iWon Gets Factual

iWon Gets Factual

By Danny Sullivan
From The Search Engine Report
Dec. 4, 2000

Search engines have long recognized that many searchers are looking for factual information. Generally, the response to this demand has been to provide links from their home pages to reference materials within their own sites. However, it can be easy to overlook these "almanac" links and instead gravitate to the search box to seek answers. Given this, iWon is trying a new tact of providing factual information directly within its search results.

Using data provided by Fact City, iWon will present anything from sport statistics to biographical details about actors, in response to the right search. For example, a search for "who was the third president" brings up the answer at the top of the page, "Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States." You'll also links to more factual information about US presidents, vice presidents and political facts.

You won't always get factual information, in part because the database is still growing, but also because iWon's trying to offer up facts only when its search algorithms determine that such a response may be appropriate.

"The challenge for us is to product a perfect match within iWon's general search based on a specific query from a particular user," said George Nimeh, iWon's vice president of search and special projects.

Actions such as using a person's full name (Harrison Ford rather than Ford), dates and phrasing searches as questions may help facts appear. Of course, the easiest way to tap into the fact database is by going to the iWon Fact Finder page. From there, your queries will go against only the fact database, rather than against all of iWon's various search partners.

At present, most of the facts are centered around sports and entertainment. However, iWon said corporate and dictionary information is coming.

Also just added is a new "search within" feature, to help users narrow a search within a particular set of results. After performing a search, to look just within the set of results initially found, use the check box below the search box that appears at the top of the results page.

iWon
http://www.iwon.com/

iWon Fact Finder
http://www.iwon.com/home/search/factcity_tutorial/

Movie Facts
http://movies.factcity.net/

Need movie facts? This new reference resource is produced by Fact City and Movies.com.

Fact City and Movies.com Make Movie Search Engine
ResearchBuzz, Nov. 15, 2000
http://www.researchbuzz.com/news/2000/nov9nov1500.html#factcity

Tara Calishain tries the movie facts page at the site above and finds both problems and things to like.

xrefer
http://www.xrefer.com/

Looking for reference material? xrefer lets you search against information from encyclopedias, dictionaries, books of quotations and other reference works.