Hakia – Searching Semantically

Hakia is a new search engine, still in beta, that allows you to search using natural language. The first thing I thought of was Ask Jeeves but it seems to be quite a bit different.

hakia.jpg

When you have a search engine that prompts you to ‘search for meaning’ you have to play with it before conducting any serious searches. So I typed in ‘what is the meaning of life’.

The response was pretty good:

Brilliant query indeed. How about: Even those people who state that “life has no meaning” do not contradict the present definition.

And it provided a link to this page. The first ten results were definitely on topic.

So I typed in: ‘how do I keep my dog from chewing my slippers’?

Again, the reply was good:

Dog toys can prevent boredom, separation anxiety, and keep your dog from chewing on things he shouldn’t, like your slippers.

And a link to this informative page. And again, the SERPs were pretty good. Better than Google’s results. When I asked whether Santa Claus was real though, I got a link to The Politics Blog in which the phrase ‘santa claus is real’ was present. Not too good. The SERPs however, were similar to Google’s.

Anyway, play around with Hakia a bit. My kids are writing down questions they want to ask as I write this. Things like, ‘Am I still grounded from the phone’ and ‘will Dad kill me for bringing home a ‘D’…

The technology still seems to be simple phrase matching with some word relationship analysis and some ontology smarts thrown in but the matches seem to be good ones. I haven’t run across any total failures yet but I haven’t had time to play with it much.

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  1. After a few queries I had Weizenberg Eliza flashback

  2. DG

    Yeah, they could drop the whole AI response bit and just pop the link.

  3. Pretty smart – I threw in a question which had prompted me to set up one of my first sites way back years ago – one of the first articles I ever wrote came up in the results. :)

    I tried a few other queries and most seemed pretty decent results, although most have been specific questions – I’d think more generic search queries might have trouble.

    Their “galleries” (generic search phrases) are pretty cool, but the UK one for example lists the first 6 results (under “information”) all from CIA pages. http://www.hakia.com/search.aspx?q=United+Kingdom

    That said, I do like the breakdown by category + integrated news items for these types of searches.

    MG

  4. DG

    I think it is pretty impressive for a beta engine. I did find a number of results that are dominated by a single site but that should be easy to resolve.

    I’d like to know what their bot goes by as I haven’t seen anything from ‘hakia’ in any logs.

  5. At least it handles “Who is mickey mouse?” better than Ms. Dewey. But when it asks, “Hm. Did I get it right?” it doesn’t allow me to say “No.”

    And it didn’t provide an answer when I typed in “How many questions has Hakia indexed?”

    Oh well. I’ll keep an eye on it.

  6. I just did a little research on the technology they are describing. If they are really doing what I think they are doing, they could blow Google and Ask out of the water within 2-3 years. The technique is revolutionary for search indexing but it’s drawing upon well-established compiler theory.

    I’ve posted my first analysis of the technology at Spider-Food. If I am even close to right, this is just the most impressive thing I have ever seen in search technology.

    http://forums.spider-food.net/index.php?showtopic=4503

  7. DG

    I keep going back to Hakia and with every visit I grow more convinced that they’ve got the right ingredients to compete and then move ahead of the current engines. Wouldn’t surprise me though, to see one of the big boys snap it up.

    I’m not overly concerned about current results that are sometime less than stellar. I think the foundation is there to overcome most of the problems they face.

  8. Are you interested in having guest bloggers?

  1. 1 SEO Theory - SEO Theory and Analysis Blog » Blog Archive » Hakia is a true semantic search engine

    [...] of search engine optimization — has taken up blogging again. A couple of days ago he posted about Hakia, a new semantic search engine. Oh yes, I said it: “semantic search [...]




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