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PRESS RELEASE: Search Engine/Encyclopedia Hybrid Launched


Wednesday Mar 9, 2005, 3:00PM, Eastern Standard Time (US)

What do you get if you cross a search engine with an encyclopedia? The answer arrived on the net today - Factbites (www.Factbites.com), a new approach to search. Under the slogan "where results make sense", Factbites provides searchers with full sentences about their search topic, rather than the sentence fragments most search engines offer.

Rather than focusing on link-based technology like Google, Factbites delves into the tone and subject matter of the given topic. The engine "reads" the content of each page and determines how meaningful the text is. It seeks out authoritative and informative content, preferring encyclopedia-style fact-based descriptions to the chatty, spammy and inconsequential.

The end result is a clean summary you can almost read from beginning to end. Not only is this an effective filter against spam and clutter, it's also a time saver, because it gives users a clear picture of what each destination site is about.

For encyclopedia-style content, the site makes some large claims. The website challenges users to compare Factbites results to Google results. When searching for quick information on the sort of things you'd usually go to an encyclopedia for, the results are surprisingly clear - Factbites wins hands down. The site's developer, Luke Metcalfe, explains his motivation. "Having been in and around the search business for 5 years, it's become clear to me that people mostly aren't after websites - they're after information. I wanted to build a site that serves the facts straight up".

To refine searches, Factbites automatically suggests a number of relevant topic areas. Users can choose to filter their searches accordingly. This saves users from having to come up with extra keywords. "Far too many good results are lost when people start trying to add words to their search", says Metcalfe.

In this beta release, 800,000 topics are covered. "We devote a lot more processing power to every search. Factbites is never going to be the place to locate your lost aunt, or order items from your corner store", says Metcalfe. "But for meaningful content about real topics, there's nothing out there like us".

About Rapid Intelligence

Rapid Intelligence is a web technology company based in Sydney, Australia. Other credits include NationMaster.com, a popular online database and visualisation tool for comparing countries. NationMaster has been featured in The New York Times, CNN and BBC and recommended by the Harvard Business School and the American Library Association.

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