data, data, data: new search assistance?
According to recent news from Analysys International (Chinese site here), a Chinese research and consulting firm, a new search engine has launched that may be of use to researchers: Soshoo.com 搜数网 bills itself as the first free Chinese vertical search engine focusing on statistics and survey data. Soshoo can search China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the Beijing Bureau of Statistics, and a group of “comprehensive statistical organizations”.
Soshoo explains itself thus (rough translation): If you use Google to look for the word “statistics,” you’ll find many websites related to statistics; provincial, municipal, and official government statistics websites are especially numerous. But if you want to search further for more specific statistical data you’ll find that the results from general search engines won’t make you happy. Why? It’s because many statistical websites are highly vertical, and the general search engine machines aren’t able to go deep enough to retrieve all of the data…
At first glance the site looks user-friendly, with topic links such as “natural resources,” construction and real estate,” “education,” and so on. Soshoo also promises English and Japanese versions on the way. When you click on a topic the latest data appears in chronological order. When I tried to dig further, however, I was asked to register–now waiting for the email update. Will look forward to other search results to see if this is actually as useful as it sounds.
What is “vertical search” anyway? According to this blurb for a recent talk at Google on the subject, vertical search “is search focused on a specific vertical. Vertical search engines
mine data for one specific niche of the market place – for example,
travel, jobs, hotels, music, movies, and even health care. As web sites
and data proliferate, the task of locating specific information gets
tougher. Vertical search engines provide an efficient way to get to
Verticals are very different from domain specific portals which are
usually product placement vehicles for vendors. VSEs organize all
niche-specific information and present it in a manner that is simple to
use and easy to consume. Vertical search engines can also offer
advertisers a more focused ad platform.”
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