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Grokker Search Engine Provides Visual Search Results 96

KeatonMill writes "The New York Times (as always, free registration) ran this article about a new search engine, called Grokker, created by a company called Groxis. Grokker builds a map of content catagories using metadata. So far, it is used in the online catalog and the Northern Light search engine. Groxis is also developing a version to use to search your own computer."
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Grokker Search Engine Provides Visual Search Results

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27, 2002 @04:39PM (#4543029)
    partner=cmdrtaco []
    • by Anonymous Coward OFT.html?ex=1036386000&en=8a81cb70167f7bb9&ei=5062 &partner=all_your_news_are_belong_to_us

      I Guess anything goes.. (partner=in_crime) and so on..
  • YASE (Score:1, Interesting)

    by DBordello ( 596751 )
    (Yet another search engine) Do we really need another one. Google rocks, nuff said.
    • Re:YASE (Score:5, Informative)

      by bildstorm ( 129924 ) <peter.buchy@shh.GINSBERGfi minus poet> on Sunday October 27, 2002 @04:44PM (#4543062) Homepage Journal

      Yes we do.

      This program, and several similar, allow you to serious organise content. Google is nice on a boolean search, but not for related content type searches.

      I'm pretty good at doing searches with Google, but having tried some of this stuff out, it's AMAZING for doing research. A lot of companies are deriving their technology from intelligence agencies.
      • Re:YASE (Score:5, Informative)

        by abiogenesis ( 124320 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @04:53PM (#4543129)
        Try Google sets [], you'll be amazed.
      • Re:YASE (Score:2, Interesting)

        by gl4ss ( 559668 )
        when looking for some content on google i find it very annoying that the linkfarm type of mostly generic and sharing most of the pages content(that has no real content anyways) is shared by other pages by the same linkfarm maker..

        my solution? i wrote a little app that makes a google search, with googleapi, (say, for mame roms) and then fetches the urls, and scores the pages by a set of rules, like "VOTE ME HERE blabla" gets certain amount of minus points, as do popups, and mame roms names make the score go higher, as do links to ftp and some other 'good' words.

        the results i then dump into a db for viewing later.. because it really takes too long to generate on the fly(fetching 300+ urls)

        very simple yeah, but works ok actually, after little tweaking(mainly getting enough sample words for to the bad list to get the crapper vote/add/farmlinks sites off.). and pretty good for searching for things that have gazillion crappy pages and few goodone's, and the good urls could be on the 12th page.

        what i would like would be a frontend for google that would remove the spammer crapper site's, especially those that _i_ think are spammercrapper.
    • Re:YASE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mr_exit ( 216086 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @04:56PM (#4543142) Homepage
      Do we really need another one. Google rocks, nuff said.

      Yes we do, competition is a good thing, having many search engines battleing for our serch clicks is what keeps them free and what keeps them getting better.....

      slashdot is a funny beast, people jeer the monopolies and people still jeer at a small upstart trying to take on the big boys.
      • slashdot is a funny beast, people jeer the monopolies and people still jeer at a small upstart trying to take on the big boys.

        Slashdot is such a monopoly, it needs competition.
      • Re:YASE (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by mcrbids ( 148650 )
        slashdot is a funny beast, people jeer the monopolies and people still jeer at a small upstart trying to take on the big boys.

        You idiot. Slashdot is not a "beast", it's a group of frequently immature people who jeer at just about everything, most especially Microsoft.

        In case you handn't noticed, we /. people were not consumed by Borg, nor did we join a hive-mind collective.

        Thus, some of us jeer at monopolies, and others jeer at upstarts trying to take on the big boys.

        So, me says you need to be jeered at, for attempting to jeer at slashdot as the single, unified entity it most definitely is not.

        HA HA!

    • Yes, Google does rock. Perhaps it will take over all engines.

      Then what?
      All of our results will be based on PageRank (tm), not something that is that great.

      Maybe this is the next Google.
    • Re:YASE (Score:3, Interesting)

      Yes, we do. Everyone complains about the monopoly that MS has, but noone seems to care about Google. If Google looses your site now, you are fscked for the time until it gets back in, due to its dominance. True, so my site ranks far better in Google than it does in other SEs, but that's only due to PageRank.

      (On an off-topic note, does anyone else have problems with any browser except IE? I've tried konq and Moz (my normal browser) but they don't work...)
  • Cool? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "Groxis is also developing a version to use to search your own computer."

