Lucidworks Tag

Reddit Teams with Lucidworks to Build New Search Framework

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TechCrunch | By Ron Miller | September 7, 2017

 

Reddit revealed today that it has teamed with Lucidworks to provide a long-needed, modern search tool for the immensely popular online discussion platform.

 

When you face the kind of scale that Reddit does with over 300 million monthly active users generating 5 million comments and a staggering 40 million searches every day across a more than a million communities, it’s a daunting task to find a search tool to handle that kind of volume.

 

The challenge with Reddit extends beyond indexing these massive numbers. They also have to deal with wide variety of content with text, gifs, images and video by the score. While part of the goal was to improve traditional search functionality and deliver more relevant results, perhaps even more critically, they wanted a tool to help users surface the subjects that interest them without having to explicitly state it in the search box, Nick Caldwell, VP of engineering at Reddit explained.

 

“I think that people who come to any site, and Reddit in particular, prefer an experience where they don’t have to do manual keyword entry, but want a continuous stream of interesting content,” he said.

 

Reddit’s search engine had actually been notoriously bad and Caldwell made upgrading it a priority. “One of the things I wanted to do when I started at Reddit, was I wanted to fix [search]. People have been complaining about it for five years,” he said.

 

Part of the issue up to that point wasn’t a lack of desire to improve the search experience. Everyone understood the issue, but finding the time to update it was another matter. When Caldwell came on board, Reddit had a small team of 40 engineers, whose primary job was keeping a site of this size and scope up and running.

 

Caldwell said that the company went with the Lucidworks Fusion platform because it had the right combination of technology and the ability to augment his engineering team, while helping search to continually evolve on Reddit. Buying a tool was only part of the solution though. Reddit also needed to hire a group of engineers with what Caldwell called “world class search and relevance engineering expertise.” To that end, he has set up a 30-person engineering search team devoted to maximizing the potential of the new search platform.

 

Lucidworks is built on the open source search tool, Apache Solr, but company CEO Will Hayes says the commercial product has been built to scale to Reddit-like proportions. “Solr is the core engine. We still heavily contribute to the open source project, but we put a lot of focus on how people consume data,” Hayes explained.

 

The means working in a streaming fashion to span billions of records in near real time, while using analytics and machine learning to understand the underlying data and deliver more relevant results and content to Reddit users.

 

Today’s search update is part of Reddit’s wider campaign to update the site’s look and feel, which became an organizational priority after the site’s two founders returned to the company — with Alexis Ohanian coming back in 2014 and Steve Huffman in 2015.

 

“With Steve and Alexis coming back, they brought to table that the site should be more welcoming and engaging than it has been in the past. It took the leadership of Steve and Alexis to see that the content we have is really a gold mine, and we have to find a way to present it to users to unlock that potential,” he said.

 

While Lucidworks remains an active partner in the project, Caldwell hopes his team will be able to take over by the end of the year. He says the ultimate goal is a tool that is not only more relevant, but looks better and is more engaging.

 

Find article here: www.techcrunch.com

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Unstructured-data search giant Lucidworks makes its first acquisition

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In addition to helping organizations make their unstructured-data troves searchable, Lucidworks Inc. now wants to provide the tools for visualizing them.

 

The company set its plan in motion today by acquiring Twigkit Ltd, a British provider of dashboarding software that boasts clients such as General Electric Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Thomson Reuters Corp. Its product lineup consists of seven integrated development modules that provide the ability to build a customized visual frontend for interacting with a dataset.

 

A car maker such as Toyota, for instance, could employ Twigkit’s toolkit to aggregate technical documents from its various systems in a central portal where they may be easily accessed by engineers. Analytics teams in turn can use the software for various business intelligence activities. The company said its modules provide the ability to create a wide variety of graphs ranging from standard bar charts to heat maps depicting complex geospatial information.

Moreover, Twigkit provides the ability to do so with considerably less effort than traditional data visualization products. Grant Ingersoll, the chief technology officer of Lucidworks, indicated in a blog post that the toolkit’s ease of use was one of the main motivations behind the acquisition. He highlighted how the software enabled his team to build a financial news application with Thomson Reports in four days when previous attempts took three weeks.

Another big advantage of the Twigkit software is that it can handle data managed by Lucidworks’ Fusion search platform, which should help the acquisition go smoothly from a technical standpoint. Igersoll wrote that his company will work to “more tightly integrate the two applications together” and add new features over the coming months. Twigkit Chief Executive Stefan Olafsson is joining Lucidworks as chief strategy officer to help with the effort, along with Chief Technology Officer Bjarki Holm, who will assume the title of vice president of solutions.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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