University of New South Wales PhD student Ori Allon has filed a patent on a method of exploring the web, which is claimed could revolutionize existing search results.
The Orion search engine (assuming that the name is a combination of the creator’s name, and not based on the mythical Greek hunter, although strangely appropriate) is similar to conventional search engines such as Google, MSN and Yahoo in that it searches for keywords on web pages.
However, instead of just returning just a snippet (the small description of the page as used in current search engine results), it returns a section of the relevant page and also lists other topics related to that particular keyword. The user can now select the most relevant results in context of what they are searching for.
The example provided by Allon is on the keyword of “American Revolution“. Orion would return results with extracts containing the phrase, but also give results from American History, George Washington, American Revolutionary War etc and other contextually relevant events.
I would go further than this example and provide a much simpler one. If the keyword “Ford SUV” is entered, the searcher could be seeking any of the following information:
- To purchase a new Ford SUV;
- To purchase a second hand Ford SUV;
- Looking for a review on Ford SUVs;
- Looking for a workshop manual for their Ford SUV;
- Looking for parts on a Ford SUV; or
- Looking for all recall notices.
Users will be provided with the ability to choose which direction the results skewed towards, depending on the context in which the keywords are being used. Further more, advertisers will be more willing to pay more for advertising in the right context as it should logically drive up their ROI (Return On Investment).
This contextual based search process is not new. Ask Jeeves has a similar concept and more recently, Bill Gates was talking about how search needs to evolve to be thinking about the use of context.
As I see it, this the next logical evolution in providing quality search results which are 100% relevant to the user.
Orion would be firmly in the eyes of the major search engines as an acquisition target.