Written by Tatsiana Levdikova – a website design and development expert at EffectiveSoft
Exploring reasons and consequences
The Internet is no longer a source of valuable and reliable information for all its users.The history of websites started in 1991 when the first website was launched. Since then the number of web pages has increased dramatically, with not only organizations having their own webpages, but also individuals. Internet has become an important business tool, and the number of websites continues to grow as companies and private entrepreneurs are willing to establish themselves in the Internet.
The studies show that there were at least 4.66 billion Web pages online as of mid-March 2016. But can we be sure that information available on the Internet is reliable? Hardly ever.
To separate the wheat from the chaff people have to spend much time searching for trustworthy information and filtering their results. So how can a business find information using a web search without experiencing negative impact associated with irrelevant information found among search results?
How to search information on the Internet?
A web search has become an inherent part of many business processes. Can you imagine the modern business society that would not make use of web search technologies? Certainly, you cannot imagine that. Society is now becoming increasingly dependent on the Internet as well as mechanisms used for searching information on it.
However, there is a direct correlation between web search technology and the amount of junk information contained in search results, with unreliable information being now found even on the first page. Besides, many search-related ads are displayed since search engines earn money any time a user clicks on one of the apps.
The amount of information available on the Internet is now growing exponentially, and this process is unlikely to stop in the near future. This trend has direct impact on the quality of information: the more information on a specific topic is available on the Internet, the poorer quality search results search engines show. It is no surprise that now you have to open two or even three pages with search results before you find the information you need.
Search expenses of a business
Living in the world where money is perceived to be one of the core values, we understand that we cannot spend too much time searching for information we need. An extra minute spent can result into financial losses for business people. If HR Managers spend an extra 30 minutes each day to find information on potential employees, you can be 100% sure that their operational efficiency will decline.
However, time losses are not the only risk a business faces. Reliability of information is another important issue we must keep in mind.
Search engines we use today can hardly recognize what is true and false, and all that remains for users is to hope that information displayed on a website by its owner is reliable. It is rather doubtful, isn’t it?
There are also a large number of issues that cannot be solved by conventional search engines we use every day. That is why searching for some specific information you cannot be sure that you will find something you need.
So you can see that problems related to the web search are becoming increasingly acute, and more and more companies and individuals start addressing them.
What steps have been taken to make search more reliable?
There have been a number of innovative projects aimed at solving search-related problems.
Yahoo! Mindset represents the very first project that is worth mentioning. This project was launched more than ten years ago by the search engine giant Yahoo. Its demo received high appraisal from users who had a chance to try it.
This tool was powerful enough to enable people to make a choice on which results they wanted to see (commercial or informative ones), by filtering them. This search solution was implemented with the help of machine learning technology. Unfortunately this project did not go any further.
There have also been a number of less impressive solutions enabling users to filter and optimize search engine results pages (SERPs).
Unfortunately, search engine giants like Yahoo, Google and Bing have promoted the idea of extensive use of such instruments.
It’s time for linguistic platforms
Nowadays IT vendors of linguistic platforms suggest their customers to develop ad-ins where specific search approaches can be made live.
We could not stay on the sidelines, as well. Having many years of experience in developing custom business applications, we decided to launch our own project aimed at implementing language-related search solutions.
Let’s have a look at some of such solutions that we made live in the linguistic platform called Intellexer.
Search results clustering. This is one of the simplest and the most spectacular technologies used for SERPs filtering. It is based on the analysis of topics of documents being found and grouping them together into topically coherent clusters. For illustration purposes, a concept related to a specific topic is put in the title of a cluster. It means that users can see a hierarchical tree of concepts and they can eliminate or choose concepts to filter SERPs in order to finally get search results they need.
A peculiarity of this clustering technology is its ability to form clusters by analyzing sourced documents or search snippets, thus reducing time the analysis takes. Clustering enjoys high popularity among researchers, business analytics, marketing experts, and other specialists since this technology enables to filter large volumes of data in the most efficient manner and find the required information within a very short period of time, thus saving time and money of the above mentioned specialists, improving their productivity and assisting in growth of a business.
Something we particularly like about this technology is that it can be easily integrated into custom Document or Knowledge management systems with the help of programming languages C/C++ and C#.
Sentiment analysis (also called opinion mining). This technology is worth talking about due to a number of reasons: firstly, it enables its users to divide data streams into streams containing positive or negative sentiments. The technology can be applied in the analysis of feedbacks that manufacturers, politicians and business owners receive. Besides, the sentiment analysis is indispensable when it is needed to extract structured data from unstructured text information.
That is why this technology represents one of the most efficient business analytic tools. It should be noted that the sentiment analysis the Intellexer uses applies two techniques used to execute such an analysis: a lexicon-based techniques and a machine learning-based technique. The lexicon-based technique makes it possible to define semantic orientation of in a given text by obtaining word polarities from a lexicon. In the meantime, the learning approach makes use of machine learning techniques in order to establish a model from a large collection of documents.
Named entity recognition. Named entity recognition is one of technologies that have been used in the custom business search for many years. IT security departments, HRM departments and sales departments are some of major users of such instruments since they help them to get information they need. This technology typically enables users to find information on people, organizations and geographical locations. However, the Intellexer Named Entity Recognizer can also extract other entities, such as occupations/positions, dates, nationalities, ages, names of events and durations. It means that this technology gives its users a valuable tool they can use to filter search results (e.g. in order to find information on a particular person) or collect information on an object of their study.
Categorization. This technology can automatically classify different documents on the basis of content and organize them within categories (like finance, human resources, customer feedback, etc.) so that to fit a structure and processes of a specific company in the best possible manner. The technology can be applied in enterprise content or knowledge management, automated helpdesk systems, evaluation of new business trends, and more.
Question-Answering System. We also developed a question-answering system to make search for the right answers easier. The volume of information available in the electronic form is constantly growing, and this soliton can give a helping hand in handling queries of users and giving pertinent answers instead of giving best-matching passages or even full documents.
Such an approach significantly improves the search efficiency. For instance, consumers looking for specific product features or prices will get the information they need immediately, and there will be no need in opening different links to find it.
With a volume of information available on the Internet constantly increasing and businesses being highly dependent on it, we believe that linguistic tools can be used to solve search-related issues. Customized or one-box search solutions can be developed to satisfy needs of a specific business.
About the Author
Tatsiana Levdikova is a website design and development expert at EffectiveSoft, a custom software development company which unites more than 250 experts having extensive experience in different business domains. You can reach the author at firstname.lastname@example.org