Search: "The Brain"
Baynote is an 18-month-old enterprise search engine trying to improve upon the work of first-generation enterprise search companies. It just officially launched this week. Unlike some other social search companies that pride themselves on letting people manually rank or cast votes about particular results, Baynote relies on its Affinity server. Founder Jack Jia affectionately refers to this server as the "brain." This brain is no more than a "memory-prediction machine," Jia said to me, adding that he and his team tried to mimic the brain structure. Hence, the name. The brain segments searchers into peer groups, based on what they had searched for in the past and which pages they browsed, and the route which they took to find certain pages. The brain then looks at how long users stay on certain pages. The pages on which a user spends the most time is deemed the most relevant and then shown to others in that users' peer group. In theory, it sounds like a good methodology. In the commercial world, it seems to be working itself. If you don't believe Jia, just go to Interwoven and LSI Logic. Search for stuff and you'll see that Baynote will rank results based on what a certain group of users deemed relevant (based on that particular peer group and their activity). You can also compare Baynote's results with the results of the other enterprise search engines. Based on some of the searches I conducted with Jia on the phone guiding me, Baynote's results actually did seem more relevant.
Now, would I recommend using Baynote's technology? I guess it depends on the site. I'd imagine a person on a retail site has a different pattern of navigating than a person on a financial services site. To that end, I'm sure lopping people into peer groups would take some tweaking depending on the site. For corporations, the service costs $950 per month. For small businesses, the service costs $95 per month.