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API Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Rishi Bhargava, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict, Anders Wallgren

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Search 2.0 – its time has come

We all misplace things from time to time. Keys, your phone, your wallet. But according to Simon Bain of search specialists, Simplexo, it is not just in the real world that we are confronted with this, but in the digital world too, and if we are to learn anything from our experiences, search needs to learn and adapt - in other words it's time for Search 2.0.

"We all know the feeling. You search high and low, retrace old steps and generally rack your brains trying to apply sensible logic to the situation but often search in the most irrational of places. Did I really leave my phone in the fridge while putting the groceries away? I'm sure the last time I saw my wallet was on top of the bathroom cabinet while I was washing my hands?

"All sorts of crazy scenarios go through your head, and then, when you've almost lost all hope… SUCCESS… your wallet turns up in the one back pocket you hadn't checked. If this happens again - you recall, remember, remain calm and go to the obvious places - why? Because as humans we learn. But what happens if you substitute something tangible like your keys or wallet, for a document you saved on your computer?" continued Simon.

"Now, I'm sure we've all been there. You open up a word processor app, after searching for it on the desktop. You then search for the template to use or the toolbar to click on to, or the file open button. All second nature, but what happens when we can't find the document? It is the same human emotion as if it is a set of keys. But there is a difference - search apps on the desktop or mobile device do not remember."

"And this is the conundrum that lies at the heart of the revolution in thinking when it comes to search. I would call it Search 2.0."

"Advanced Search - which gives the participant a much more tailor-made set of results against a request - sounds great but we all know that the reality is instead of getting 6,000,000 results you might only get 2,678,988. Imagine however, if a web search only found one result to every query and that each answer was exactly what you were looking for," he added.

The drive for mobility is creating a revolution in search of that there is no doubt. However, we need to be clear this is a revolution that not only needs to simplify the search process, but do it securely.

Online search engines familiar to the average consumer typically deploy so-called Boolean search techniques, in which the key words or phrases the user is looking for must be present in the underlying commands searched for. In Boolean search, the number of results delivered will therefore correspond to the number of instances a particular phrase occurs in the underlying data - in this case the world-wide-web.

Semantic search technology, on the other hand, retrieves answers based not on specific words or phrases but on the overall relevance to the query. It seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable database, whether on the web or within a closed system, to generate more relevant results.

"As developers, we need to start to put this into practice, otherwise users will remain frustrated and searching will continue to be a huge pain-point. Map against this the need for a secure search application then we can all see the imperative of delivering a 2.0 solution!" continued Simon.

"The benefit for users is clear: accurate information at your fingertips as and when you need it either at the desktop, or as is increasingly the case, via smart devices while they are on the move in a secure and safe environment," concluded Simon.

Notes to editors

About Simplexo Ltd
Simplexo Ltd is focused on delivering a new experience in federated search, and is founded on a solid history in electronic document management and retrieval. Today, Simplexo technology is delivering value to individuals and organisations in many industry sectors, including financial services, healthcare and local government.

For further information, please contact:
Nick Bird
Spreckley Partners Ltd.
T: + 44 207 388 9988
E: [email protected]

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