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`Guruji' for `desi' content in the Web

Anand Parthasarathy

Brainchild of two IIT-Delhi graduates

BANGALORE: Forty computer servers, most of them based in the United States. Over three million separate pages of information — all of it with a distinctively `desi' flavour — that is the computational muscle that backs up "Guruji" (www.guruji.com ), a new Internet search engine that promises to go crawling all over the Web, looking for India-specific content.

The brainchild of Anurag Dod and Gaurav Mishra, two graduates from the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, who went on to do their MSc courses in the U.S., Guruji addresses a common problem faced by those looking for web resources dealing with Indian subjects: having to wade through thousands of irrelevant listings.

The starkly simple web page gives two options: to search across India or within a single city. The latter makes sense when looking for local information and it has been strengthened in the days since the service went online by a tie-up with Infomedia, an Indian media company that publishes a number of city-specific Yellow Pages.

A quick check on Guruji's search engine showed that when the key word is highly India-specific, the results are not much different from what one would get with Google or Yahoo.

A search on "Athachamayam," the Onam-time festival in Tripunithura, Kerala, had Guruji giving 537 results to Google's 743. "Sania Mirza" had 5.23 lakh results in Guruji to around 7 lakhs in Google. But Guruji's edge for Indian users lies in its ability to understand a contemporary reference to a `desi' topic without throwing up large numbers of results that might pertain to an entirely different matter.

Thus, for Guruji, the "Broadcast Services Regulation Bill" means the draft Bill now thrown open for public discussion before Parliament takes it up, while the global search engines throw up links to websites discussing similar bill in other nations.

Possibly for this reason, the creators of Guruji are seeking some guru dakshina from its users — in the form of Indian links to upload and enrich its database.

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