Oneupweb Reviews: Newssift, a Semantic Search Engine for Business News

Time-starved business folks are getting a little help summarizing important financial news through a newly-launched semantic search engine.

Newssift was released last week in beta by the Financial Times Group to provide business-minded individuals with a quick way to search and summarize news. According to TechCrunch the engine indexes approximately 4,000 business news sources which produce roughly 120,000 new articles daily.

Before we explore the site, let’s get our definition of “semantic search” straight.

I like the semantic search engine definition Phil Midwinter, a UK search engineer, gave in a guest blog post for Read Write Web. He states:

“Semantic search engine is a search engine that takes the sense of a word as a factor in its ranking algorithm or offers the user a choice as to the sense of a word or phrase.”

I searched the popular topic “barack obama stimulus plan” on Newssift, which allows users to enter a keyword search or choose from potential keywords sorted by business topic, organization, place, person, theme and more. As you can see from the home page below, users can begin choosing themes such as “Obama Administration” and “Stimulus Plan,” because each of these are hot business news items.

Users can choose topics, organizations, etc., from the hot topics offered, or they can enter their own keyword search to begin getting results. And as they do, Newssift provides an overall sentiment from various news sources.

I can pare down my search results from the specific sources I trust, or gain a quicker understanding of what’s being said that’s positive or negative about my search topic. And that’s what you see below after I conducted my search for positive blogs about President Barack Obama’s Stimulus Plan.

You also will have the option to save your searches, which could come in handy depending on how granular your search became.

Overall, Newssift may feel unfamiliar to searchers who are accustomed to the design and feel of aggregators such as Google News, but I like the obvious relationship connections. It makes it easier and quicker to hone your search, plus suggests new aspects you may not have initially thought of. Given the target audience is comprised of business-minded folks who are in a hurry, I think it’s an advantage for them to be able to click and go with as much solid information as possible.

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