Australian researchers have patented a method of exploring the web which they claim could revolutionise existing search engines.
Developed by Ori Allon, a 26 year-old PhD student from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the Orion search engine is designed to complement searches conducted on services such as Google, Yahoo or MSN Search.
Allon explained that conventional search engines find pages in which keywords occur and that sometimes these pages are important to the topic, but at other times are not.
Orion is designed to find pages where the content is about a topic strongly related to the keyword. It then returns a section of the page, and lists other topics related to the keyword so that the user can pick the most relevant.
"The results to the query are displayed immediately in the form of expanded text extracts giving you the relevant information without having to go the website, although you still have that option if you wish," said Allon.
"By displaying results to other associated keywords directly related to your search topic, you gain additional pertinent information that you might not have originally conceived, thus offering an expert search without having an expert's knowledge."
Allon cited a search on the topic of the American Revolution as an example of how the system works.
Orion is designed to bring up results with extracts containing this phrase, but it would also give results for American History, George Washington, American Revolutionary War, Declaration of Independence, Boston Tea Party and more.
Andrew Stead, of New South Innovations, the technology transfer company within UNSW, is confident that Orion will fill a gap in the market highlighted by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.
"Gates was recently quoted in Forbes magazine as saying that we need to take search way beyond how people think of it today. We believe that Orion will do that," he said.
Allon claimed that some big companies have already shown interest in implementing Orion for commercial use.
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