A Search Tool Sifts Smarter

Newssift homepage

The Financial Times Group released its innovative semantic search tool, Newssift, in beta Wednesday. More than just a business-oriented search engine, Newssift uses a specialized relevancy algorithm developed by FT Search over two years to return results based on meaning and context with an interface that enables it to analyze the relationship between people, organizations, geographies, and business themes.


"Newssift thinks the way business people think and interacts directly with the user, offering results that are meaningful, relevant and ultimately pertinent to important metrics like stock price valuation and corporate reputation," says John Greenleaf, the chief marketing officer of FT Search.

The beta version of the tool draws from more than 4,000 business vertical news sources, which were hand-picked one-by-one, according to Greenleaf. The team has experimented with the number and variety of sources, and will continue to do so. In addition to evaluating and improving Newssift's functionality over the beta period, Greenleaf says the company will also evaluate how advertising is presented on the site, and has even engaged a special advisory board of top-level agency people and advertisers to assist with this aspect.

Newssift offers various useful and intuitive ways to refine, expand or adjust a search and gives qualitative results that are not influenced by paid links or SEO. Typing in the word "Green" brings suggestions of organizations like Greenpeace or the Green Bay Packers, places like Greenland, people such as Alan Greenspan or Stephen Green and business themes like "green jobs" or "green energy." Selecting "green energy" returns links to articles and suggestions that will show green energy's relationship to stories in all the Newssift categories.

There's also an element of browsing that allows people to find more than just what they were searching for. The suggestions allow a searcher to stumble upon relationships he might not have been looking for, but will find useful--for example, where Eric Schmidt figures in.

Searches may also be expanded or refined at the term level. Hovering over the Ford Motor Co. after you've searched for Ford will bring a pop-up menu that lets you expand out to "auto & truck manufacturing" or dive down to Ford Capital B.V. Newssift also analyzes results and offers a pie chart showing how many of the stories returned are positive, negative or neutral and another that shows what sources they are from. Clicking on any of the wedges brings up the results for just that sentiment or type of source.

Overall, the tool enables the user to dive deeper into research in a more informed and efficient way than he might otherwise have been able.

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