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Exalead Chases Customer Support

January 16, 2015

On Exalead’s blog in the post, “Build Customer Interaction For Tomorrow,” the company examines how startups, such as AirBnb, Uber, online banks, and others dedicated to services, have found success. The reason is they have made customer service a priority through the Internet and using applications that make customer service an easy experience. This allowed the startups to enter the oversaturated market and become viable competition.

They have been able to make customer service a priority, because they have eliminated the barriers that come between clients and the companies.

“First of all, they have to communicate with agility inside the company. When you have numerous colleagues, all specialized in a particular function, the silos have to break down. Nothing can be accomplished without efficient cooperation between teams. The aim: transform internal processes and then boost customer interaction.

Next, external communication, headed by the customer. Each firm has to know its clients in order to respond to their needs. The first step was to develop Big Data technologies. Today we have to go further: create a real 360° view of the customer by enriching data. It’s the only way to answer customer challenges, especially in the multi-channel era.”

The startups have changed the tired, old business model that has been used since the 1980s. The 1980s was solid for the shoulder pads and Aqua Net along with the arguably prosperous economy, but technology and customer relations have changed. Customers want to feel like they are not just another piece of information. They want to connect with a real person and have their problems resolved. New ways to organization information and harness data provide many solutions for customer service, but there are still industries that are forgetting to make the customer the priority.

Whitney Grace, January 16, 2015
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Personalizing Search: A Good Thing?

January 13, 2015

Here’s a passage I noted from “Computers Know You Better Than Your Spouse or Siblings”:

“Big Data and machine-learning provide accuracy that the human mind has a hard time achieving, as humans tend to give too much weight to one or two examples, or lapse into non-rational ways of thinking,” he said. Nevertheless, the authors concede that detection of some traits might be best left to human abilities, those without digital footprints or dependent on subtle cognition.

That pesky human characteristic of behavior shifts to match social context is just so annoying.

Search personalization is better than human-directed search. Right? Think about your answer before it is filtered.

Stephen E Arnold, January 14, 2015

Did You Know Oracle and WCC Go Beyond Search?

January 10, 2015

I love the phrase “beyond search.” Microsoft uses it, working overtime to become the go-to resource for next generation search. I learned that Oracle also finds the phrase ideal for describing the lash up of traditional database technology, the decades old Endeca technology, and the Dutch matching system from WCC Group.

You can read about this beyond search tie up in “Beyond Search in Policing: How Oracle Redefines Real time Policing and Investigation—Complementary Capabilities of Oracle’s Endeca Information Discovery and WCC’s ELISE.”

The white paper explains in 15 pages how intelligence led policing works. I am okay with the assertions, but I wonder if Endeca’s computationally intensive approach is suitable for certain content processing tasks. The meshing of matching with Endeca’s outputs results in an “integrated policing platform.”

The Oracle marketing piece explains ELISE in terms of “Intelligent Fusion.” Fusion is quite important in next generation information access. The diagram explaining ELISE is interesting:


Endeca’s indexing makes use of the MDex storage engine, which works quite well for certain types of applications; for example, bounded content and point-and-click access. Oracle shows this in terms of Endeca’s geographic output as a mash up:


For me, the most interesting part of the marketing piece was this diagram. It shows how two “search” systems integrate to meet the needs of modern police work:


It seems that WCC’s technology, also used for matching candidates with jobs, looks for matches and then Endeca adds an interface component once the Endeca system has worked through its computational processes.

For Oracle, ELISE and Endeca provide two legs of Oracle’s integrated police case management system.

Next generation information access systems move “beyond search” by integrating automated collection, analytics, and reporting functions. In my new monograph for law enforcement and intelligence professionals, I profile 21 vendors who provide NGIA. Oracle may go “beyond search,” but the company has not yet penetrated NGIA, next generation information access. More streamlined methods are required to cope with the type of data flows available to law enforcement and intelligence professionals.

For more information about NGIA, navigate to

Stephen E Arnold, January 10, 2015

Roundup of Personalization Software for Search Improvement

January 8, 2015

The article titled 15 Website Personalization and Recommendation Software Tools on Smart Insights contains a roundup of personalization software. Think of Groups of customers see vastly different suggestions from the store, all based on what they have bought or looked at in the past and what other people who bought or looked at similar items also considered. But in the last few years personalization software has become even more tailored to specific pursuits. The article explains the winning brands in one category, B2B and publisher personalization tools,

Evergage is mentioned as tool that fits best in this category. WP Greet Box is a personalisation plug-in used by WordPress blogging users, including me once, to deliver a welcome message to first time users depending on their referrers. It’s amazing this approach isn’t used more on commercial sites. WP Marketing Suite is another WordPress plugin that has been featured in the comments.”