    You mean they have a FreeBSD version? yah, I thought so.
  • I've used Grokker at my school's library to do equity research. It works pretty well, though it's not as specialized as specialized programs.
  • I saw some of the similar kinds of sorting of metadata with stuff from YellowBrix [] and LingoMotors [].

    I guess, given my background, I'd be interested to see how this works in the bigger arena and if they'll be doing widescale support of the PRISM and SCORM standards.

    Anybody out there get to really play with this on the back end?

  • by Artifice_Eternity ( 306661 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @04:42PM (#4543052) Homepage []

    Note: Flash required.
  • Ouch (Score:2, Insightful)

    System Req's:

    Windows 2000, XP (for non-English locale Windows 2000 or XP)
    Pentium III at 400MHZ or higher.
    128MB RAM (256MB preferred)
    100MB of free disk space without preloaded Java (with preloaded Java 20MB of free disk space).

    How do they ever expect this to truly catch on everywhere? Google is all you need, and it works great on a 386 with Lynx.

    This is just more useless attempts at eye candy programs from another dot-bomb company; move along, folks.
    • In my humble experience, I've noted that preview versions of things tend to come out one one platform, and usually the widest available.

      Although they're in California, I would have my doubts as to them using solely American programmers. I don't know how various OS support is all around the world, but I do know that when I worked with Israeli companies, they tended to focus heavily on Windows due to the strong Hebrew support on that platform, and a noticeable lack of Hebrew support elsewhere.

      Again, it could simply be because building the front-end for the widest range of users was simplest with Windows.

    • Oh, please....You're deluding yourself if you think the average user nowadays uses a 386 with Lynx.

      By comparison, my parents have a P4 2.2 Ghz machine with XP( and an 80 gig hard drive ), and even my grandma has a 500 Mhz system with decent storage and Win 98.

      If you don't like graphics, fine, but don't assume everyone else feels the same way.
  • Metadata (Score:2, Insightful)

    Searching using metadata? Are they just name-dropping terms? What metadata is it? If it's just gathered from a page then it's meta description and keywords. I mean, Northern Light doesn't search for Dublin Core metadata does it?
    • Go check out PRISM [].

      Metadata is a LOT more than just some keywords for a web page. It often is used to define categories, relationships, and digital rights for media of all sorts.

      • Yeah, I know, hence my mentioning Dublin Core. What metadata is being used in this search? That's my question. Amazon's system would have useful metadata, but I can't imagine Northern Light having anything of use.
        • Sorry for jumping down your throat.

          There are a lot of people who still only use DC as keywords in web pages. PRISM builds on the base of Dublin Core into a wider aspect.

          I don't know what metadata they're creating, but it'd be interesting to see if it meets any standards.

  • by Aanallein ( 556209 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @04:47PM (#4543088)
    Kartoo [] (previously mentioned here []) has been doing visual search results for quite a while already; I'd even say that's the most useful application of Flash that I've ever seen.
    • Kartoo [] is kinda fun to play around with but, somehow, I just can't seem to take it seriously for solid research.
      I'll stick with Google [].
    • I thought Kartoo was a cool search engine when I first saw it. Then I started to try to understand the legend to the mapping. There really isn't an obvious legend which IMO diminishes the utility of the results. Also the number of relevant hits on Kartoo seems to be consistently less than Google.

    • by jefu ( 53450 )

      Since kartoo was mentioned here I've started using it and it has rapidly moved to being an important tool.

      I don't use it to find specific answers to specific questions (google still does that better), but I do use it as a tool to find related topics that I might not have found otherwise. Sometimes it works very well indeed, sometimes not so well, but when it works its great.

      The other day I was just browsing a topic area of minor interest and discovered a tool to do something that I've wanted for a while (built my own, i did, so it will be interesting to compare results). Even though the tool was available back when I was looking for it, it was described in terms that were slightly different than the ones I was searching on so I got not direct hits and the more opened ones often resulted in way too many matches - enough to make effective narrowing tough.

      I built something a while back that did something similar - using a graph layout tool, some ad hoc similarity measurements and a few other oddities - but it was a pain and didn't use the kind of interface to the search engines kartoo uses. Lacking effective spidering and a large enough database it was usable, but not always pleasant.

