Sync-Up host Tyler Pyburn asks CEO Craig Bassin about EasyAsk’s products – EasyAsk eCommerce, Business Edition and Quiri.
Sync-Up host Tyler Pyburn asks CEO Craig Bassin about EasyAsk’s products – EasyAsk eCommerce, Business Edition and Quiri.
EasyAsk CEO Craig Bassin talks about the differences between “voice-recognition” and “natural language search” – without understanding intent, you can’t accurately answer questions. Craig also notes that even Google is evolving from traditional keyword search.
(Message from the CEO of EasyAsk, Craig Bassin)
Looks like this is the beginning of the end for keyword search. You’ve probably seen a number of articles discussing Google’s shift to ‘semantic search’. Anyone understand what that REALLY means? First, the definition of ‘semantic search’ is an understanding of the ‘intent’, or meaning, of the search, rather than just matching the keywords.
Now why would the undisputed 800-pound gorilla of keyword search, change course at this late date? Conventional wisdom says they were forced to take a hard look after Apple launched Siri. The timing sure seems to reinforce the fact that they’ve been playing with semantic search for some time, but needed to make a marketing splash now.
So, why change? Well, obviously it’s a BETTER way to search and they had to, or they wouldn’t have! I mean, really, Google acknowledging the limitations of keyword search?
Quoting from Paul Demery’s recent article (to read it, click here) about Google’s adoption of semantic search in Internet Retailer, ‘“Semantic search should allow Google as well as other search engines to better understand the true user intent of a search query,” says Kevin Lee, CEO of search marketing firm Didit.
Also, quoting from the same article: “Every day, we’re improving our ability to give you the best answers to your questions as quickly as possible,” Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search technology, said in a blog post. “In doing so, we convert raw data into knowledge for millions of users around the world. But our ability to deliver this experience is a function of our understanding your question and also truly understanding all the data that’s out there. And right now, our understanding is pretty darn limited. Ask us for ‘the 10 deepest lakes in the U.S,’ and we’ll give you decent results based on those keywords, but not necessarily because we understand what depth is or what a lake is.”
Now, understanding ‘intent’ AND ‘content’ is something that is at the very core of who EasyAsk is and how EasyAsk searches. It’s the idea that, in an e-commerce setting, you can search for ‘men’s dress shirts under $30’ or ‘ladies red pumps size 6’ and get EXACTLY what you’re looking for. Natural language understands the semantics involved in the search. We understand the ‘intent’ of the question, we understand the ‘content’ of the data. In adopting a new ‘semantic’ architecture Google will start to understand the ‘intent’ piece as well.
Now which of these companies can help you improve your e-commerce site?
None of them.
No, no, no and no. Strictly keyword search. Old news. Yesterday’s tech.
So we want to be the first to welcome Google. We like them, use them all the time for internet search, along with Bing. But when it comes to e-commerce search, folks, EasyAsk is leading the way. Let us show you how.
It’s what we do.
It is always great to be considered Cool. But that is usually a personal distinction. Now Cool is an attribute given to software vendors such as EasyAsk.
EasyAsk is proud to announce that we have been included in the list of “Cool Vendors” in the ‘Cool Vendors in Analytics and Business Intelligence, 2012’* report by Gartner, Inc. We feel this is an accomplishment due to our products, our team, and most of all our customers.
As we look at our market position today, EasyAsk has dramatically expanded its solution footprint and customer reach in the past 12 months. Direct sales to customers have grown. We’ve forged new solution partnerships with IBM Big Insights and SugarCRM while expanding our partnerships with Infor and NetSuite. We have also more than doubled the number of channel partners we work with, including our distribution partnership with BrainSell in the SugarCRM market.
Our eCommerce edition product continues to be the clear solution leader in e-commerce search, navigation and merchandising. No other vendor can come close to performing the long-tail natural language searches that EasyAsk does, nor can any vendor make merchandising as easy to use as EasyAsk.
And our new Quiri product is revolutionizing the way people use mobile devices and mobile corporate applications. Quiri is the only solution on the market that provides Siri-like voice-enabled natural language tools that work with your corporate data and applications.
Thank you, Gartner. And a special thank you to our customers and partners.
