Summize Conversational Search

Summize If you haven’t checked out Summize yet, you should. Summize is a conversational search engine. Their mission is to “search & discover the topics and attitudes expressed within online conversations.” I think Summize is a decent preview of what search engines of the future will look like, even though it only works with content from Twitter at the moment.

I got started with Summize for a very specific, practical reason. When Twitter took the instant messaging interface down (and track along with it) I lost my primary method of watching for replies. I turned to Summize for help, searching for my username so that I’d see when someone replied to me (turns out you can craft more specific searches using the Advanced Search). I continue to use this method today.

Eventually though, I started to use Summize for other things. Occasionally I’d see a tweet about something, such as the Los Angeles airport being shut down, but there was nothing in the news yet. A quick search on Summize for LAX gave me the answers from people on the ground. I remember “watching” Tiger Woods win the US Open on Summize (everything is in real-time…I just followed the commentary). And lately I use it to see what people are saying about Edmonton with the #yeg hashtag.

summize search

Another thing I’ve used Summize for is movie reviews from real people. Let’s say I want to go see Hancock. Of course I’d check a site like Rotten Tomatoes, but what I really want to know is what people thought as soon as they left the theatre – did it suck or not? They can share that via Twitter, simply by sending a text message, and thousands do. Summize allows me to focus on those tweets by searching for Hancock. For common searches like new movies, Summize highlights them as a “trending topic”, visible in the sidebar of the site.

It’s this last kind of search that gets me particularly excited about Summize (and intrigued by the possible Twitter acquisition of Summize). Summize Labs have taken things a step further with Realtime Twitter Sentiment. Now I don’t even have to look through results, I just enter “Hancock” and Summize tells me that the “overall sentiment on this topic is so-so.” Wonder how well it works? A search for Rogers Canada currently says the sentiment is bad (people are upset about the iPhone rate plans). Summize is like a dream come true for marketers – they can find out what people are saying about their product or service in realtime. Very cool stuff.

I think Summize rocks. It has a great interface, powerful features, and it’s fast. Summize makes it possible to find value in the noise created on Twitter.

Speak Clearly Please!

Post ImageAs I mentioned a few days ago, my desktop computer sort of died. Essentially the hard drive that I installed Windows and all my applications to failed (but my separate data drive is fine). Easy enough to fix, but it kind of happened at a good time too. We needed some computers around here at Paramagnus to do various bits of processing, and our development machines were getting fairly sluggish. So with that in mind, we’ll use our old ones for the processing, and we ordered some new machines from Dell.

Now I have read countless accounts in the blogosphere about how crappy Dell’s support is, and I have some friends who love Dell and some who hate it. The reason we went with Dell is that the price was just too good, and I like how they list the details of every component on the site. Everything went smoothly online, but for some reason, they called me and I had to call them back. Dickson also had to call (we did a couple of orders for various reasons). That’s where things went downhill.

Why can’t I speak to someone I can understand?! Everyone I have spoken with at Dell except for one person had a heavy Indian accent (or whatever nationality they are, it doesn’t matter). So much of an accent, that I can’t make our most of what they are saying! If you’re going to hire people to talk to customers, at least make sure the customers will be able to understand them!

Now don’t go getting all huffy at me. I’m not complaining so much about the accent as about the fact that I can’t understand the representatives. Whether they have a heavy accent, are slurring or mumbling, or for whatever other reason cannot speak clearly, it’s all the same to me – they shouldn’t be working in customer support.