      If only it were not flash! And if only there were a "open in other tab" thing so I could more easily keep search context.
    • Vivísimo (Score:2, Informative)

      by De Lemming ( 227104 )
      Besides Kartoo, the NYT article mentions Vivísimo [] as a search engine providing an alternative way of viewing results. Vivísimo displays the results in a more classical text-oriented list, but with a tree of hierarchical folders alongside it. These folders provide refinements of your search with additional keywords.

      It's definitely worth checking.
  • I'm a firm believer in Google and all, but I think that there are always new things that another search engine could provide that would make me switch. I think some of the things that made Google so big are that their pages load fast, the search results are so simple, and commercialism doesn't affect the search results themselves. If another engine can match this, I'm sure that they'll go far, even if not as far as Google has. Besides, if anything it will give Google something to worry about so that they'll work even harder at securing their position as the best. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I use search engines alot (for research) and it causes me to type the same words again an again. Right after breastfast I started reviewing my paper and cunted about 10 typos per page! Using search engines can affect your writing.
  • The difference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jukal ( 523582 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @05:02PM (#4543170) Journal
    This must be taken out of context, but...

    Mr. Decombe argues that Grokker is a more universal approach to the problem of visualizing textual information than what has been found in previous tools, which focus more on navigation than on categorization.

    "The difference is that we have no single paradigm"

    ...which is exactly why things like this have failed before IMHO. Being to complicated too run, administrate, use and understand. Or... I hope this provocates some wiser to explain why it groks?

  • by anotherone ( 132088 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @05:10PM (#4543200)
    I know that we all love Google for searching, but I'm hereby predicting that (unless trends change) it may fall from favor.

    A search engine should be impartial- if you search for something, it should give you the site that best matches what you're searching for, not the site that best matches what the owner's opinions are.

    Just recently, they removed several thousand websites from their index for unclear reasons- I first noticed this when a search for "somethingawful" failed to bring up anything on the domain, like one would speculate that it should. I'm sure we all remember a few months ago when Google removed anti-scientology websites from their index and refused to sell advertising to anti-sci sites and services. Something Awful, which I'm sure most people here are at least aware of (if not avid readers like myself) has in the past published several anti-scientologist articles.

    A quick glance of the google public support newsgroup shows that SA might not be the only site that's recently been removed. Some people are claiming that google has recently removed dozens of Christian websites. It could be a fluke, but it seems to me like perhaps Google has fallen to outside political influence. I for one will welcome new search engines, if for no other reason than to loosen google's monopoly on internet searches.

    • by rgmoore ( 133276 ) <> on Sunday October 27, 2002 @05:32PM (#4543299) Homepage

      Unfortunately, pressure from the outside is a consequence of Google's influence, and would likely wind up applying to any search engine that reaches Google's caliber. They're internationally significant, so any entity that wants to shut down opposing points of view is likely to target them. (Google may have some additional problems here because they cache the sites and make them available, making them a source of the information directly as well as indirectly.) Unfortunately, being globally significant also means that Google has to obey a lot of different laws in various jurisdictions. That means that they can be legally forced to de-list some sites- Holocaust denial sites in Germany, places selling Nazi memorabilia in France, sites that are alleged to violate copyright in the U.S., or even anything the government disapproves of in some more repressive countries. If you have a suggestion for how they can continue listing everything in spite of the legal restrictions on doing so, I'm sure that Google would be very interested in knowing about it.

      • I'm no expert on law by any means, but doesn't a website have to follow the laws in the country where its server is physically located?

        I could see where certain companies would be mad if google cached their site... perhaps they want ultimate control over what their viewers see, perhaps the site is so dynamic that a static cache wouldn't do, or maybe the content is copyrighted and the legal department actually has their heads that far up their asses. But the solution would be to remove the cache, not the listing.

        • I'm no expert on law by any means, but doesn't a website have to follow the laws in the country where its server is physically located?

          I'm no expert either, but I think you're correct. That's the reason that Sealand is becoming popular as a host, since it has no such restrictve laws and is its own governing body.

        • Well, OBVIOUSLY a website is bound by the laws of the country it is located in.. they don't get diplomatic immunity just because they are websites.

          But the power of law comes from the ability to enforce. Your serivce could be in the US, but if France decides they are going to block your site from their country unless you comply.. that's their perogative.

        • I'm no expert on law by any means, but doesn't a website have to follow the laws in the country where its server is physically located?