* Gartner “Cool Vendors in Analytics and Business Intelligence, 2012” by Bill Gassman, Douglas Laney, Andreas Bitterer, David Newman, Rita L. Sallam, James Richardson, 27 April 2012
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
Lucene/Solr is great for developers that enjoy tinkering with code as if it’s DNA and you’re working on the Captain America Super-Soldier Serum. But what if you don’t have the time or resources? What if you’re a company that cannot afford the manpower or hours needed to work on the open-source, Java-based search library? What if… what you need is a rich, mature product with the most accurate search engine on the planet?
Apache Lucene, for those who are unclear on the difference, is the library and Apache Solr is a layer of code on top of Lucene that turns it into a search platform, adding management and website APIs that are tailored for e-commerce. With Lucene/Solr you get a basic search engine, that requires a large IT staff or an army of consultants. It takes a lot of time, experience and troubleshooting to get the results you’re hoping for.
But let’s say you’ve outgrown the basic search functionality, or get frustrated having to build everything you need. And you’ve noticed how the e-commerce community has shifted to mobile sites with voice-recognition, and the abilities of open-source seem more and more limited. So wouldn’t you be tired of continuing to compete with every other e-commerce company that is trying to do the same thing with the same keyword-hampered technology? Why wouldn’t you want to stand out from the pack?
Where Lucene/Solr falls short, EasyAsk excels.
Companies like IBM, Magento, NetSuite, Infor and more have partnered with EasyAsk for a reason. The powerful Natural Language search-box and easy-to-use merchandising tools allow you to perform tasks a keyword-based software (Lucene/Solr) can’t even dream of. The intuitive site-search, dynamic navigation, and merchandising software utilizes Natural Language to increase conversion rates. It understands the intent of the search and delivers faster, more accurate results than keyword or navigation-driven softwares. The limitations you find with Lucene/Solr are simply not found with EasyAsk.
From understanding numeric units, to intelligent term relaxation, to merchandising capabilities like: Cross-Sell/Up-Sell promotions, EasyAsk has proven to bring something to the table that Lucene and Solr just can’t touch. Not to mention with EasyAsk you’re a step ahead of the game.
Take a quick look around and see which direction the technological world is headed. IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri, Nuance’s Dragon-Go, Panasonic’s Smart-TVs, and many more have all made the jump to a Natural Language Processing engine. It’s just a smarter way to connect with your customers.
And EasyAsk has been a leader in Natural Language for over a decade.
For example, on an EasyAsk-powered site, you can use your iPhone 4S or Android to verbally search for products on their mobile-sites. And thanks to the natural language engine that powers EasyAsk, they’ll find exactly what they’re looking for. Go to Lands’ End’s site on your phone, type-in or speak a product you’d like to see and a price constraint (i.e. Black Sleeveless Dresses for under $100) and see for yourself how powerful EasyAsk is. You’re not going to find that functionality with an open-source, keyword-based software.
Also the EasyAsk Commerce Studio puts the power back in the hands of the merchandiser. Want to add a new brand for your site, or cross-sell a couple of items? No problem, it literally takes a minute. To see what I’m talking about click here.
Look, if you want to keep trying to reinvent the wheel, go right ahead. But if you’re tired of sputtering in a Model-T and you’d rather upgrade to a search that’s better, the wave of the future, comes with merchandising capabilities that Lucene/Solr just can’t match, come take a look at EasyAsk, the Search That Means Business.
The technological world seems to be making a shift. It began with those three days in February 2011, when IBM’s Watson computer competed on Jeopardy! (By the way, the natural language super-computer trounced the shows two biggest champions!) And culminated with Apple releasing Siri in their latest model of cell phone, the iPhone 4S on October 14th, 2011.
You can feel the buzz in the air, a change in the winds, that a paradigm-shift is coming. The ability to tell your electronics what to do.
So wouldn’t it make sense that this same technology could be used by everyday consumers to shop on their smart-phones? Isn’t it logical, that the next step will be the ability to use this natural language technology to search and purchase items on your favorite website? That this technology would improve user experience, retention and increase conversion rates? Wouldn’t you want your favorite sites to be Siri-cized?
Well, if you’re a client of EasyAsk, this power is already at your fingertips… err… voice-box.
