So the world buzzed today with news that Google hired the fellow behind a search technology called Orion. (That’s the guy, an Israeli-Aussie transplant PhD student named Ori Allon, to the left, as shown in the Sydney Morning Herald. Looks like he’s well on his way to …. er….. an Industry Standard rooftop!)
Besides buttressing the ongoing industry mythology that “if you write a neat algorithm you’ll be rich and famous,” which, after all, is true at least one time out of googol, the move has spurred many to speculate that Google is hedging its bets against Ask-like features, such as Zoom (click on the binoculars), just in case they take off.
From the piece:
Orion finds pages where the content is about a topic strongly related to the key word. It then returns a section of the page, and lists other topics related to the key word so the user can pick the most relevant.
The results of the query are displayed immediately in the form of expanded text extracts, giving the searcher the relevant information without having to go to the website – although there is still that option.
Also of note:
Mr Stead (an Aussie university official) confirmed that the university had held talks with the big three internet search operations: Google, Yahoo! and MSN.
So, was this a bidding war that Google won? Or was it that this technology was most valuable to Google? Or both? I wonder….some at Slashdot, of course, think it was a head fake by Microsoft. I doubt it. Google probably saw a very bright search mind, and decided the needed to hire him… the algo, though that might prove valuable as well…was perhaps secondary.
Update: Of course, I screwed up. The binoculars are NOT Zoom. Zoom is a narrowing and related search technology.