LookSmart Revives Wisenut Search Engine

LookSmart has quietly relaunched its Wisenut search engine, bolstering its technology and refreshing its index with a brand new crawl of the web.

Last year, Wisenut was often mentioned in the media as a potential "Google killer," an underdog with novel technology that could potentially unseat the champ of web search.

When LookSmart purchased the search engine in April of this year, industry watchers scratched their heads, wondering how a search engine using crawler based technology fit with LookSmart's business model of using human editors to compile directories of the web.

LookSmart is preparing to answer those questions soon, with upcoming announcements of new partnerships and customers. We'll take an in-depth look the company's new strategy sometime in October.

Meanwhile, take a look at the re-engineered Wisenut search engine. Like Google and most of the other major search engines, Wisenut puts a lot of emphasis on link analysis, but also adds a few other ingredients to its secret sauce for calculating relevance.

"We spend more time judging quality of each link than some of the other engines do," said Peter Adams, LookSmart's Chief Technology Officer. "We spend a lot of time not just counting quantity but also looking at the quality based on the context of the connections."

In addition to link analysis, Wisenut also emphasizes the proximity of search terms in underlying documents, computing results in real time, based on your specific query.

Wisenut's index currently consists of just over 900 million documents, indexed within the past 60 days. LookSmart plans to both increase the size of the index and completely refresh it every 30 days, beginning next month.


Wisenut, the Google Killer? Nah...
SearchDay #88, Sept. 5, 2001
The media is heralding Wisenut as the scrappy underdog that's supposedly going to topple Google from its "throne" as the king of web search. Not likely -- here's why.

LookSmart To Buy WiseNut
The Search Engine Report, April 2, 2002
LookSmart announced its intention to purchase the WiseNut search engine, which it hopes will turn LookSmart into an "all-in-one" solution for portals, internet service providers and others who need a search solution.

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About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was About.com's Web Search Guide.