EasyAsk-powered sites such as: Lands’ End, Harbor Freight Tools, J. Jill, True Value and Coldwater Creek, are already Siri-cized. Customers of these and other EasyAsk clients can use their iPhone 4S or Android to verbally search for their products on their mobile-sites. And thanks to the natural language engine that powers EasyAsk, they’ll find exactly what they are looking for.
Now, I hear the nay-sayers, griping about the times that Siri doesn’t work as well as they want. First of all, Siri is cutting-edge technology, so of course it’s still working out a few of the kinks. But here’s where EasyAsk differs. With Siri, the options are so varied, it’s difficult for the software to search through the entire Internet to find the right answer every time. With EasyAsk, the data needed is pulled from the company’s product catalogue. So, if you’re on Lands’ End, you’re going to be searching for items Lands’ End is known for having, like swimwear, shoes, luggage, etc. If you’re on Harbor Freight Tools, you’re going to search for items they’re known for having; air compressors, engines, toolboxes or various tools. EasyAsk understands the context of your request and retrieves the right product on the first page.
This isn’t the future; it’s the present. EasyAsk sites are and have been ahead of the game, because EasyAsk has been mastering Natural Language for over a decade. Feel free to find out more here.
So go ahead, grab your iPhone 4S or Android 2.1, jump on Lands’ End and get ready for summer by shopping for a new bathing suit or try True Value and order that new grill you’ve been waiting for. It’s as simple tapping the search box, tapping the microphone, and saying what you’re looking for.
Welcome to the future.
You’re currently a customer of Endeca. Your site has been expensive to maintain, but it has worked well enough and you see no need to make a change. Recently however, changes have been made to the company who runs your search. Changes that could affect your relationship and your ability to do business.
In October of 2011, Oracle acquired Endeca, a leading provider of unstructured data management, Web commerce and business intelligence solutions. A year before that, they acquired the Art Technology Group, Inc. (ATG), an e-commerce software platform that is one of the industry’s top-ranked, commerce solutions. Essentially packaging a search and platform duo. But… What if you don’t own both pieces of the puzzle? What if you’re an Endeca customer, but not an ATG customer? Is your site in danger? Is your business in danger?
Before Oracle acquired these pieces of technology, Endeca and ATG were open – meaning they worked cooperatively with other solutions in the market. Didn’t matter who you had for an e-commerce platform, be it Magento, IBM’s WebSphere, in-house, etc., you could still work with Endeca.
Is that still the case?
If recent history proves prophetic, then probably not. Oracle has a history of closing the proprietary loop when they acquire a company, making them a part of the Oracle stack. If you are inside that stack, then your feeling of security should be warm-and-fuzzy. But what if you’re not inside the loop? What if you’re currently using Endeca for your search and have a platform not named ATG? Will Endeca continue to fit? Should you be concerned?
If you are concerned and don’t feel like being at the mercy of Oracle, what can you do about it?
Here’s the good news:
You do have options and one of them can kill two birds with one stone: Get out from under Oracle’s thumb and upgrade your search by switching to EasyAsk. EasyAsk provides a user-friendly and cost-effective way to make complex business data accessible to anyone. With EasyAsk’s natural language engine, it’s Apple’s Siri and IBM’s Watson rolled into one best-of-breed, site-search, navigation and merchandising tool.
In other words, it’s common sense brought to search. It also happens to be platform-agnostic, easy to maintain, plus it puts the power in the hands of the merchandisers, costing far less than Endeca, and touting the lowest total cost of ownership in the business. To learn more about e-commerce search and how it can impact your site, please read our paper, The ABC’s of E-Commerce Search.
So… You’re an Endeca customer, but you are also now a customer of Oracle, the 4th largest software company in the world. Will your company get lost in the shuffle? Maybe yes, maybe no, and you’re welcome to stick around and find out, but… Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to “Find, Analyze, and Understand” that it’s time to switch to a Search That Means Business.