          Legally, the question seems to be rather murky. There are some cases where it's clear that you have to obey more than one set of laws. If you're selling products to a country other than where you're located you still have to obey their laws, the same way that you'd have to if you sold their by mail or telephone order. If you're just providing information gratis, the answer seems to be more questionable. Certainly there are a lot of countries that claim that you have to obey their laws if you want to serve web pages to people there.

          Practially, you may have to obey the laws of countries other than the one where your servers are located because they can make things very unpleasant for you if you don't. If you want to do business in country X, you have to listen to what they tell you, or they're likely to do nasty things like seize any assets you have in there or arrest your employees when they visit. That may not be a big problem for some countries- Google probably doesn't do much business with North Korea, and their employees probably don't visit there very often- but with places like the EU this is likely to be a problem.

      • What Google needs is a click-thru EULA, indemnifying them from any sort of legal action whatsoever. :)
    • I have my own website, and I monitor how people reach it. And guess what I have found -- above all other methods (excluding their own bookmarks) more people find my site from google, than by any other method.

      I put up a page describing some doodling exercises (with a very obscure link in my own website) I have been doing recently, and within 3 days it showed up on google, and has started attracting traffic.

      Google is still the best searching technology out there.
      • That's irrelevant, I'm saying that if there's only one giant search engine that powers everyone else (yahoo, aol, etc) if they remove the link from their index it might as well not exist.

        Actually, your example fits- if google chose to de-list you, how fast would hits to your site begin to drop off? Google can essintially destroy websites if they want. I'm not saying that it is happening, just that it could.

    • Check out

      "AlltheWeb indexes over 2.1 billion web pages, 118 million multimedia files, 132 million FTP files, two million MP3s, 15 million PDF files and supports 49 languages, making it one of the largest search engines available to search enthusiasts. AlltheWeb provides the freshest information because we update our index every 7 to 11 days and index up to 800 news stories per minute from 3,000 news sources."

      A search for "somethingawful" returns as hit # 1.
    • by The Cydonian ( 603441 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @07:02PM (#4543715) Homepage Journal

      Allow me to rephrase it (I mean, after all, this is /.! :-D):-

      It is now official - SearchEngineWatch has confirmed: Google is dying.

      Yet another crippling bombshell hit the beleaguered Google community when recently IDC confirmed that the Google accounts for less than a fraction of 1 percent of all search engine usage. Coming on the heels of the latest SearchEngineWatch survey which plainly states that Google has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Google is collapsing in complete disarray, as further exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive search engine usage test.

      You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict Google's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Google faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Google because Google is dying. Things are looking very bad for Google. As many of us are already aware, Google continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood. Google Groups is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core posters.

      Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

      The Google CEO Eric Schmidt states that there are 7000 users of Google. How many users of other protocols are there? Let's see. The number of Google versus other search engine hits when you search "search engine" on Google is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 other search engine users. Google posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of other protocols posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of Google. A recent article put Usenet at about 80 percent of the Internet market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 Google users. This is consistent with the number of Usenet posts about Google on Google.

      Due to the troubles of Mountain View, abysmal sales and so on, Google went out of business and was taken over by Slashdot who sell another troubled web service. Now Slashdot is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

      All major surveys show that Google has steadily declined in market share. Google is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Google is to survive at all it will be among search engine hobbyists. Google continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Google is dead.

      Fact: Google is dead.

      (Credits: This is a revisionist post-modernist /.-aimed humour inspired by an earlier Web is dying troll [], which in turn was inspired by earlier "BSD is dying" trolls. And oh, I got the post by googling slashdot for "Kreskin" [].)

    • I read about this elsewhere. somethingawful is an interesting case, but mainly the people who were complaining that their pages had suddenly dropped on Google were those who used "search engine optimization" techniques to try to get higher in the rankings. Google most likely adjusted its algorithm to not favor such techniques.

      Perhaps some sites that got lower in the rankings are entirely blameless, but if they change their algorithm, then sites have to go down for others to go up.

      Mostly, though, the people who tried to manipulate Google have gotten a wake-up call. I consider that to be Google going uphill.
  • TouchGraph (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elykyllek ( 543092 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @05:14PM (#4543219) Homepage
    Saw TouchGraph [] on thescreensavers a while ago, this article just reminded me of it. Basically its a java applet that allows you to search google and look at the relationships graphically, pretty cool.
    • [offtopic]: it uses an interesting algorithm. although it does seem to use a spring dynamic system, it seems to be critically damped. the nodes never oscillate, and seem to pull very smoothly. i have never seen graph layout algorithms with such smooth characteristics.

