by Mielle Sullivan, Janus Networks

There have been several attempts to use crowdsourcing to help users find the information they are looking for on the web. The whole social bookmarking approach can be seen as a human solution to a mass of information and less-than-perfect search results. Google even displaysStumbleUpon ratted sites with a star ranking for SU users. While knowing a site is popular can be helpful for many searches, a recommendation from a friend is usually more valuable.

Enter Semanti, a Firefox add-on that combines search results, semantic parsing and friend recommendations through Facebook Connect. Just install the add-on and start saving search results you like with the Semanti button. Semanti stores your queries and saved results, so the next time you search for the same term (or something similar) on Google, Yahoo or Bing, the saved results will appear at the top. Next, invite yourFacebook friends to use Semanti and their favored results will also appear at the top of your search results. You can access your Semanti saved searches on any computer or any search engine, as long as the add-on is installed in your browser.

The semantic parsing is also personalized, by you. Instead of relying on complex language software to determine what you mean in a given searchquerie, Semanti displays several definitions in a definition menu. If you need to specify what you meant to refine your search, simply click on the menu and chose from the variety of meanings.

Of course the power of the “friendsourcing” will depend on how many of your friends adopt the tool. Given the mass of add-ons for Firefox, you may have to sell your friends on the concept. However, the one-click bookmarking and automatic return of favored searches on similar terms makes Semanti atime-saver for me, even if I can’t get any of my friends to use it. No longer will I need to try and remember which site was useful the last time I searched for something, Semanti saves it all right there. Plus, I may even get a little help form my friends.

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