Start-up Goes beyond Google, Yahoo and Bing for Deeper Searches on the Web

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Zakta puts people in control with personal and social web search engine.

Innovation in search these days is generally limited to Google and some other guy down the hall at Google. The main reason is that if you're a start-up trying to take on Google, Yahoo or Bing/MSN, well … you're nuts. Sundar Kadayam, then, by definition, is nuts. But he might just be the right nut to do it.

You're not alone if you're equally impressed by how quickly traditional search engines can find factual information as you are frustrated by their inability to be smart and helpful for deeper, more comprehensive information from the Internet.

That's why Sundar Kadayam, a Cincinnati-based search expert and entrepreneur, has launched a beta release of Zakta, a personal and social search engine that goes beyond search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing to deliver a "people-powered," edit-able search engine that supports deeper searches on the Web.

"Zakta.com is the closest thing to the next big thing in search I've seen," says Jason Falls, a top blogger and author of the popular blog at SocialMediaExplorer.com. "Innovation in search these days is generally limited to Google and some other guy down the hall at Google. The main reason is that if you're a start-up trying to take on Google, Yahoo or Bing/MSN, well … you're nuts. Sundar Kadayam, then, by definition, is nuts. But he might just be the right nut to do it."

Zakta meshes enhanced search technologies with automatic categorization of results for millions of topics, personalization tools, social media tools and social networks to deliver a new kind of Web search engine, intent on relieving the pain that users face with deeper Web searches.

"Zakta is really the first search engine that puts you - not the information or the data - at the heart of the entire search process," says Founder and CEO Kadayam, who specialized in search technologies, text-mining, social media analysis and computer networking at former companies that have included Attachmate, Intelliseek Inc. and The Nielsen Company. "Zakta helps the process of searching for information by letting you edit, save and share your results and then invite your community for feedback and insights."

Case in point: Current search engines deliver impressive results for people who are looking for factual information about a company - name, URL, history, home page, address, phone number, map, driving, stock price, news and press releases. But searching turns frustrating quickly for users seeking deeper information, about, say, a disease, college financial aid or a new technology. Faced with millions of "hits" on any topic, users are left visiting link after link, page after page, to find results that are solid, relevant and worth keeping.

"One of my biggest frustrations has been that after spending hours searching on the Web, I had nothing to show, reuse or benefit anyone else, including myself in the future," Kadayam says. So he posed a series of important questions about Internet searches as he guided the development of Zakta, whose name is derived from the word "exactly."

Why aren't search results meaningfully organized to make it easier for users to find what they need? Why can't users control the results by deleting those that are unnecessary and re-ordering those that are valuable? Why do searches - even those on the same topic - have to start from scratch, time after time? Why can't users connect with other Internet searchers who have looked into the same topic before, and benefit from what they know? If users find something really great, why can't they save and share it easily, and then collaborate with trusted friends, colleagues or coworkers interested in the same topic?

Zakta addresses all these issues. Among the site's key features:

1. Organized search results. When users hit "find," Zakta automatically presents results in logical categories: web sites, books, reference materials and subcategories relevant to the user's query.

2. Related topics and subtopics. Zakta suggests related or additional topics and subtopics to search.

3. Fully editable search results. Zakta's search results are completely editable and under the user's control. Delete results that aren't relevant. Drag-and-drop results to rearrange them. Add tags and annotations to any result.

4. Automatically saved searches. All of the changes users make to their search results are all saved automatically into their Zakta account. Users will automatically get their "personal search results" the next time they search the same topic.

5. Easy knowledge sharing. Zakta enables users to publish their findings or knowledge in the form of Zakta Guides. Searching on Zakta also delivers among its first results relevant Zakta Guides published by others.

6. Trusted collaboration. Zakta users can invite other people they trust - such as colleagues, friends, or family members - to find information together and use a Zakta Guide as a living, collaborative document.

7. Topical recommendations. Zakta can help users stay informed on topics of interest through recommendations from people they trust on those topics.

Zakta is ideally suited for anyone who needs an online search tool where information can be researched, saved, collaborated on and shared easily, whether they are researchers or authors, bloggers or businesses, consultants or students, librarians or travelers, hobbyists or educators.

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Steve Phillips
Zakta
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