ASK has today outlined its lastest new technology on its search engine - Tomasz Imielinski, EVP of Global Search and Answers outlined on the official blog what Semantic Search is and how it will work.
"For millions of everyday queries, there is one, simple, direct answer the user is seeking, but the current generation of search relegates consumers to sifting through links and then searching through the Websites themselves to find the answer. Many times users have to repetitively rephrase the query before they finally get the answer they want. That’s because today's search engines are still very sensitive to the way queries are constructed, returning different answers for variations of the same query.
In October last year we introduced our proprietary DADS(SM) (Direct Answers from Databases), DAFS(SM) (Direct Answers from Search), and AnswerFarm(SM) technologies, which are breaking new ground in the areas of semantic, web text, and answer farm search technologies. Specifically, the increasing availability of structured data in the form of databases and XML feeds has fueled advances in our proprietary DADS technology. With DADS, we no longer rely on text-matching simple keywords, but rather we parse users’ queries and then we form database queries which return answers from the structured data in real time. Front and center. Our aspiration is to instantly deliver the correct answer no matter how you phrased your query.
Many of the categories consumers care about most are rich with structured data – meaning almost anything you’d want to know about that category exists in a database or XML feed somewhere. Extracting it for practical use is another matter.
TV Listings, which we blogged about in August, is a good example of how Ask.com is making exciting advances in semantic search – we’re giving consumers direct answers from structured data which was previously unavailable through any form of online search. Try searching Ask.com for “Football on TV this weekend” or “Movies on TV now.” No other search engine has been able to capture time-based data in this way, and we think it’s quite useful – much easier and more pleasing than scanning your TV’s onscreen guide.
But America’s favorite pastime is sports, which are rich with real-time statistics, scores, records and trivia stored in the form of database tables. Users’ passion for access to athlete, team and performance data is still largely unmet by search engines due to the challenges of converting human queries to database queries against structured data.
We’re currently trialing our DADS, DAFS, and AnswerFarm technologies with NASCAR-related information, which we chose because the sport generates massive amounts of structured data. And queries about NASCAR continue to grow rapidly – it was one of the most-searched sports on Ask.com in 2008. Our goal is to give consumers answers instantly on the first results page to queries such as “who is the driver of car #60 in NASCAR?”
More importantly, we’re setting out to answer these types of queries regardless of how they’re phrased… something no search engine today can do. Stay tuned for more semantic search technology advances from Ask.com."