What is hakia and why should I care

I was reading my web ad's again (because I turned adblock off - I'll talk about that some other time).
There's this ad that hits me again and again.

"Can't find what you're searching for on Google?  Try Hakia"

My first impression is great another startup throwing money away...  you are 10 years behind Google.  Give up!

Curiosity got the better of me, so I searched on Google with this exact phrase:
"What is hakia and why should I care"

Google didn't have an answer for me, but it pointed me to a few Hakia websites which I didn't want to go read (after all it's just marketing rubbish written to suck venture capitalists' blood and money dry!).  I also found a link on readwriteweb.  What other people think, now that's far more juicier.

I didn't manage to get past the first sentence when my imagination ran wild.  The magic word?  Semantic Web.

Back in my university days, there was all this talk about the semantic web.  Idea is simple really.
  • Web (http) is designed for people
  • Web will become overloaded with information
  • Machine agents will be necessary to search our results for human queries
  • Web is hard for machines to understand
  • For this to happen, we need either:
    • A really powerful/fast natural language processing system to translate web information on the fly
    • Or someone bored enough to go around tagging all the web data with xml-based RDF's
Of course, Google happened, and people realized they didn't need semantic web... for another 10 years.  There's always the problem of finding answers to really obscure queries that you might have.  Usually, we just blame ourselves for not knowing how to type the Google query.

Try this one.

"who is the first man on the moon"

Hakia at this stage feels REALLY limited.  It doesn't seem to understand a lot of stuff or have answers to many things.  I imagine this is because it hasn't indexed/parsed enough content - what I would like to see is this:
  1. Don't fight Google head on - I don't think this can be won in 10 years.  I think they need some big guys behind their back to go directly against Google...  Ask Jeeves... I think isn't big enough.
  2. Open up the RDF data to machine queries - sell them to volume users like Google, MS, Yahoo, etc.  I'm sure lots of people will be very interested.  Hey Yahoo bought their search from Google for a long time!
  3. Stay relevant enough and long enough so that semantic web might actually take off.

Haha anyway, my love is for the semantic web, not necessarily for Hakia.  But good luck to them for pulling this off.  The web depends on somebody getting down and do this stuff.

Here's what wikipedia has to say about Semantic Web