Amazon.
Is that clueless? I don’t know. I am relatively confident that whatever executive decision lead to that move may suggest some management challenges. You can read about the “surfing on Arnold” play and the IDC hopes Amazon can move 10 pages for $3500 at these links:
- IDC and Reports by Schubmehl
- Are HP, Google and IDC “Out of Square”?
- IDC Attivio Report Spotted by a Librarian
First, Amazon obviously did not check with the authors on the IDC report that permissions were in place. What’s this say about Amazon?
Second, who at IDC perceived Amazon as a way to move 10 pages of my recycled content for $3,500?
Third, how desperate are companies like Amazon and IDC to earn monikers like rapacious and name surfer?
We live in interesting information centric times. As I reveal my research results about the new direction in content processing, how long will it take for this information to surface with the name of a person who did not do the nitty gritty work? I should emulate the NCAA basketball gambling craze start a pool for this digital publishing sport?
Oh, I like old fashioned bookstores too.
Stephen E Arnold, November 8, 2014