Thursday, March 09, 2006

My First Search Engine  

SO as some of you know I just moved to California to start work with some search engine company that starts with a G. They're fun but kind of skulky so I won't tell you what I'm doing other than to admit, well, no, this isn't really My First Search Engine.

My first job working for a search engine company was as a consultant for the ELITE project, an innovative federated search engine design out of Emory University that was far ahead of its time. The ELITE vision - to enable all sites to both contribute to and benefit from search by making them both publishers and clients in a hierarchical chain of search engines - has still not been realized, resulting in massive inefficiencies and redundancies throughout the web as search engines process and regurgitate what web sites ought to be telling us directly.

The next was as one of the founders of Enkia, an applied artificial intelligence research company that turned its eyes to the web with a search product, Enkion, based (in part) on my thesis research and commercialized by the hard work of a team of sharp guys from Georgia Tech and elsewhere. The Enkion found information relevant to your immediate context, using feedback from what you were doing. We did well, even landing one big contracts before the Internet was pulled out from beneath us. Oh well.

SO I spent some time in industry ... first in police software, then in public health. All that was well and good, but I wanted to get back to research. Back to information retrieval. Back to artificial intelligence. Which led inevitably forward, to some search engine company that starts with a G. Will we be able to make a difference this time? Will we be able to make an advance that will stick?

Hey. Third time's the charm.
-the Centaur



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