Convera releases government search engine beta

Convera Corp. has released a beta version of anew search engine designed to help U.S. government workers findrelevant information within the glut of data on the Internet.

The Govmine search engine, available at,uses similar pattern-recognition and semantic analysis that Converacreated for its database search software used by several U.S.agencies, said Kurt Gastrock, Convera’s chief operatingofficer.

Convera announced the beta of Govmine Monday.

Convera has been working on search technologies for more than adecade, and the company’s customers have included the U.S.Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, theDepartment of State and the Department of the Treasury, Converasaid.

Govmine, free to any Internet user, will be focused ongovernment workers and the way they create search strings. Througha decade of providing database search for government agencies,Convera is able to structure search results based on past government worker queries, Gastrock said.

“Govmine is able to understand a searcher’s query,” he said.”It’s a much faster way of finding solid information.”

Govmine, which Convera bills as an “alternative” search engine,also categorizes its search results and focuses on relevance, notthe most popular results, unlike traditional search engines,Gastrock said. Govmine is designed to consider synonyms, alternatemeanings and relationships between seemingly disparate data.

For example, a search on “NSA wiretapping” on yieldscategorized results including 103 blog entries, 54 poll results and151 results under a “controversy” category.

The search results also suggest related concepts such aselectronic surveillance and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency,and it lists raw search results, including media reports on theU.S. National Security Agency and its wiretapping activities.

In June, search engine giant Google Inc. announced a search engine aimed at people trying to findU.S. government information. But Convera is aiming Govmine at adifferent market, government workers looking for structured searchresults, Gastrock said.

“Traditional search technology doesn’t really understandcontext,” Gastrock said. “[Govmine] is not just keywords. We lookat context and relevance.”

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