Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Kosmix - search against Vivisimo

and Google as some are saying.
Kosmix, is a world class search engine that lets people search less, and discover more great stuff. There are billions of pages on the web that are useful, but never see the light of day through a standard search engine. It want to help you find those great pages, and make it easy and fun to do in the process.
Kosmix (currently providing search results only for Health, Travel and Politics) is search engine built on the lines of Vivisimo (except that the categories are pre-defined, in which results are clustered to.)
[In the remaining of this article, whenever Kosmix is termed, it means Kosmix health]
The first page of results are quite similar for both of them. While kosmix only provides the results which are hightly relevant to category (with poor categorization results sometimes), Vivisimo clustering algorithm is much more better and dynamic than kosmix, since all the pages are cateogorized to "appropriate categories" and user can drop (neglect ;-)) the irrelevant categories.
The categories of the Kosmix are predefinded for eg. in case of health, the category listing is.
  • All Results
  • Basic Information
    • Causes
    • Symptoms
    • Treatments
    • Definition
  • Fitness
  • Message Boards
  • Alternative Medicine
  • Expert Information
    • Journals
    • Clinical Trials
    • Guidelines
    • Case Studies
  • Babies & Kids
  • Blogs
  • Medical Organizations
  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Women's Health
  • Men's Health
Now, each of the result (if possible) will be categorized into one of the above categories. But the categorization is highly efficient in terms of relevancy of the search term.
This is over all the search results, the relevancy of the search results to the search term is highly efficient. With efficiency + good categorization finding the relevant information becomes quite easy.
Also, 2 categories which I couldn't find in most of the vivisimo results were medicines and the blogs (latter is quite understandable since blogosphere was not so popular and vast at that time).

But, the results of Vivisimo are quite better in the end. I searched for these terms:
  1. Horner Syndrome - Kosmix only provided 391 results with just 3 categories while vivisimo returned 81339 results with categories including congenital, pain , daignosis etc.
  2. Dysentery - Kosmix returned 1823 results with categories being basic info, alternative medicines, message boards, fitness and expert info while vivisimo returned 3,62,400 results categorizing them into different type of dysentry'es, conditions, outbreak, definition etc.
Also, the definitions for the searched terms in Kosmix are always from fixed urls (as it seemed to me), some being:
  • www.emedicine.com/oph/topic702.htm
  • www.healthcentral.com/encyclopedia
  • www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?
  • www.ehealthmd.com
  • www.medterms.com/
  • www.cancer.gov
  • www.health.nih.gov
  • www.lrp.nih.gov
  • www.genome.gov
  • www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov
  • www.healthcentral.com
  • www.ghr.nlm.nih.gov
  • www.cdc.gov
  • www.medicalcenter.osu.edu
  • www.radiologyinfo.org
which are highly technical in medical science terms, while the results of vivisimo even contains the definitions from dictionary.com (if possible, of course), which makes it easy to understand even for lay man.

My Conclusion: Kosmix is just better in the terms of the relevancy of the documents returned and when one wants to study a topic with proper organization as they give results. Otherwise, some specific information can even be looked up in google :-)

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