What’s Semantic Search? Can Hakia compete with Google?

What is semantic search?

What is semantic search?

Semantic search is a revolutionary way of retrieving search results on the Internet. Instead of delivering results based on popular page ranking of sites, this concept focuses on producing results based on semantics. Semantics is the science of language and the connection or meaning of words. Thus when a user queries a word or sentence semantic search mechanisms aim to produce the most relevant results based on the meaning of the phrase searched for.

How does semantic search work?

Basically the entire information that is gathered through semantic search is stored in a semantic network. Semantic searches use RDF and XML information which is stored on these semantic networks.
Just like any other network even in a semantic network there are specific nodes which are known as synsets. Each and every node comprises synonyms which mean the same thing. These nodes thus comprise either single lemmas or words, compound words or even collocations which are groups of words.
The way it works is that as soon as a user types in a phrase or keyword, the semantic search mechanism starts its search process. It will first check to see if the word or phrase has any ambiguity in its meaning. For example a word such as bark can mean the sound made by a dog or the outer covering of a tree. If there is ambiguity then the rest of the sentence is parsed or searched for. Other words in the sentence are analyzed in order to arrive at the most plausible meaning of the phrase.

Types of semantic search

As per findings it has been discovered that users typically employ two kinds of searches. One is called the navigational search where the user uses the search engine as a means to reach a specific document. The other kind of search is called a research search. In this form of search the user is not aware of the document he or she requires but provides a phrase that will help him or her to reach the document. Semantic search is not applicable to the navigational search method and instead applies to the research search mode. Now, the ultimate objective of semantic search is to parse through all the information present and convey the most relevant results. The most specific terms are analyzed and this also helps the user to identify the terms so that in the next search he or she can use such exact terms during search.

Complex technologies

Semantic search mechanisms use a lot of complex technologies in order to search and retrieve results that are exact or relevant to user’s requests. These searches are carried out by parsing through structured sources of data which are information intensive in nature. One such example of such a structure is an ontology which is typically found on semantic web. Thus semantic searches also help a user to arrive at the exact domain search term to improve the subsequent search attempt.

Different interfaces

The semantic search engines are very different from regular search engines which use page ranking as their criteria for displaying results. The semantic search engines use their own unique interface to help sift through the data and employ the usage of semantic search mechanisms to produce the search results. One of the popular startup companies which have recently paved the way for using semantic searches is Hakia.com. This is a 10 million dollar funded startup which focuses on using semantic analysis to produce highly relevant search results. Using QDEX technology, which incidentally is the company’s brainchild, Hakia has intelligently leveraged SemanticRank algorithms. These algorithms are typically offshoots of Fuzzy logic, mathematics, ontological semantics as well as computational linguistics.

The new age search engine

Hakia.com promises to be a powerful search engine that will literally change the way users search for information on the web. The company has managed to even raise 2 million dollars from an unidentified investor which has brought the total raised the total funding to almost 18 million now.

Will they won’t they?

The next most probable question that is popping up in everyone’s minds is – is Hakia a formidable competitor to Google? Considering the fact that it is armed with a funding of 18 million, has veritable members like Bill Pradley and Professor Victor Raskin the founder of ontological semanticsHakia does have a lot to be proud of.

Moving beyond the framework

Unlike other major search engines such as Google which still rely on indexing mechanisms a lot, Hakia comes as a breath of fresh air. It uses semantic search mechanism which means that the search engine really understands the sentence instead of focusing only on popularity of pages. There are hordes of search engines on the web today which focus on indexing search mechanisms and therefore this concept seems to have reached saturation point now. Hakia seems to have entered into a new domain and is creating waves with its innovative technology. Instead of just looking at keywords or page ranking (which is what almost all search engines do) Hakia actually analyzes the sentence to provide users the most relevant results.

Unproven and uncertain – still

Although Hakia does hold a lot of promise as a new age search engine, its effectiveness is yet to be tested. The version one release is still quite new and therefore commenting on it as of now is not very feasible. The huge base of information and content that Google operates with is phenomenal which Hakia or any search engine can never compete against. Besides, Google has been focusing increasingly on concepts like structured data and personalization. Thus Google has two major advantages currently over Hakia – a huge brand base and popularity as well as huge information content. While Hakia may promise a lot and be using a new technology it still has a lot to prove before it can compete with a giant like Google. Only time will really tell if Hakia can compete with this search engine major.

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