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RichRelevance Promises Complete Omnichannel Personalization

May 7, 2015

The article on MarketWatch titled RichRelevance Extends Its Partner Ecosystem to Support True Omnichannel Personalization predicts the consequences of San Francisco-based company RichRelevance’s recent announcement that they will be amping up partner support in order to improve the continuity of the customer experience across “web, mobile, call center and store.” The article explains what is meant by omnichannel personalization and why it is so important,

“Personalization has emerged as the most important strategic imperative for global businesses,” said Eduardo Sanchez, CEO of RichRelevance. “Our partner ecosystem provides our customers with a unique resource to support the implementation of different components of the Relevance Cloud in their business, as well as customize personalization according to the highly specific demands of their own businesses and consumer base.” Gartner predicts that 89% of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of the customer experience by 2016…”

The Relevance Cloud is available for Richrelevance partners and includes such core capabilities as Pre-built personalization apps for recommendations and search, the Open Innovation Platform for Build, and Relevance in Store for the reported 90% of sales that occur in-store. The announcement ensures that the collaboration Richrelevance emphasizes with its partners will really range all areas of customer engagement.

Chelsea Kerwin, May 7, 2014

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Cerebrant Discovery Platform from Content Analyst

May 6, 2015

A new content analysis platform boasts the ability to find “non-obvious” relationships within unstructured data, we learn from a write-up hosted at PRWeb, “Content Analyst Announces Cerebrant, a Revolutionary SaaS Discovery Platform to Provide Rapid Insight into Big Content.” The press release explains what makes Cerebrant special:

“Users can identify and select disparate collections of public and premium unstructured content such as scientific research papers, industry reports, syndicated research, news, Wikipedia and other internal and external repositories.

“Unlike alternative solutions, Cerebrant is not dependent upon Boolean search strings, exhaustive taxonomies, or word libraries since it leverages the power of the company’s proprietary Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)-based learning engine. Users simply take a selection of text ranging from a short phrase, sentence, paragraph, or entire document and Cerebrant identifies and ranks the most conceptually related documents, articles and terms across the selected content sets ranging from tens of thousands to millions of text items.”

We’re told that Cerebrant is based on the company’s prominent CAAT machine learning engine. The write-up also notes that the platform is cloud-based, making it easy to implement and use. Content Analyst launched in 2004, and is based in Reston, Virginia, near Washington, DC. They also happen to be hiring, in case anyone here is interested.

Cynthia Murrell, May 6, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Survival of SharePoint and the Big Bang Theory

May 5, 2015

The ebb and flow of SharePoint expansion and contraction can be described as a “big bang theory” of sorts. This cyclical pattern can be seen in many businesses, but Redmond Magazine helps readers see the cycle in SharePoint. Read more in their article, “The SharePoint Big Bang Theory.”

The article sums up the illustration:

“As Microsoft added capabilities to SharePoint over the years, and provided the flexibility to configure or customize its features to meet just about any business requirement, the success of the platform exploded . . . End users and administrators alike started thinking about their information architecture and information governance policies. Companies . . . began consolidating their efforts, and started to move their businesses toward a more structured content management strategy . . . [then] the rise of the enterprise social networks (ESNs) and cloud-based file sharing solutions have had (are having) a contracting effect on those intranet and structured collaboration plans. Suddenly end users seem to be totally in charge.”

There’s no doubt that SharePoint has learned to weather the turbulent changes of the last twenty years. In some ways, their adaptability is to be applauded. And yet, most users know the platform is not perfect. To stay attuned to what the next twenty years will bring, keep an eye on Stephen E. Arnold has made a career of out reporting on all things search, and his dedicated SharePoint feed distills the information down into an easily digestible platform.

Emily Rae Aldridge, May 5, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Continued Growth and Success at Syl Semantics

May 5, 2015

The article on Yahoo New Zealand titled Syl Semantics Raises New Capital and Appoints New Directors begins by naming the two freshly-minted non-executive directors, Murray Nash and Gene Turner. This is the result of successful capital raising to the tune of a million dollars for the Wellington-based company. Syl Semantics will continue to focus on growing the company with the assistance of the new directors. The article explains,

“Murray Nash is Managing Director of Zusammen, an advisory firm specialising in strategy, finance and capital markets, risk management, and public policy. In 2013 Murray was manager of the Establishment Unit and subsequently the acting Chief Executive of Callaghan Innovation. Murray has been a senior manager in three financial risk management start-ups in New York – supplying technology solutions to global leaders in banking, insurance, asset management and prudential supervision. He has a MComm (Finance) from the University of Auckland.”

