Vivisimo Marries Search, Social Networking

The enterprise search provider dips its ladle in the social-networking well, joining Endeca, Yahoo and others.

Looking to offer a more collaborative experience for its customers, Vivisimo on Oct. 8 said it will soon add social tagging, bookmarking and networking capabilities to its enterprise search platform.

Vivisimos Velocity 6.0 enterprise search platform is designed to help users mine the collective insight of their colleagues to get better search results.

For example, a new social tagging feature lets user rate, vote or add tags or comments to search results or documents, said Vivisimo Chief Scientist Jerome Pesenti.

Users may rate a search result on a numerical scale and comment on whether they found the result useful or not, tagging documents with keywords. Results that are voted on more will have their relevance raised, and users may see what has been voted on in as recently as the last 5 minutes.

Moreover, users may annotate existing results with their own thoughts and commentary. So, instead of sending an e-mail with a file attachment to colleagues with commentary about a document, users can have a dialogue about content right within the search interface.


Click here to read more about Vivisimo raising the search bar.

"We integrated into this platform the ability for people to contribute to the application and use that to enrich search experience and modify the relevance but also provide the ability to have another view of expertise on the content from anybody in the company, from the CEO to the regular Web worker," Pesenti told eWEEK.

Velocity 6.0 also boasts a social bookmarking facility, collecting search results and gathering them in "virtual" folders to be shared across organizations.

Rebecca Thompson, vice president of marketing at Pittsburgh-based Vivisimo, said a major news network, which she said asked to remain anonymous, is using the social bookmarking tool in Velocity 6.0 to help its reporters and editors keep each other in the loop.


Finally, as people are creating and adding content about searches in Velocity 6.0, new social-networking tools in the platform allow tags that users leave to be tracked and composite views to be created of the organizations users.

Specifically, Pesenti said the social-networking utility "mashes up" pictures, contact information, biographical data and search tagging activity of office employees in a single view. Velocity 6.0 also provides an executive dashboard of popular topics across the business based upon information that has been tagged, saved or shared.

Velocity 6.0, new social tools included, is available as a free upgrade for existing Vivisimo customers by Nov. 15. Thompson said pricing for Velocity is based on the number of documents or data volume the platform must sift through, but typically starts at $50,000 for two million documents. However, Vivisimos average deal size is closer to $250,000.

The notion that Velocity 6.0 lets users influence search results through tagging and bookmarking is a far cry from the traditional enterprise search practice of reading and repurposing content.

With such announcements, enterprise search is increasingly shaping up to be one of the first technology areas embracing social-networking tools in the business world. Moreover, Gartner claims more than 75 percent of new search platforms will include a social search element for relevancy calculation by 2012.

Gilbane Group analyst Lynda Moulton said she is tracking more than 70 systems that have been around for awhile and is being bombarded on a daily basis with new entries trying to take a new crack at how to make enterprise search more relevant.

"These new tagging tools and bookmarking tools and collaboration interfaces that let people add commentary to search results are what Im beginning to label human-enhanced business intelligence or analytics," Moulton said.

Vivisimo is not the only vendor answering this bell. On Sept. 17, enterprise search vendor Endeca unveiled two modules that allow the use of customer-generated content such as reviews, ratings and tags in search returns.


Endeca injects social navigation into enterprise search. Click here to read more.

Endecas model is a bit different, as it primarily offers search for e-commerce and news organizations that want to help their readers find what theyre looking for fast.

Vivisimo and rivals such as FAST and Autonomy seek to serve as the internal-search mechanisms for companies. But no matter what type of individual user or business search vendors are targeting, social navigation is increasingly playing a major role in search.

For example, Yahoo on Oct. 2 relaunched its Yahoo Search site with Search Assist, a tool that provides search choices that other users have typed in related to a concept.


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