  • by matman ( 71405 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @05:23PM (#4543259)
    Check out - it's the future vision whitepaper for ReiserFS. I think that it would be neat for more people to rethink data indexing and metadata strategies at the operating system level. Lets think more about breaking our data into chunks and associating metadata with those chunks. For example, a consider a database stored in a file. Why shouldn't the operating system know about those chunks so that more apps can see them? Why can't I use the same or similar access control mechanisms for those chunks, etc?

    Sorry for this kind of off topic post, but the word 'metadata' triggered the memory of that paper. :)
  • I don't know about anyone else here, but searches frustrate the hell out of me. I can type in the exact title or exact author's name into Amazon's search boxes, check the "Exact spelling" box or whatever it is, and still the thing I'm looking for comes up 8th, behind things that make no sense whatsoever, if it comes up on the first page of searches at all.

    Typical example: I want to search for a specific book called Moon Madness, say. So I type it in, get 28,000 results and it's nowhere on the first page. Re-sort, right? Wrong. Amazon only allows you to sort by featured items (?!), A-Z order, Z-A order, or most popular order. And there's no way to skip ahead to halfway through the list on alphabetical order. So you're stuck clicking "next" thousands of times. I've just switched to BN which manages searches MUCH better. If Moon Madness is unpopular or non-featured, which is fairly easy to be, dust off that auto-clicker.

    So if this is what Grokker has in store for us, leave me out. If it's just Amazon which limits the search engine's functionality, then Grokker definitely shouldn't be using Amazon as a reference.
  • Predictions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thasmudyan ( 460603 ) <<moc.ufnepo> <ta> <naydumsaht>> on Sunday October 27, 2002 @05:30PM (#4543296)
    I'm sure a lot of us know that this WILL NOT catch on. Maybe its all that bad dot-bomb experience that induces negative thinking - but what the hell is this thing going to give me that a text-based system won't? I used it and found it very tiring to use. Turns out that nicey grafx is not always the best choice to present information fast and precise.

    There are of course other reasons for that:

    - NO WAY that many users will install this monster on their machines (if it doesn't come with Windows or a Linux distro most people won't bother even if they got broadband).

    - Often you just want to do a simple keyword search, that's how the brain works most of the time, so the graphical relationship explorer thingy is not needed in most instances - and yet on occasions when it is needed it takes far to much (human) processing power to work with in a quick manner.

    Besides i found the tool to be somewhat of a context/paradigm breach that isn't well suited for ease of use nor "professional" search work.
    • Re:Predictions (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NeMon'ess ( 160583 )
      On my computer, it would be cool if I could see search results in three dimentions. When I search for 'Lover' wanting a particular song, I don't care about my porn containing that word. So once the results come up I sort by folder. What would make this faster is if I could sort by folder in one dimention, and file size in another.

      For web searches, it would be cool if I could search for 'Katie Holmes' and get my results grouped, possibly in 3D, keeping the porno sites separate from the sites offering information. Sure I could enter more keywords, but that isn't always possible.

      The perfect example is when I hear a line or two from a song, but the lines are so general, that even using quotation marks still returns unrelated links. I'd like results grouped into categories so I can look at the 'lyrics' or 'song' listings.
  • Yaaaawnnnn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @05:50PM (#4543376) Homepage

    People have been presenting graphic search engines since 1995 (look up the WWW conference, for example). To this date, none of them have succeeded.

    For all graph visualizers out there: no one cares that you can draw a nifty little graph with arrows as links (duh!). The question is: is the information associated with those links best grasped visually?

    The page ranking algorithm from Google uses link information to compute the ranking of the result set. It is unclear how a collection of lines in a blank page will enhance the fact that the top reference is, ahem, the top reference...

  • by MFInc2001 ( 516824 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @06:00PM (#4543435) Homepage
    I find it amusing that so often, technologically-inclined folks have this sort of "religious" appreciation for Google, as if it is the only search engine technology worthy of regular use or mass consumption. Nothing could be further from the truth. While I will admit that Google is my first (but not only) search engine of choice (and only for certain types of searches), I would like to state my general feelings on the current state of search engine technologies which, I would like to characterize as "brilliant yet balkanized".

    Before I do that, and in all fairness to Google, I would like to say that Google's PageRank technology is, for the most part, decent, although certainly not universally-superior.