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The Integration of EasyAsk Search and Merchandising with Magento Allows Customers of Any Size to Take Advantage of the Conversion Power of Natural Language
BURLINGTON, MA and LOS ANGELES, CA—November 1, 2011 – EasyAsk, the industry leading provider of natural language e-commerce search and merchandising solutions, today announced a partnership with Magento, the fastest growing e-commerce platform in the world, to integrate EasyAsk’s best-in-class natural language eCommerce search, navigation and merchandising platform with Magento, bringing the solution to Magento merchants around the globe. The integrated solution makes it faster and easier for Magento Enterprise and Community customers to power their sites with EasyAsk’s enterprise-class natural language search and merchandising to increase conversion rates, deliver the best shopping experience and grow their e-commerce revenue.
“Converting visitors into buyers is a significant priority to our customers regardless of size or sector,” said Phil Robinson, Vice President of Business Development at Magento. “The EasyAsk search and merchandising solution uses natural language technology to provide an enterprise-class solution that is affordable and easy to use by any size customer. Now, any of our merchants can take advantage of EasyAsk to increase their conversion rates and grow their eCommerce revenue.”
The EasyAsk eCommerce search and merchandising software – available on-premise or as a service (SaaS) – is a comprehensive, full-featured solution that uses natural language technology to offer superior capabilities, including:
EasyAsk eCommerce Edition has helped customers achieve industry-leading conversion rates that dramatically increase their e-commerce revenues.
The EasyAsk Magento Extension integrates EasyAsk search, navigation and merchandising with the Magento eCommerce platform for fast, easy implementation and delivers a seamless customer experience for site visitors. The Extension and the easy to use EasyAsk tools allow customers to implement EasyAsk natural language search and merchandising in days versus the weeks or months required by other third party search platforms, for faster return on investment.
“We are pleased to partner with Magento to create an innovative eCommerce solution that combines to deliver the best customer conversion rates in the industry,” said Craig Bassin, CEO of EasyAsk. “Blending EasyAsk’s natural language technology with the state of the art eCommerce functionality of Magento allows customers of any size to offer a superior shopping experience that will fuel their eCommerce growth. We are truly delivering the benefits promised by IBM/Watson to all of our EasyAsk eCommerce customers and doing it today.”
IJHANA, a leading e-commerce consulting firm and Magento partner implemented the combined Magento and EasyAsk solution for a large tool retailer with a catalog of over 5,000 items. “The e-commerce catalog was characterized by complex descriptions and terminology requiring a search product that intuitively knew what the visitor was looking for,” said Kevin Calloway, Managing Partner, IJHANA. “The EasyAsk natural language solution was easy to implement and dramatically expanded the search and navigation capabilities, helping the site convert customers faster.”
Magento (http://www.magentocommerce.com/) is a feature-rich, open-source, enterprise-class eCommerce solution that offers merchants a high degree of flexibility and control over the user experience, catalog, content, and functionality of their online store. In August 2011, Magento was acquired by eBay Inc., and is now part of the X.commerce division (www.x.com). Launched in 2007, the Magento platform now serves tens of thousands of merchants worldwide, and is supported by a global community of solution partners and third-party developers. Magento Go is a hosted, software-as-a-service solution that provides small and growing merchants with the ecommerce tools they need to succeed online. Based in Los Angeles, Magento, Inc. is a fast-paced, entrepreneurial organization dedicated to the mission of enabling the eCommerce ecosystem. www.magentocommerce.com
EasyAsk is radically changing the speed and ease of how people find information through the company’s ground-breaking natural language search software. EasyAsk software products go far beyond traditional search, allowing users to simply ask questions in plain English and receive highly tuned results on demand. The EasyAsk eCommerce Edition uses this unique technology to deliver an industry leading website search, navigation and merchandising solutions that boosts online revenue through increased conversion rates, better customer experience and agile merchandising. EasyAsk Business Edition revolutionizes enterprise decision-making, moving beyond traditional business intelligence solutions with easy, low-cost deployment and a unique natural language interface that extends access to information anywhere in the organization.
Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, EasyAsk has long been a leader in natural language information analysis and delivery software. Customers such as Coldwater Creek, Lands End, Lillian Vernon, Aramark, TruValue, Siemens, Hartford Hospital, Ceridian, JoAnn Fabrics and Harbor Freight Tools rely on the EasyAsk software products to run their business and e-commerce operations daily. For more information, please visit EasyAsk.