Here’s an interesting approach to search in the form of Semanti, a plug-in for your browser that shows you the possible meanings for your search terms and asks you to pick one. It also offers a way to leverage insights from your contacts via Facebook Connect.
The plug-in works with all industry-leading search engines (including Microsoft Bing), so users do not have to change their existing search behaviors.
Semanti seeks to improve the overall search experience through its semantic-based search methodology. Semanti Suggest(TM) helps users specify the exact meaning of their search terms via a drop-down menu. As a result, users receive results that match what they mean rather than what they say, eliminating ambiguity. Semanti also knows there are many different ways that people can say the same thing. Semanti understands that ’store’, ’shop’ and ‘retailer’ generally mean the same thing so regardless of which search term the user chooses, Semanti will ensure that the user receives the best results. Once individuals find a result they like, that person simply clicks on a button to save the page, marking it as relevant. Each approved web page becomes available to the Semanti community, enriching everyone’s search experience. This approach uses the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ to sort out the relevant pages from the inappropriate.
“Semanti is a unique blend of social search, personal search and better search powered by an easy-to-use method of specifying the exact meaning of your search terms,” said Bruce Johnson, CEO, Semanti Corp.
“Features like MyWeb personalizes searches, Facebook Connect leverages social networks for more trusted searches, and the Semanti Suggest search functionality improves overall global search results. Combining these together helps users find more relevant and meaningful results based on sites they have visited in the past and found interesting, and sites recommended by their trusted friends and the whole Semanti community.”
The idea is that you download the free Semanti plug-in and invite your friends to do the same. Using preferred search engines like Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo!, your friends click on links they find relevant to their inquiries. Then when you conduct a search based on a specific topic, your friends’ results and recommendations appear at the top of your search engine results marked as being endorsed by your Facebook friends. For example, if you search for a new restaurant, you will benefit from seeing which restaurants your Facebook friends have researched and saved.
New Semanti tools like MyWeb are intended to create a personal search engine experience. When you find a page you like, you click on a button to save it so it is easy to find again later. Unlike bookmarks or favorites, MyWeb stores the entire page’s text along with your search terms. Later, when you are searching for the page again, you can find it using your preferred search engine – Semanti will search the text on your saved pages as well as the search terms originally used to find those pages and then display matching results above the usual search engine results. Because the pages are saved by Semanti, you can access them from any computer without having to worry about whether or not your bookmarks or favorites are on located on a particular computer.
Here’s the plug-in.