Gene Turner’s background is in law and banking. Syl Semantics was created in 2008 and has grown steadily since then, releasing Syl Search in 2011 with great success. Syl Semantics is focused on what they term “Information Intelligence” or the “ability to access and extract value, meaning and learning from information.” James Fowler, the Director of Sales and Marketing, spoke to the ambition and perseverance of the company, which hopes to gain more of a foothold in New Zealand and Australian markets.

Chelsea Kerwin, May 5, 2014

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Mobile Search: Google in Line for a Swift Treatment

May 4, 2015

In the Jack Black “Gulliver’s Travels,” the protagonist found himself tied down by little people. I love Swift’s words for the small ones: Lilliputians and Blefuscusians.

I would recommend the 1735 edition, but I know that the one or two readers of this blog prefer to consume their history via videos.

The article “Search Start Ups See Opening to Challenge Google in Mobile” is the child of an earlier blog post “Start-Ups Try to Challenge Google, at Least on Mobile Search.” Both write ups drive a single point:

The GOOG is big, clueless, and vulnerable.

The write up did not include an illustration of the comedian Jack Black, but I provided that to make clear how the New York Times perceive Mr. Google.

I learned:

Europe’s competition regulator filed antitrust charges against Google on the belief that the company’s search business had become so powerful that it was pretty much impossible to compete with.

Okay, “pretty much.” The thread knitting together the examples in the article is the notion of “deep links to connect mobile applications the way websites are linked on the web.” Oh, so that’s what a deep link is. I find that connecting applications is one function, and deep linking is another. But, hey, let’s not disrupt the flow of the Swiftian analysis.

I highlighted the names of the Lilliputians mentioned in the article:

  • Quixery
  • Reley
  • URX
  • Vurb

Why are start ups bedeviling the data hungry giant? The write up reports:

Mobile also has several special challenges for an entrenched player like Google. With its constellation of apps and competing operating systems, mobile is a highly fragmented universe, making it harder for one company to index all of the most relevant information the way Google has indexed the web. Also, the answer to many of the most common — and lucrative — queries is neatly structured inside popular applications like Yelp, the local directory service, making it easier to create focused search products that are unlikely to sink Google but could give it “a thousand tiny leaks,” said Jeremy Kressmann, an analyst at eMarketer who covers the search business.

Yep, an expert who is an analyst in eMarketing.

But Google, according to the write up, may not be a dead mobile search goose yet. The write up says:

The company’s biggest bets have been a voice-searching tool, along with Google Now, an application that tries to predict what users are looking for by showing a stack of cards with timely information, using cues like coming events in the user’s emails or recent activities on mobile apps and the web. Like her start-up competitors, Ms. Chennapragada is still unsure exactly what people want. “Google Now is such an early effort,” she said. “We’re still trying to figure it out.”

Poor Google. Just not able to “figure it out.”

My thought is that vendors with mobile search technology may want to pursue a slightly different path than one that pesters the Google. SRCH2, another mobile start up founded by a Xoogler, is focusing on providing a service to larger outfits that need a mobile search solution.

My hunch is that the opportunity to suggest that Google is a vulnerable giant was more important to the write up than fiddling around with deep links and looking beyond the names of outfits with pipelines to eMarketers.

Stephen E Arnold, May 4, 2015

Listen Up, Search Experts, Innovation Ended in 1870

May 2, 2015

I just completed a video in which I said, “Keyword search has not changed for 50 years.” I assume that one or two ahistorical 20 somethings will tell me that I need to get back in the rest home where I belong.

I read “Fundamental Innovation Peaked in 1870 and Why That’s a Good Thing,” which is a write up designed to attract clicks and generate furious online discussion and maybe a comic book. I think that 1870 was 145 years ago, but I could be wrong. Ahistorical allows many interesting things to occur.

The point of the write up is to bolster the assertion that “society has only become less innovative through the years.” I buy that, at least for the period of time I have allocated to write this pre Kentucky Derby blog post on a sparkling spring day with the temperature pegged at 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 22.22 degrees Celsius for those who are particular about conversions accurate to two decimal places. Celsius was defined in the mid 18th century, a fact bolstering the argument of the article under my microscope. Note that the microscope was invented in the late 16th century by two Dutch guys who charged a lot of money for corrective eye wear. I wonder if these clever souls thought about bolting a wireless computer and miniature video screen to their spectacles.

