Web Search: On to "Sense-Making"

IBM's Dan Gruhl and Andrew Tomkins explain how Big Blue's WebFountain technology tries to answer why questions

Google is suddenly on the tip of every investor's tongue. But things easily could have turned out otherwise. Eight years ago, two Stanford University computer-science students were trying to catch up with researchers at IBM (IBM ) in the race to create a new kind of Internet search engine. Instead of merely examining words in a document to see how closely they matched a query, the technology both teams were working on would factor in the Internet's rich topology of links. A document with 50 other pages linking to it would be considered more valuable than a similar document with only two incoming links.

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