Brainboost, the natural language engine, has implemented some changes and re-launched. As regular readers know, I’m a fan of their search technology. I recently interviewed Assaf Rozenblatt, and a while back I also did a review of Brainboost.
Besides the new logo and different color scheme, there are two major relevancy differences that I immediately noticed. The first is that on the home page there is now a whole slew of sample questions to ask. In fact, it looks just like a directory in that it is arranged hierarchically by subject. The subjects themselves are not links, so clicking on History is not possible. But beneath History is a selection of three sample questions. I suppose these sample questions help first-time users know how best to search Brainboost. And they also provide positive examples of the technology for those evaluating it for enterprise search. For me, as someone who already uses Brainboost on a regular basis, the categorized questions didn’t help in any way.
The second big difference that stands out is that on the results pages the first results are Brainboost’s natural language results; OK same as before. But beneath those are regular search results from a selection of other engines. Brainboost gets its results to natural language queries by reformulating queries and sending them against other engines; smart meta-search. It is not exactly clear to me the relation between the two sets of search results, and to be honest I probably will not use the regular search results section much.
A less noticeable thing is that Brainboost now has tips. I did a search and then got this: Brainboost is not a chatbot. It was designed to answer questions which are factual in nature. In case you are wondering what query triggered the tip, it was how do you jumpstart a motorcycle?, since my motorcycle isn’t starting again after being out in the rain and I can’t remember the positive/negative hook ups. The one result for this search is not relevant at all.
For other queries, like what is the population of Scotland? the results were just as good as when I reviewed Brainboost. I will keep playing around with the new Brainboost to see if I can find other differences. If you haven’t used this engine, I recommend giving it a shot. It can definitely come in handy when you are looking for the answer to a question.