A Business-Centric Approach to Searching the Web
With millions upon millions upon millions of sites to choose from, it can sometimes be difficult to find relevant results when searching the Web. Factiva, a search engine from Dow Jones focuses on business, and attempts to make business search more productive by weeding out irrelevant consumer sites.
Web search is engrained in the social consciousness at this point. The word "Google" is recognized by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a term for finding information on the Web, and even my four year old daughter understands that a Web search is the preferred method of finding answers and information. The challenge--for both the search engines and the users doing the search--is to sift through the information overload and find the relevant sites.
Google's main rival, Microsoft's Bing search engine, has based its entire marketing campaign on cutting through the clutter and helping people make decisions more quickly. Basex, a research firm, estimates that an average worker spends a quarter of the day searching online for information necessary to get their jobs done, and that wasted time sifting through irrelevant results costs companies $900 billion per year.
Scott Schulman, president of the Corporate Markets group for Factiva, explained, "We're an information-driven economy. Now more than ever, professionals need the ability to access relevant business intelligence that will support or prompt business decisions. They need that content to be global, they need to have a high degree of trust in the information, and they need to be able to access it anywhere."
Dow Jones is virtually synonymous with business, and its search engine--Factiva--is geared to helping business users find relevant results faster and be more productive. Rather than indexing the entire Web, Factiva aggregates data from 31,000 relevant business resources in 26 languages--many of which are not accessible through common search engines.
Factiva is streamlining business search even further with upcoming enhancements. Factiva is introducing an iPad app, additional global content, and a more intuitive user interface and navigation features.
Is there a market for a business-centric search engine? Maybe. Finding what you are looking for on a search engine is part art, part science, and definitely an acquired skill. It couldn't hurt to narrow the field of potential results to only those that at least have a chance of being relevant.
But, people don't "Factiva" things. Getting users to break the Google habit and embrace a business-centric search tool is not an easy thing to do. I found that finding results on Factiva can be just as challenging as on Google, so refining the search terms is still an acquired skill. But, perhaps the new interface and iPad tool will make Factiva easier to use.