Ask.com and Semantic Search

July 8, 2009

Semantic search aims to serve search results based on word and sentence meaning. The technology tries to understand natural language in order to respond with the best query results. Ask.com has led the way in semantic search technology with DADS (Direct Answers from Databases), DAFS (Direct Answers from Search), and AnswerFarm. Ask.com and semantic search are the focus of today’s episode. Bruce, Susan and Virginia discuss Ask’s clear commitment to the advancement of search, and what the engine could do to better support the SEO and webmaster communities.

Virginia then talks to Tomasz Imielinski, executive vice president of Global Search and Answers at Ask.com. Tomasz explains the effort he’s leading at Ask to continually develop their proprietary semantic technology. Some search categories, like TV listings and sports, are greatly enhanced by Ask’s ability to extract information from structured data such as databases and XML feeds. They also discuss Ask’s growing Q&A database, which is powered by semantic technology, as well as Ask’s goals for advancement and innovation. Ask.com logo


At Yahoo, they’re approaching semantic search from a slightly different direction. Susan, Virginia and Michael look at the Common Tag, which Yahoo is helping to develop and will support. Michael argues that structured mark up will not be the future of semantic search, advocating latent semantic analysis instead. Susan is concerned that Web site developers won’t take an action that will currently only help their site in one search engine.

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