The write up reports that the math crazed lads at the Santa Fe Institute “discovered” innovation has flat lined. Well, someone needs to come up with a better Celsius. Maybe we can do what content processing vendors do and rename “Celsius” to “centigrade” and claim a breakthrough innovation?

Here’s the big idea:

“A new invention consists of technologies, either new or already in use, brought together in a way not previously seen,” the Santa Fe researchers, led by complex systems theorist Hyejin Youn, write. “The historical record on this process is extensive. For recent examples consider the incandescent light bulb, which involves the use of electricity, a heated filament, an inert gas and a glass bulb; the laser, which presupposes the ability to construct highly reflective optical cavities, creates light intensification mediums of sufficient purity and supplies light of specific wavelengths; or the polymerase chain reaction, which requires the abilities to finely control thermal cycling (which involves the use of computers) and isolate short DNA fragments (which in turn applies techniques from chemical engineering).”

Let’s assume the SFI folks are spot on. I would suggest that information access is an ideal example of a lack of innovation. Handwritten notes pinned to manuscripts did  not work very well, but the “idea” was there: The notes told the lucky library user something about the scroll in the slot or the pile in some cases. That’s metadata.

Flash forward to the news releases I received last week about breakthrough content classification, metadata extraction, and predictive tagging.

SFI is correct. These notions are quite old. The point overlooked in the write up about the researchers’ insight is that pinned notes did not work very well. I recall learning that monks groused about careless users not pinning them back on the content object when finished.

Take heart. Most automated, super indexing systems are only about 80 percent accurate. That’s close enough for horse shoes and more evidence that digital information access methods are not going to get a real innovator very excited.

Taking a bit of this and a bit of that is what’s needed. Even with these cut and paste approach to invention, the enterprise search sector leaves me with the nostalgic feeling I experience after I leave a museum exhibit.

But what about the Google, IBM, and Microsoft patents? I assume SFI wizards would testify in the role of expert witnesses that the inventions were not original. I wonder how many patent attorneys are reworking their résumés in order to seek an alternative source of revenue?

Lots? Well, maybe not.


Semantic Search and Dolphins

May 2, 2015

Do you remember Dolphin Search? I have some information in my Overflight archive. One Dolphin was a commercial search system. I made a note, “Based on an analysis of dolphin sounds.” I never followed up. I have another reference to an open source search system. Here’s a screenshot I snagged:

Figure 1: The Dolphin search tool allows you to find files and folders by name.

I located one of the gosling’s notes. The main point, “Flakey.”

Dolphins surfaced again (heh heh heh) in a write up with the tsunami of a title “How Dolphins Saved Semantic Search.”

This emergence of dolphins from the pool of information access is fascinating. Here’s the lead paragraph:

“We don’t talk about trust and identity much, it’ll be a good subject to discuss,”Teodora Petkova explained to me over an email. We were discussing my participation at the Sofia SEO Conference 2015 organized by Ognian Mladenov and my keynote opening speech on semantic search.

Yes, directly designed to hook me with a tasty morsel of bait or snare me in a mile long drag net.

I had to wait until the sixth paragraph to get to the dolphin and semantic search bobber.

I’d read about the Irrawaddy river dolphins while doing some research on human cooperation behavior. The Irrawaddy river is in Myanmar (former Burma) and the local fishermen had managed to find a way to communicate with the river dolphins. More than that the two of them had managed to create a shared language. The dolphins could, through their behavior, tell the fishermen just how big the catch they were bringing in was. The Fishermen would call out to the dolphins as necessary. This is not just cooperative behavior, it is a mutualistic relationship  where both parties work together, sharing the workload so that the burden involved becomes less and the rewards for each, become greater. It is, in other words, contact between two intelligences. Search is similar.

Well, there’s that.

The write up drifts from “semantic” into a haze much like the mist that rises on some mornings from the south facing inlet on Guarujá. Where the write up drifts is the conflation of humanness and semantic search. The metaphor which drifts to mind is the plastic trash and detritus that disfigure beaches.

Well, there’s that.

Toss the chum of search engine optimization into the murky water and what emerges is the dolphin.

I think that this makes perfect sense to a person less wise than Hemmingway’s Old Man in the novella foisted on clueless sea farers in rural Illinois. The logic meshes with warnings like “red sky at morning, sailors take warning” or something similar.

Dolphins seem not to notice the weather. Dolphins do notice fish dangled in front of their noses at Sea World.

With semantic search playing the key part in this fish tale, the question arises, “What the heck does this have to do with information retrieval.”

Empty net. For sure.

