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COMPUTING

From...
PC World

Search the Web without searching

February 15, 2000
Web posted at: 8:28 a.m. EST (1328 GMT)

by Chris Yurko

(IDG) -- Kenjin wants to put an end to Web searching as we know it. For a lot of people frustrated with their search engine options, that could be good news.

Unveiled last week at the Demo 2000 conference in Palm Springs, California, the free downloadable program is a "behind-the-scenes" search engine. It reads and analyzes the text on your screen, picks out the major themes, and then combs the Internet for links related to those subjects.

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Kenjin works with almost any sort of document, whether you're working in a word processor or writing an e-mail message. There's no need to activate your browser, no need to type in cumbersome Web addresses and keywords. You just need to be connected to the Internet.

"I think there's a good chance this will replace search engines," says Mike Lynch, the chief executive officer of Autonomy, the company behind Kenjin.

Kenjin is a stripped-down version of technology Autonomy developed for large corporate customers such as British Aerospace, Lucent Technologies, and Merrill Lynch. "This is much more pointed toward consumers," Lynch says.

Kenjin can do

Once you've downloaded it onto your desktop, you can activate the small Kenjin toolbar by clicking on an icon at the bottom of your screen. To conduct a search, press Alt-Ctrl-G. You can choose to search for information from the entire Web, news sites, or your own computer -- or can also search for people who've conducted Kenjin searches on the same topics. As an experiment, I composed a letter in Microsoft Word telling a friend about my (imaginary) upcoming vacation to Nepal, where I would be climbing Mount Everest. I asked her to recommend a good Sherpa guide. Kenjin's search results were all good matches.

The six results (the limit set by default) were: Top Ten Treks to Nepal, Top 10 Himalayan Treks, Nepal Trekking and Expeditions, an Everest guest book, Everest photos and a live cybercast, and a link to the journal of a 14-year-old girl who spent time at Mount Everest's base camp during her world travels for CuriousKids.com.

"The more precise you are in your writing the more likely [Kenjin] is to home in on your idea," Lynch says. When I pasted the same text from my letter about Nepal into an AOL e-mail message, however, I found that Kenjin did not work as Autonomy promised. It worked fine with Outlook Express, however. Kenjin also functions as a Web navigation system. While scrolling through Web pages, you can activate Kenjin to search the Internet for relevant sites that may not be linked to the document you're browsing.


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