    Google however, has a lot of room for improvement. Some suggestions?

    (1) Search Result(s) Clustering

    Take a look at They are a company widely recognized for having the most intelligent results-clustering technology.

    I find it bizarre that Google often reports to me that there are hundreds of thousands -- sometimes millions -- of results...and yet, gives me the "option" of browsing those results in a top-down linear fashion.

    I feel that this is unreasonable. If Google were to CLUSTER results (especially in cases where there are >5000 results), I feel the end user would be much better served.

    Google could certainly license's clustering technology...or implement their own proprietary form. Either way, I am amazed that Google's results are still not clustered -- even if that clustering was a checkbox option to do so.

    It's just not sensible to often report thousands and sometimes millions of results, and then give the user an oversimplified top-down (linear) interface to browse through those results.

    (2) "Visual" Search technologies.

    I've been a regular user of for some time now. I find it to be the most well-implemented keyword-connectedness research tool I've ever encountered. SEO-enthusiasts are blessed to have (for now) free access to It is also a spectacular implementation of Flash for a purpose other than just "looking slick" and being flashy.

    Kartoo allows a person to easily (and very neatly) diagram the keyword commonalities that connect and relate documents on the web.

    Unfortunately, the Kartoo interface seems to apply to a limited database. Kartoo functionality on top of Google's database would be ideal, in my opinion.

    What am I suggesting? Personally, I would love to see Google buy out or license the Kartoo technology and let users apply it to the Google database. Kartoo really is a very intelligent and useful keyword relevancy diagram tool.

    (3) Recursive searching of previous-generation results.

    For the longest time, I never knew Google had this ability. Why? Well... after your initial Google search, you only see the "Search within results" link at the BOTTOM of the results list. I feel this option should be available at both the top and bottom of the results list.

    (4) Memetic Histography

    Take a quick look at While far from "perfect", they seem to be doing the best job thus far at keyword frequency tracking. While perhaps "novelty", I think there is real demographics-research value in the following sort of functionality:

    Allowing registered users to track relative frequencies of keyword/keyphrase data sets. By this, I mean that a person could, for example, keep an ongoing (daily/weekly/monthly/etc) table of the number of instances of certain search tokens. For example, "john lennon" vs "paul mccartney"...or "microsoft" vs "macintosh"...etc. I think anyone who qualifies as an information age demographer has a use for tracking (over time) relative frequencies of keywords and keyphrases. There is also some entertainment value in seeing how many instances of "good" there are relative to "evil", etc.

    (5) ISO search engine syntax standards. I think it would be nice if there was an ISO standard for search engine syntax. I personally prefer Boolean searches to non-Boolean searches (especially when clustering of results is not available). I think that all search engines should accept an ISO syntax standard for searching that, at the very least, allows for advanced Boolean queries, and also, string-proximity-specifying (that is, results for "A" within X number of characters/words from "B", etc) capabilities. Wildcard-capable advanced Boolean and string-proximity-specifying are very useful functions, and would be nice to see ISOfied on all major search engines.

    It troubles me that the +" " and -" " syntax doesn't work on all my favourite search engines.

    (6) DNS search capabilities.

    Take a look at (now and see what it can do for you. I have yet to find a better resource for searching the actual DNS itself.

    Some may frown on the searching of the DNS itself but, the truth is, to a respectable degree, the DNS itself has evolved into being a useful directory of sorts. Name Intelligence (the people behind make their technology available as an API, and Google would be wise to add DNS search capabilities to their WWW search capabilities.

    Just my $0.02

    Michael Fischer []
    • I've got to agree with you that Google has some room to grow, but our religious reverence comes from the fact that Google simply kills its competition. Before Google, I was a huge fan of Altavista. I could write some complex searches, and generally tease good results out of them. However, even as a programmer, I too often felt the bite of an insufficient query, or an insufficient database -- you never know. Now imagine the frustration of those not as technically adept as us.

      Since I've started using Google, I've _never_ failed at a search and had another "generic" engine succeed. This obviously doesn't include results that sit behind specialized search engines like whois information.

      Regarding some of your frustrations, you might be glad to know that Google does indeed support them. Recursive searching? Just add your words to the end of your original query. Memetic histography? Check out the Google Zeitgeist []. ISO Syntax? Google's strength is that you don't have to program your searches. A simple query, combined with their ranking algorithms really sets you free.

