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Fancy a visit to Jordan? But could you end up with Andre instead of Amman? Or raspberry ripple instead of Reykjavik?

The internet is fast-becoming the most effective and popular method in which the UK’s holidaymakers research and book their holidays. However, according to Crystal Semantics, the internet content and search company, existing search technologies produce too many unsatisfactory and frequently bizarre results, meaning that consumers are wasting considerable time by trawling through irrelevant and unrelated information. With research showing that 57 per cent of UK holidaymakers research their holidays on the internet and one in five holidaymakers now book their package holidays online* , accurate holiday search results must be much further up the agendas of search operators and online travel agents.

For example, when searching for holiday destinations on the internet, entering ‘Jordan’ into a search engine produces links to the Michael Jordan fan club and websites for the glamour model Jordan before providing links to the country. Alternatively, users need to be careful when booking holidays online to destination names that appear in more than one country. For example, you could try booking a holiday to Genoa, Italy, but end up booking a holiday in Genoa, Nebraska!

In fact, Crystal Semantics estimates that approximately 186 million daily internet searches provide such unsatisfactory results, whether holiday related or not. This can be a nuisance especially when booking and investigating holidays online, as the whole premise of booking online is that it should alleviate stress and cut down on the amount of time usually taken.

The internet produces many other examples of holiday searching confusion. Some are as follows:
· A search for Iceland yields results for the frozen food supermarket
· A search for Bermuda yields results for paranormal sites (Bermuda Triangle) and bermuda shorts
· A search for Turkey yields results for recipes and places to buy poultry.

Crystal Semantics has developed a technology called the ‘Sense Engine’, which produces relevant search results by utilising the senses of words, instead of statistical algorithms as traditionally used in search engines. Each word in the English language has been analysed to determine its potential to discriminate which context the search should cover. The ‘Sense Engine’ identifies all the likely search words, advises the user of the different contexts the search should cover, and categorises the results encyclopaedically providing users with results that are relevant to their request.

Using the ‘Sense Engine’ technology, companies can provide internet users with the information they actually want, whether it is through search and navigation, e-commerce or contextual advertising. For instance, when searching for ‘turkey’, searchers could be offered the option of ‘the country’ or ‘the bird’ before receiving more appropriate results.

David Crystal, chairman of Crystal Semantics, said: “Online shopping is associated with convenience, cost reduction and time savings. Travel websites have become one-stop shops for everything you need: from researching the ins and outs of various destinations and packages, to actually buying your holiday. Making sense of internet searches can improve user experience of the web, and drive more people to use it as a tool to make purchases. The ‘Sense Engine’ enables searches on the internet to be conducted whilst filtering out the superfluous results and presenting you with the exact matches that you are looking for.”


* Figures come from a poll that was conducted by MORI on behalf of ABTA. Between 9 October and 5 November 2004, MORI surveyed 724 adults aged 16 and over, face-to-face, across Great Britain, who had taken a package holiday in the previous 12 months. (MORI, November 2004)

About Crystal Semantics (
Crystal Semantics has developed Textonomy, the first Sense Engine to deliver significantly more accurate and powerful Internet search results. By applying human "senses" and concepts that current algorithms, semantic systems and other statistical techniques cannot match, Textonomy uniquely uses human linguistic intuition, tapping into the semantic relationships between words and the contexts in which they occur. The Textonomy suite of products includes solutions for search and navigation, e-commerce and contextual advertising.

Based in Holyhead, UK, Crystal Semantics is a division of Crystal Reference Systems Limited – an internet content and search company. The company was founded in 2001 by Professor David Crystal, a world authority in linguistics, and managing director, Ian Saunders. It has provided online content for many major publishers including Penguin Books, A&E Television Networks and Webster Publishing and is one of the fastest growing online content publishers in Europe.

Further information
Alex Crawshaw / David Pincott / Kate Bonner, Pirate Communications
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