Search is now being integrated into everything—our cars, phones, homes and even glasses. As such the stakes, and rewards, for successful search engines are higher than ever before.
The search engine business is largely owned by Google, but that doesn’t keep others from trying to innovate in an attempt to rival the company whose name is now synonymous with the word ‘search’ itself. Omnity, a new search engine aimed at researchers, would appear to be offering something that Google simply isn’t.
Omnity is different than other search engines because it provides results that are a best match for any given search term and also shows you how those results relate to each other. So if you are about to start a research project on a topic you know little about, you can quickly see who is getting cited the most, whose research is the most influential or which university is considered the authority on that subject. It pulls results from a number of data sets including SEC filings, news reports, scientific journals, financial reports and legal histories.
Omnity also has a function that allows you to drag and drop documents into the search engine to get an analysis of the “rare words” in it. The engine strips out the little words like “a” and “the”, and looks for words that are more unique to the document to get a better idea of what it is about.
This is more thorough than the keyword system that Google uses—a system that can be largely cheated. Authors of articles can tag their publication with keywords of their choosing, even if the article is largely about something else. So Google is great at providing you with search results about a topic, assuming the articles are keyword-tagged correctly. By scanning whole documents, Omnity gets around that problem to some degree.
In addition to helping pick up some of the information we can lose with normal search, Omnity also provides us with something critical that has been lost in our headline-obsessed media culture recently: context.
Because we have been focused on ‘big data’, and acquiring lots of data from lots of data points in recent years, we now have reams of data but without the original context. For example, many scientific studies get reduced to sensational headlines without any context around them for newspaper and magazine articles. Without context, meaning is lost. Omnity however, does an admirable job of focusing on both the highlights, and the larger picture into which those highlights lie.
So is Omnity going to rival Google? I think it is safe to say no. But niche search engines are growing in popularity, and potentially necessity as voice-controlled smart bots enter the fray. It would make sense that we will see a greater need for these specialised search tools to get exactly the right information for the different voice-controlled apps that claim to help us with anything, tell us everything, and get it right.
It is certainly a ‘watch this space’ area—and in the meantime, you may want to get your business ready for the niche search engine revolution, IoT, bot-driven world we are about to find ourselves in with ultra-fast connectivity. Without high-speed internet, it won’t matter what search engine you use… it will be slow. So why not get a quote from one of the UK’s leading IT providers today?
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