Chris J Powell

Move Over Boolean…the Semantic Search is Here

The Rise of Big Data and Enterprise Search goes much further than just the collection and harvesting of Data.  Into the wee hours of the morning last night I was thumbing through an interesting article that looked at some of the emerging Semantic Search Engines Available (I even installed two for my mobile devices).  But even more importantly…the Semantic Search changes the way that we look to information and focuses not on the manual indexing of information but in the connection of both key words and contextual relations…this is a pretty big deal.

So I got to thinking that Google has been implementing Semantic Search for a few years and I must say that lately, the searches that I put in are becoming more and more relevant to what I am looking for (I search a lot…Google is my go to assistant no less than 100-150 times per day) but I have been using Boolean Logic within my searches for nearly as long as I can remember using Alta Vista, Excite and Webcrawler (some times all at the same time because they would give different results) but is that needed anymore?

I went searching for some information about the differences between the Semantic Search and the Boolean Search and found a very interesting article titled “Boolean vs. Semantic Search Interfaces:Which Work Better?” which was based on research done at the Center on Media and Child Health – Children’s Hospital Boston.  The article goes through a direct comparison of the use of a Boolean Search and a Semantic Search back in 2004 for indexed research material housed in the CMCH Database of Research.

This ability to search through “content” and apply “context” is vital to improving the relevancy of searches and for me…the less “refinements” that I need to apply is always a good thing.

As for those two “Semantic Search Apps” I installed…the first was Kngine on my Android phone.  It is an interesting spin on a typical search app as it wants to have you form real questions like “Why is the Sky Blue” or “When is the Vernal Equinox”.  On the iPad I installed Evri, which has morphed into a News Reader of sorts (like Zite and Flipboard).  The back connections are being made now into my Social Networks so that it “in theory” increases the relevancy of what I want to see in my “news”.  More on these apps soon…I think I am going to bring back App Friday!

There has been much discussion about the imminent death of Traditional Search as we know it because of Social Media, but in reality…if I do a search in any Social Media, it is to find a person…I will still rely on Google (or now a couple of the pure Semantic Search Apps I found) to look for the true relevancy and deeper search.

What does the future hold…that is hard to say but I think that with the addition of services like Siri and Iris and the expansion of the Semantic Search…traditional Search is more than able to maintain its “mind share” on us using the “Google Search Box” rather than jumping to Facebook any time soon!


Chris J Powell



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