Stephen E Arnold, May 2, 2015

A Binging Double Take 

May 1, 2015

After you read this headline from Venture Beat, you will definitely be doing a double take: “ComScore: Bing Passes 20% Share In The US For The First Time.”  Bing has been the punch line for search experts and IT professionals ever since it was deployed a few years ago.  Anyone can contest that Bing is not the most accurate search engine, mostly due to it being a Microsoft product.  Bing developers have been working to improve the search engine’s accuracy and for the first time ever ComScore showed that both Google and Yahoo fell a 0.1 percentage and Bing gained 0.3 percent, most likely stealing it from DuckDuckGo and other smaller search engines.  Microsoft can proudly state that one in five searches are conducted on Bing.

The change comes after months of stagnation:

“For many months, ComScore’s reports showed next to no movement for each search service (a difference of 0.1 points or 0.2 points one way or the other, if that). A 0.3 point change is not much larger, but it does come just a few months after big gains from Yahoo. So far, 2015 is already a lot more exciting, and it looks like the search market is going to be worth paying close attention to.”

The article says that most of search engine usage is generated by what Internet browsers people use.  Yahoo keep telling people to move to Firefox and Google wants people to download Chrome.  The browser and search engine rivalries continue, but Google still remains on top.  How long will Bing be able to keep this bragging point?

Whitney Grace, May 1, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Altiar Decides to Embed dtSearch Engine

April 30, 2015

PR Newswire has a big announcement for fans of dtSearch Engine: “Announcing The Altiar Cloud-Based (Optimized For Microsoft Azure) ECM Platform Embedding The dtSearch Engine.”  Altiar is a leading enterprise collaborative content management platform based in the cloud, developed for prime optimization in Microsoft Azure.  To improve the enterprise content system, dtSearch’s search engine (its headlining product) will be integrated into Altiar platform.

Altair wants to improve how users find content on the platform.  Users can upload and create brand new content on Altair, but with files from so many different programs it can be confusing to manage and locate them.  Altair hopes to remedy any search problems with the integration:

” ‘Utilizing the power of dtSearch Engine at the core, users can search across the entire database of files uploaded by other users as well as manage their own uploads simply and quickly,’ explains Altiar.  ‘Search results deliver relevant results from the content within every file as well as any additional data provided at upload.’”

Altair restates what we already know about search: it is one of the most important functions of technology and without out people would not be able to track down their content.  Comprehensive search across multiple programs is a standard feature in all computers these days.  Is searching the cloud more complex than a regular system?  What improvements need to be made to make search handle the extra work?

Whitney Grace, April 30, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Visual Browsing: A New, Next, Big Thing. Maybe.

April 29, 2015

The visual browsing bandwagon is rolling along. The sponsored content Guardian in the UK published “Visual Browsing: There’s a Critical Gap between How We See and How We Search.” The write up, which seems to be supported by SAP, states:

What we need is a visual browser for the world around us – a way of pointing at things which inspire thoughts and questions, giving us a rich, engaging means to find out what we don’t know, and those things we didn’t know how to search for using mere words.

Right, words. The challenge according to Blippar, the outfit connected with this visual search, essay points out:

Visual browsing sits at the heart of discovery in the internet of everything. It has the potential to bring the world to life around us, adding a story to every thing we see and the ability to sate our curiosity in every moment. Visual browsing is the most ‘native’ search engine there is, being based on context alone, driven by visual cues, location, time of day and the interests of the user, and not biased or limited by the understanding or vocabulary of the user.This will give us the ability to satisfy our curiosity more of the time – to visually search for the answers to the questions that intrigue us every day; to truly take search into the realm of ‘discovery’. We’re the most curious of species on the planet – it’s what’s got us to where we are today. The next generation of search must reflect this.

Blippar allows a person to take a picture using a mobile phone and then having the picture generate results.


If you want to see examples of visual browsing, point your browser to This is the French Web search system owned in part by Axil Springer. For an example of a browser that itself incorporates visual browsing, download a copy of Vivaldi.

A picture, according to my somewhat addled great grandmother who wrote poetry with curse words as a metaphorical trope, is worth a thousand words. Here’s Qwant’s results for the query semantic search:


Visual browsing is one component of a next generation information access system, just not a main component. Clutter is not useful when certain types of information is required under difficult conditions such as a flash crash or someone is lobbing ordinance in your direction.

I am trying to figure out the SAP and Blippar connection. Will my mobile phone snap of the SAP logo help? I think not.

Stephen E Arnold, April 29, 2016

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