Ron Friedmann saw an interesting product demo from LexisNexis, which spawned some thoughts about the next life for search technology in Making Information Actionable. From his description, this sounds like what Glenn Fannick of Factiva (Dow Jones) discussed at a KM Chicago event in December 2005.
Ron's description of the product:
Last week I saw an interesting demo for sophisticated, off-the-shelf software that does this and more. Datops, recently acquired by LexisNexis (press release), identifies problems and risks via semantic analysis. It classifies blog posts, news articles, and other content as positive, neutral, or negative. Companies can track their reputation, emerging product problems, customers, credits risks, and more.
Several visual interfaces give data meaning. Behind the scenes, the software normalizes multiple sources, extracts entity information (e.g., names of companies or people), summarizes documents, and allows drill down to see what’s behind the visual displays.
I agree with Ron that this appears to be a great next direction for "search" technologies. Companies and people are using search (persistent search) to monitor what is being said about them or their products will want to know more than simply that a conversation is happening. We need to know the who what and why of the conversation. This gives us the ability to jump into the conversation and reinforce the positive or reduce the negative.
Beyond the ego search concept, as more and more content is findable "out there," the tools we use need to help us make sense of what we find. There are many attempting to provide more information for the researcher. I like this concept of extracting additional information from sources and providing additional analysis for the user. Some of the analysis capabilities have been around for a long time and some are fairly new, it's just a question of presenting the results in a useful way.