New Search Engine Uses Distributed Computing System -- And the Computers Are Human

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In a coup for the "Web 2 .0" movement, a new search engine announced today provides search results that are 100% user-generated. The site, called Jatalla.com, is expected for beta release in July.

In a coup for the "Web 2 .0" movement, a new search engine announced today provides search results that are 100% user-generated. The site, called Jatalla.com, is expected for beta release in July.

Through Jatalla.com, any registered user can submit a vote called a "lexivote", which consists of two parts: (i) a word or phrase and (ii) a list of up to three URLs. This lexivote is counted along with all other lexivotes that include the exact same term. Thereafter, when a user queries the search engine using that term, a list of URLs -- ranked according to these lexivotes -- is returned. Each user is limited to only one lexivote per search term.

The service was developed by Inventerprise LLC, a national award-winning product development company based in Los Angeles, California, and Viking Web Development, based in Fargo, North Dakota. The essential system was created in 1999, and patent filings in 2003 and 2004 disclose not only the current Jatalla.com search engine but also numerous functions not scheduled for deployment until next year.

"We’re excited, and we’re counting on users to make the project a success," an Inventerprise representative noted. "Just like a wiki, a social bookmarking service, or a folksonomic tagging system, Jatalla.com offers 100% user-created and user-maintained content. We provide the vessel; users themselves provide the search results."

In leveraging the collective intelligence of Internet users worldwide, the Jatalla.com search engine can be likened to a distributed computing system, except that all the search algorithms are contained in people's heads. Such an approach departs from the computer-based algorithms that drive the dominant search engines of today and leverages increased demand for adding the consumer’s voice to the media chorus.

"We believe that people are still smarter than computers, and that people are better researchers than are computer algorithms," the representative continued. "Jatalla.com is like a modern 'John Henry' story."

Another noteworthy benefit the new search engine provides is immediate responsiveness. Unlike search engines that rely on automated web crawlers to find new content on the World Wide Web, the Jatalla.com system instantaneously responds to lexivotes, so that Web pages pertaining to a particular news event can appear in search results moments after being posted.

To view screen shots of the beta model, visit http://www.jatalla.com.

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Shelley Harrison
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