Janie Wilkins (wilkins@princeton.lib.nj.us)
Wed, 01 Sep 1999 19:15:07 -0400

LexiQuest is claiming to have developed a natural language search engine
that understands the nuances of the english language and can thus
increase the relevancy of search requests


Only problem is that they are not following the standard marketing model
for search engines and they do not have a freely accessible public site
where you can test out their product. I went to the GE.com corporate
site as it's search engine is powered by LexiQuest, but I could not come
up with any relevant natural language queries to see if their technology
really does improve things over using good old boolean logic. I, for
one, would like to see LexiQuest put up a free commercial search engine
so that I can compare it to Altavista, Google, AskJeeves etc.

Snippets an article about LexiQuest from http://www.atnewyork.com
written by Pamela Parker:

>So, you've spent ages on Yahoo, AltaVista, or HotBot, looking for some
>pointers to a critical piece of information. You type in some key words
and get
>48,545,759 Web page results. It's a problem that's become more profound
>the Web has grown and as companies offer more and more pages of
>information about their products. How else can you explain the hype
>surrounded the public market debut of AskJeeves.com back in May, other
>to deduce that current search technology just isn't getting Web users
to the
>information they need? So companies, consumers, and investors are
leaping to
>embrace any alternative, especially one that relieves them of the
burden of
>learning Boolean logic. Now a new-to-the-Alley firm with its roots in
>language-rich Europe, LexiQuest, is seeking to address this need, and
>hopefully make some money in the process.

>Rather than following Ask Jeeves' model of putting up a consumer
>LexiQuest is, for the most part, finding behind-the-scenes uses for its

>technology. It charges a one-time fee for the software, and also
provides regular
>maintenance and updates to subscribers. So far, the company has worked
>customers like HotBot, GE, Fulcrum, Verity, France Telecom, and the
>patent office and foreign trade center.

>For some clients, like Fulcrum and Verity, LexiQuest has provided
>that's built into the knowledge management products they offer their
>customers. The HotBot search engine, a division of the Lycos-owned
>Digital, uses LexiQuest technology to group linguistically-related
words that it
>sells to its advertisers as a category. The newest arena LexiQuest
hopes to
>tackle is exemplified by its work for GE. The company, in partnership
>fine.com International, has put together a search capability for GE's
>Website at http://www.ge.com. "We want to be the friendly assistant
that can
>help you," said Henry.

Has anyone on this list used/previewed LexiQuest? Anyone have good
ideas on natural language queries to submit to the GE site to test its
capabilities? The problem, as I see it, is that without a very large
database of documents on every conceivable topic, how can one really
test this technology and compare it to current search services.