Archive for April, 2009

YooName is *not* a search engine

April 30, 2009

(and other frequently given answers)

In the last few weeks, YooName traffic increased dramatically (ten fold),  and so did the volume of emails. Don’t be offended if I answer your email by linking to this post. I think this is a good place and good time to address the most frequent concerns :

1. YooName is not a search engine

Don’t expect YooName to get a list of web sites when you issue a query in the demo page. YooName is not a search engine. There’s a confusion because we often describe YooName as a potential search engine component, or a novel algorithm for improving web search.

YooName is self-improving named entity recognition (NER) system. If you know what NER is then you probably have an idea how it relates to search engines. If not, then this is less obvious. In short, NER allows structuring textual information, and structured information is important for semantic search technologies.

2. YooName is not a commercial project per se

YooName is a technology showcase for my PhD project.

3. No, I didn’t hired a lawyer to write a formal privacy policy

I order to sign up for the YooName demo, we collect your email. This is the simplest form of verification we could imagine to avoid being scrapped by robots and/or mechanical turk. Also, when you send a text to the demo, it is stored in the system for statistics and quality insurance. These are two frequent privacy concerns expressed by the demo users.

E-mails: I use the demo user email database with the greatest diligence. I do not share it and I do not mass-mail for fun. In fact, in the two years of existence of the demo site, I haven’t use it yet. As the sign up form tells it: “We will not share your e-mail. We may send you news about YooName developments. We will promptly remove your e-mail from our database upon request.”

Texts: The text you send to the demo are stored and used internally. This information is not shared and is destroyed periodically. Again, if you think that you sent sensible information in the system and want it to be destroyed, drop me a line and I’ll wipe out information linked to your username.