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Search User Forums with Omgili
January 2, 2006
Thomas Mennecke
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Nothing stays the same very long on the Internet. Networks, protocols, communication methods all come and go. Twenty years ago, the Newsgroups were the way to exchange information. To some extent, the Newsgroups still play an important role, however their communication function has been largely replaced by user forums.

User forums have become an essential component for thousands of web sites. Forums may be as simplistic as a feedback option, or as complex as a multi-thousand member community with hundreds of discussion topics. With thousands of websites supporting large communities exchanging ideas and knowledge, user forums have become an important source of information. Whether your interest is in automotive repair, cooking, home improvement, aviation or file-sharing, chances are a healthy community of knowledge surrounds your interests.

As the number of user forums grows, the trick becomes how to obtain this vast quantity of information. Google has an excellent Newsgroup discussion search function, which can cover a wide variety of topics. Yet with web-based user forums playing a more important role, limiting a search to the Newsgroups also limits the potential availability of information. A Google web search may dig a bit deeper; however home pages are usually prioritized over user forums.

P2P developer Ran Geva, known for his eclectic array of file-sharing programs such as Peer2Mail, DYI P2P, Maileet, and Sigster, believes he has discovered a solution. His solution is called Omgili.

Omgili, an acronym for "Oh My God, I Love It", is a new search engine that specifically crawls and indexes user forums. It completely avoids any other aspects of the site and instead concentrates on the information contained within discussion threads.

"Currently it indexes from a list of about 1,500 forums,” Ran told "The crawler has a special algorithm that analyzes the forum as a discussion and not as a regular web page (like any other search engine.) It can determine the topic, title and replies and give different weight to each."

Omgili is currently in beta testing as its database is still relatively small (an index of approximately 1,500 forums.) However, the search engine is fully functional and grows every day as the crawler continuously seeks out new information. Ran Geva hopes to have a final version out in two months.

There's the old saying that one should always use the search feature before asking a question in a discussion forum. This line of reasoning dictates that more than likely, an individual’s question has been already asked and answered. Finding this knowledge is the key. Being able to search an index of thousands of user forums instead of traveling to each one holds the potential to be a valuable asset in the pursuit of knowledge.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Technology News :: Software
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: New Releases

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