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New twist to search: find answers



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Teragram (www.teragram.com) has introduced Direct Answers, which is designed to seek and deliver short, specific answers to information-gathering queries rather than traditional Web links provided by common keyword searches. Teragram reports Direct Answers can be tailored to extract information specific to each customer's needs, including information found on Web pages, in documents and databases. The company can specify which reference libraries and other resources Direct Answers searches, based on the specific business needs of the portal or enterprise.

Direct Answers is available both as a hosted service and as software that is installed on the servers of portals or large enterprises.

Direct Answers retrieves answers from unstructured, semi-structured and structured data. When a user types a query into a search bar, it is initially parsed to compute the query's meaning by analyzing it syntactically and semantically in a process that takes milliseconds. If the query is information seeking, it's routed to Direct Answers and processed to provide answers.

As part of the Internet search version, Teragram Direct Answers comes with pre-built information sources, which include a range of reference sources, including encyclopedias, the Web, medical research, calculators, time server, pop culture indexes, etc. The source list is continuously expanded.

In its press release, Teragram says Direct Answers delivers results to a variety of types of questions, from full questions ("Who is the governor of Louisiana?" or "What time is it in Beijing?"), to two-word queries ("Iraq's capital," which it analyses and determines is a question seeking the name of a city), to calculations and conversions ("10 days in minutes"), to dictionary definitions ("What is a terabyte?"). Quick Answers draws from sources across the Web including the CIA Fact Book, Merriam-Webster, World Book Encyclopedia, Wikipedia, U.S. Census and more. For example, if a viewer enters "What is the population of China?" in the search box, the answer to the question (1,306,313,812) would appear at the top of the page above Web results.


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