In an effort to increase the relevancy of its search results, Google has purchased a new search algorithm created by a university student. Called Orion, the algorithm discovers relevant text by rating the content quality of the site on which the text appears.
Created by Ori Allon, an Israeli student at the University of New South Wales in Australia, Orion was designed to make searches less time consuming by focusing on relevance in text searches.
The idea is that if users can find more pertinent information quickly, they can reduce the time they need to spend slogging through multiple Web pages that might be irrelevant to their searches.
Because it works with existing search engines, Orion can expand their functionality and give them more flexibility without having to sacrifice what is already in place.
Instead of finding Web sites that contain the keywords used in a search, and providing links based on those words, the new algorithm can provide snippets of text along with the search results. In theory, this strategy will reduce the need to go to every Web page that looks as if it might be suitable for a user's purpose.
Also of potential value is the algorithm's ability to provide a list of topics related to the search, which would speed search time even more by reducing the need for lookups on a variety of terms.
"By displaying results to other associated keywords directly related to your search topic, you gain additional pertinent information that you might not have originally conceived, thus offering an expert search without having an expert's knowledge," Allon said in a statement.
Constellation of Offers
Orion has drawn attention from several search giants, with Microsoft and Yahoo, as well as Google, expressing interest in the technology. In addition to acquiring Allon's algorithm, Google also hired the 26-year-old student.
In general, while search firms continually tweak their offerings to help make their search results more relevant to their customers, they are constantly on the lookout for better tools, experts say.
"There is a welter of information today, and it's only increasing," said IDC analyst Sue Feldman. "Search firms recognize that knowledge workers and even consumers need better ways to sort through information. That's what's driving innovation, and we'll continue to see better and better search capability because of it."