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Indians create web tool to `search less, find more'

Anand Parthasarathy

It is powering leading comparison shopping and medical information services in the U.S.

BANGALORE: A two-year-old start up company, co-founded by two Indians, created waves on Wednesday at the "Demo 06" conference in Phoenix, Arizona (United States), with an innovative Net search engine.

"Kosmix" is a new type of Internet search tool which goes beyond listing millions of results for a key word, to present a much smaller, but more relevant result, classified into categories that will be more meaningful to the searcher. For example, a search on the term "psoriasis," a common skin disease, turns up some 39,000 results classified into Basic Information: treatment, causes, symptoms, definition; Expert Information: guidelines, journals, clinical trials; Alternative medicine, fitness, diet; Medical Organisations; Men's health; Women's health; babies and kids as well as links to message boards and blogs.

The general-purpose search leaders such as Google and Yahoo have more results for the same term — approximately 6 million and 14 million — but wading through them might be a problem unless the basic search term is refined and narrowed.

"Kosmix has the chance to significantly change the search experience, by helping consumers better handle the massive amounts of information on the Web," says Chris Shipley, executive producer of the Demo conference, an annual launchpad for emerging technologies.

Kosmix was co-founded in 2004 by Anand Rajaram, an IIT-Madras graduate, who is now Consulting Assistant Professor at Stanford University's Computer Science Department. He and his partner Venky Harinarayan, a PhD from Stanford, sold their database technology company "Junglee" to Amazon, world's number one book shop, in1998 and moving over to guide their acquirer for a few years before branching out on their own again. They have since been joined by Srinivasan Seshadri, another IIT-Madras alumnus, who moved from the Indian end of Yahoo, to become Chief Technology Officer at Kosmix.

Mr. Harinarayan says that their patent-pending algorithms "deliver information that is not only more relevant, but richer and more accessible."

The Kosmix site indexes over three billion web pages, but is currently restricted to three subject areas: health, travel and U.S. politics.

The search engine, still in beta or testing stage, can be tried out at www.kosmix.com

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