Google Hires Orion Search Engine Creator; Gets Extraction Algorithm

Back in September, SEW Forums moderator Edel "Orion" Garcia posted a thread about a new search technology under development. It was coincidentally called the "Orion Search Engine" but not connected with our moderator. Instead, it was developed by a university student who now, according to news reports out this weekend, works for Google. Google's also acquired his search technology.

How great this search engine was is impossible to say. The press release that inventor Ori Allon put out last September was full of excitement, but so are plenty of releases trying to attract the attention of investors and the media. The search engine itself was never available for the public to use.

It sounds like Allon mainly developed an algorithm useful in pulling out better summaries of web pages. In other words, if you did a search, you'd be likely to get back extracted sections of pages most relevant to your query. From the release:

The results to the query are displayed immediately in the form of expanded text extracts, giving you the relevant information without having to go the website.

Such extraction could work well with moves by Google to expand direct answers that it offers, something all search engines are doing. Of course, the more Google and other search engines extract heavily from web pages without sending them actual traffic, the more likely they'll come under legal pressures of stepping over the fair use line.

Via Threadwatch, Google buys search algorithm invented by Israeli student from Haaretz has more details on Google getting the rights to the Orion algorithm and confirmation that Allon now works for Google. His university says that Yahoo and Microsoft were also in negotiations for the technology.

Google wins rights to Aussie algorithm from The Age reports that Allon's been with Google for about six weeks. However, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates never commented on the technology, to my knowledge. The Age just seems confused that Allon's press release mentioned public comments by Gates that there's room for improvement generally in search.

Google does deal for Aussie program from the Daily Telegraph pitches that the technology will revolutionize the way we search. Ho hum. Reality check, OK? When Google acquired the three people from Kaltix along with their search technology back in 2003, it hardly created a revolutionary change for us soon after.

By revolutionary, I mean a radical shake-up of how we search or a major leap-frogging past other players. That didn't happen post-Kaltix. We did indeed see better personalized search come from Google, what I find one of its most impressive features. But that's an evolutionary change. It works on top of other things Google has built. It doesn't overturn and throw out the base technology.

So my reality check alarm is mainly for anyone who thinks Google's going to suddenly change because Allon and this extraction algorithm are now at Google. He gives Google another good employee, and the technology will probably give Google another evolutionary change that may improve things over time, rather than instanty.

Want to comment or discuss? Visit our Search Engine Watch Forums thread, The Orion Search Engine.