The article also explores the best in the category of Commerce management systems. The article states that “both Sitecore and Kentico have built in tools to personalize content based on various rules, such as geo-location, search terms…” this is in addition to the more widely understood personalization based on user behavior. The idea behind all of these companies is to improve search for consumers.

Chelsea Kerwin, January 08, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Grand View Research Looks at Enterprise Search and Misses a Market Shift

January 7, 2015

Every time I write about a low-tier or mid-tier consulting firm’s reports, I get nastygrams. One outfit demanded that I publish an apology. Okay, no problem. I apologize for expressing that the research was at odds with my own work. So before I tackle Grand View Research’s $4,700 report called “Enterprise Search Market Analysis By End-Use (Government & Commercial Offices, Banking & Finance, Healthcare, Retail), By Enterprise Size (Small, Medium, Large) And Segment Forecasts To 2020,” Let me say, I am sorry. Really, really sorry.

This is a report that is about a new Fantasyland loved by the naive. The year 2020 will not be about old school search.


Image source:

I know I am taking a risk because my new report “CyberOSINT: Next Generation Information Access” will be available in a very short time. The fact that I elected to abandon search as an operative term is one signal that search is a bit of a dead end. I know that there are many companies flogging fixes for SharePoint, specialized systems that “do” business intelligence, and decades old information retrieval approaches packaged as discovery or customer service solutions.

But the reality is that plugging words into a search box means that the user has to know the terminology and what he or she needs to answer a question. Then the real work begins. Working through the results list takes time. Documents have to read and pertinent passages copied and pasted in another file. Then the researcher has to figure out what is right or wrong, relevant or irrelevant. I don’t know about you, but most 20 somethings are spending more time thumb typing than old fashioned research.

What has Grand View Research figured out?

First off, the company knows it has to charge a lot of money for a report on a topic that has been beaten to death for decades. Grand View’s approach is to define “search” by some fairly broad categories; for example, small, medium and large and Government and commercial, banking and finance, healthcare, retail and “others.”

Read more

Whatever Happened to Social Search?

January 7, 2015

Social search was supposed to integrate social media and regular semantic search to create a seamless flow of information. This was one of the major search points for a while, yet it has not come to fruition. So what happened? TechCrunch reports that it is “Good Riddance To Social Search” and with good reason, because the combination only cluttered up search results.

TechCrunch explains that Google tried Social Search back in 2009, using its regular search engine and Google+. Now the search engine mogul is not putting forth much effort in promoting social search. Bing tried something by adding more social media features, but it is not present in most of its search results today.

Why did this endeavor fail?

“I think one of the reasons social search failed is because our social media “friendships” don’t actually represent our real-life tastes all that well. Just because we follow people on Twitter or are friends with old high school classmates on Facebook doesn’t mean we like the same restaurants they do or share the politics they do. At the end of the day, I’m more likely to trust an overall score on Yelp, for example, than a single person’s recommendation.”

It makes sense considering how many people consider their social media feeds are filled with too much noise. Having search results free of the noiwy makes them more accurate and helpful to users.

Whitney Grace, January 07, 2014
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Qwant, Not Quant

January 3, 2015

Remember Pertimm? No problem. I scanned Techmeme yesterday and noted a link to a story about Qwant, another Google killer from France and the publishing wizards at Axil Springer. You might have some trouble locating the service because Techmeme spelled Qwant “correctly” if you live in Silicon Valley:


I covered Qwant in one of my for fee Information Today columns. I won’t recycle that analysis here.

The “news” is that Qwant is going to roll out a child friendly version of its search system. Here’s the interface for Qwant. I wonder how many children can figure out what’s what?


Notice that the blank column contains news about my query “Qwant child friendly.” What do you think about a service that doesn’t present news about itself?

Fascinating. Will French children be thwarted by Qwant’s effort to protect them from adult content? LA schools found out that blocked iPads were a no brainer to convert from school stuff or more thrilling content.

