Paul Miller recently discussed why many semantic search startups are failing to compete with Google, also noting a few interesting exceptions. He writes, “In recent weeks, I’ve received a flurry of information on partial alternatives to Google’s market-dominating search engine. Most appear useful in their own niche, but I doubt even their creators would be surprised to learn that none tempt me to change my Google-powered default search behaviour. Far more damaging for their prospects, any hope they had of attracting my occasional use is dashed by the very way that they seem to work. They may excel in certain verticals, or in particular types of search, but most make the unfortunate mistake of expecting me to mould my behaviour to them.”

He continues, “Take London-based Sehrch, for example. Behind a name that’s impossible to pronounce or communicate to others (say “Search for that on sehrch,” and 99.99% of those you tell will end up here rather than here) lies an interesting attempt to bring structure to web search, with a little help from data sources like Freebase and DBpedia. Google could probably find you buildings with 150 floors (just the Chicago Spire, according to both my first page of Google hits and the trusty Wolfram Alpha), but might struggle to find those that were higher. Sehrch finds 14, and they appear in a neat list that’s free of the other stuff that cluttered my Google results.”

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Image: Courtesy Flickr/ Danard Vincente