      Don't mistake this for blind adoration. As a search engine, nothing even approaches Google. As I've enjoyed their recent innovations (news [] and others [],) I continue to look forward to more.

    • I did the research: Start with Salton's or Ellen Voorhees work and go forward.

      Bottom line: boolean matching works "unreasonably well", clustering is more expensive for only marginally better results. Page ranks (big-ass SVDs) are done periodically, cost is cheap amortized over boolean queries. With clustering, you gotta do more work for every query.

      For a small document collection (single pc), and no measurable queries (i.e., single, infrequent user), this might be nice. Then again, if it is a small enough collection to be viable, its probably overkill.

      Some of these other techniques look interesting though. Might have to fire up google and investigate.

      For groxis though, it doesn't really matter anyway. This entire space is covered by multiple overlapping patents. So even if they win, they lose...

    • It troubles me that the +" " and -" " syntax doesn't work on all my favourite search engines.

      It bothers me that the + syntax had to be invented in the first place. It arose from AltaVista, which would imply "OR" between words instead of "AND" by default, which practically nobody wanted. So users got in the habit of putting + before absolutely everything.
      Google did a smart thing by getting rid of +, even though it conflicted with what people had grown to expect.

      And then there's:
      (2) "Visual" Search technologies.
      (4) Memetic Histography

      Google has always excelled on not wasting space and bandwidth with useless crap. This is an extension of that. I have never encountered a "visual" search engine which was actually pleasant to use. It's like a 3D desktop - it sounds like it should be better, but it just gets in the way of what you want to see.

  • I guess it'll only be a matter of seconds before the notorious "Search/*couch*Spam*couch*-King" or his minions will find a way to abuse this device aswell..

  • by N8F8 ( 4562 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @06:42PM (#4543622)
    In the 1961 book Stranger in a Strange Land []. Quite an achievment to add a word to the English language. It means [] "To understand profoundly through intuition or empathy. to comprehend.
  • Similar to Pad (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Looks like a neat tool for navigating data. To those who say Google is enough: do you use Google to navigate your hard drive? Do you ever follow links on a web page or do you always Google to the linked page? Even Google has multiple types of searches.

    Those screenshots look a lot like the Pad [] demos on the web page of Ken Perlin [] (my former advisor). Compare, for example, the Grokker web browser [] with the Pad site tour [] (which has been online since 1998).

  • Grok (Score:2, Informative)

    by paulcammish ( 542971 )
    From the good ole Jargon File []...

    grok /grok/, var. /grohk/ vt.

    [common; from the novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Robert A. Heinlein, where it is a Martian word meaning literally `to drink' and metaphorically `to be one with']

    The emphatic form is `grok in fullness'.

    1. To understand. Connotes intimate and exhaustive knowledge. When you claim to `grok' some knowledge or technique, you are asserting that you have not merely learned it in a detached instrumental way but that it has become part of you, part of your identity. For example, to say that you "know" LISP [] is simply to assert that you can code in it if necessary - but to say you "grok" LISP is to claim that you have deeply entered the world-view and spirit of the language, with the implication that it has transformed your view of programming. Contrast zen [] , which is similar supernal understanding experienced as a single brief flash. See also glark [] .

    2. Used of programs, may connote merely sufficient understanding. "Almost all C compilers grok the void type these days."


    What can ya say? Im a Karma whore...

  • in the treacherous seas of search is going to be this companies biggest hurdle. Assuming they don't founder in the sinking economy (unless they get bailed out), they had better run a tight ship. Because even if they win, they will likely lose, when the patent holders come to collect license fees.

    Internet search space is seriously covered up with multiple overlapping patents on a few relatively simple notions about how to find stuff. It's a lawyers game now, not a technology game.

  • Did anyone else notice the ad.doubleclick link which puts you through to the NY times article? Its been changed now to a direct link, but I wonder how much the original poster made with that trick. tsk tsk.

    In the beginning there was data. The data was without form and null, and
    darkness was upon the face of the console; and the Spirit of IBM was moving
    over the face of the market. And DEC said, "Let there be registers;" and
    there were registers. And DEC saw that they carried; and DEC separated the
    data from the instructions. DEC called the data Stack, and the instructions
    they called Code. And there was evening and there was morning, one interrupt ...
    -- Rico Tudor

    - this post brought to you by the Automated Last Post Generator...

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?