Stephen E Arnold, January 3, 2015

Patent Search Needs to Be Semantic

December 31, 2014

An article published on Innography called “Advanced Patent Search” brings to attention how default search software might miss important search results, especially if one is researching patents. It points pout that some parents are purposefully phrased to cause hide their meaning and relevance to escape under the radar.

Deeper into the article it transforms into a press release highlight Innography’s semantic patent search. It highlights how the software searches through descriptive task over product description, keywords, and patent abstracts. This is not anything too exciting, but this makes the software more innovative:

“Innography provides fast and comprehensive metadata analysis as another method to find related patents. For example, there are several “one-click” analyses from a selected patent – classification analysis, citation mining, invalidation, and infringement – with a user-selected similarity threshold to refine the analyses as desired. The most powerful and complete analyses utilize all three methods – keyword search, semantic search, and metadata analysis – to ensure finding the most relevant patents and intellectual property to analyze further.”

Innography’s patent search serves as an example for how search software needs to compete with comparable products. A simple search is not enough anymore, not in the world of big data. Users demand analytics, insights, infographics, easy of use, and accurate results.

Whitney Grace, December 31, 2014
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Drop Everything and Learn These New Tips for Semantic Search

December 31, 2014

IT developers are searching for new ways to manipulate semantic search, but according to Search Engine Journal in “12 Things You Need To Do For Semantic Search” they are all trying to figure out what the user wants. The article offers twelve tips to get back to basics and use semantic search as a tool to drive user adoption.

Some of the tips are quite obvious, such as think like a user, optimize SEO, and harness social media and local resources. Making a Web site stand out, requires taking the obvious tips and using a bit more. The article recommends that it is time to learn more about Google Knowledge Graph and how it applies to your industry. Schema markup is also important, because search engines rely on it for richer results and it develops how users see your site in a search engine.

Here is some advice on future proofing you site:

“Work out how your site can answer questions and provide users with information that doesn’t just read like terms and conditions. Pick the topics, services and niches that apply to your site and start to optimize your site and your content in a way that will benefit users. Users will never stop searching using specific questions, but search engines are actively encouraging them to ask a question or solve a problem so get your services out there by meeting user needs.”

More tips include seeing how results are viewed on search engines other than Google, keeping up with trends, befriending a thesaurus, and being aware that semantic search requires A LOT of work.

Whitney Grace, December 31, 2014
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Google in China: Countries Are Not Getting with the Program

December 29, 2014

Years ago, I pointed out that companies telling countries what to do might not be the path to a bright future in some circumstances. Countries have police, military, agencies, and rules. When an outsider suggests that the approach a country is taking is against the interests of a particular company, some of those in power have long memories.

I read “China’s Great Firewall Attacks Google Once Again, Blocks Any Form of Access to Gmail.” The headline is a bit misleading, probably in a quest to get lots of Google juice.

Firewalls do not attack. Firewalls are configured by people or other systems for a purpose. In this case, if the story is accurate, some human wants to prevent those within China’s datasphere from accessing Gmail. I am not sure this configuration is an “attack.” But with cyber warfare allegations flying around, some online publications just go with the semantic flow.

The write up asserts, one assumes correctly:

Gmail users in China are now finding that Google’s email service is totally inaccessible in the country. While Gmail’s website has been blocked in China since June, along with every other Google service, it had remained usable via IMAP/SMAP/POP in third-party email apps such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail. However, this newest crackdown seems to have shut that loophole, with Gmail’s IMAP, SMAP, and POP servers now fully blocked in China.

How does Google mend fences with China? One step forward on this long journey might be to take a look at what some companies are doing to tap into what seems to be a hefty market. Google is good at emulation, but in the case of China, criticism directed at Chinese authorities might be difficult to remove from the Chinese authorities’ index.

Google’s zippy approach to generating ad revenue generates lots of money. Money is often equated with influence in some countries. In China, there may be other more important factors in play.

For 2015, Google has some thinking to do if it wants to keep the China market in the Google tent or at least near the Google tent. On the other hand, too much dependence on China can lead to the YUM Brands problems. Once the money begins to flow, China’s consumer market can shift. Google has a need for ad revenue. What will Google do to pipe China cash into the Googleplex?

Good question, but it should have been asked a decade ago. In my experience, countries don’t change. I have a few examples at hand, but I won’t trot those out. Any TV news program provides ample illustrations of the disconnect between the way things are assumed to be and the way things are in nation states.

When I want to search information in China, you may need to seek alternatives to the Google.

Stephen E Arnold, December 29, 2014

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