There’s been a lot of activity lately in the search space, and equally so in the semantic web. Every day, we learn about a new search engine that’s trying to search X by using Y, or a new startup that has the buzzword “semantic” all over it. Today, I learned about Swotti — a new startup that combines both search and the semantic web — and is the most practical player I’ve seen in either fields recently.
A self-proclaimed “opinion analyzer,” Swotti goes with the AskJeeves-esque theme with a mascot dog waiting to give you advice. As Swotti claims on the homepage:”Hello, I’m Swotti. I read each day 3 million opinions about products. I can learn the good and bad experiences of users. Let me advice you!”
Swotti aims specifically at products and places and objects and things. For example, while it won’t recognize “how to clean up your room, type in “iPhone,” and you’ll get a page full of images, bar graphs on the varied opinions (“I love,” “I like”), categories and rating charts (“Design,” “Usability”), and a list and snippets of actual web pages where people have made a comment on the device (“I highly recommend it,” “I hate it,” or “it’s incredibly innovative.”)
Unlike Wikipedia and Mahalo, the search engine is obviously fully technologically driven and almost 100% lackfull of human input (unless of course, you count the actual analysis which is 100% human input.) As a result, what’s really amazing about Swotti is that pages/results are built and compiled on the spot, at that very moment. When I typed in queries like iPhone, socks, Taj Mahal, and The Office, it was able to automatically recognize their specific type of product/object and present relevant images and tags and opinions all without human input — something that totally amazes me.
When you look at Swotti, you realize stuff like this is undoubtedly where the web is heading. Sure, humans can do it better — and when it comes to search engines like Mahalo humans are instrumental in their core vision — but that’s not to say that computers are far off of doing an equally important job directed at a seperate purpose. Ultimately, it’ll be the combination and input of both that prospers, but for now, it’s fun to watch them heading towards a collision — and yet being far from it.
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