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Search Engines Leave Professionals at a Loss

When searches fail, more than half conclude “it’s there, but I can’t find it;” 70 percent get lost and end up in unexpected places

A new survey of U.S. professionals reveals that many do not get the results they are looking for and are forced to abandon their efforts when they use popular Internet search engines for work-related research. The survey of more than 1,000 professionals, commissioned by Convera Corp. (NASDAQ: CNVR), tracks professionals’ search habits, successes and failures — revealing hidden problems and the price of fruitless search.

The survey reveals the critical challenges to productive search at work:

Professionals rely on Web search at work, but results are inconsistent and mediocre.

  • A commanding 95 percent of professionals find Internet search engines an aid for conducting work, yet only 40 percent say they are very satisfied with the results.
  • Only 21 percent feel that their search query is always understood.
  • Less than 25 percent of professionals are very confident that when using popular Internet search engines they’ve looked everywhere to find answers.

They get lost online.

  • Just one in 10 professionals always finds exactly what he or she is looking for on the first attempt.
  • About 70 percent admit getting sidetracked during the search process and end up on sites they didn’t expect to visit and are not relevant to their work.
  • More than 60 percent disclosed they do not ask for help when lost, while 80 percent said they have never been trained to use the advanced search feature.

Businesses pay employees to hunt for information that can’t be found and make decisions without all the facts.

  • Surprisingly, when searches do not return precise information, more than half of professionals believe the information they’re seeking exists, but they do not have the skills to find it.
  • One third of professionals will make decisions without all the facts they need after a series of search attempts fails to help them.

“Professionals need a search engine that gives them authoritative and relevant results very quickly,” said Kurt Gastrock, Convera’s chief operating officer. “Consumer search engines are designed around consumer needs. As a result, they are not as productive as search engines tuned to specific professional communities.”

The search for professional-grade alternatives

The survey also questioned professionals on how they address failed searches. While 90 percent tend to enter into the same search engine a new term that has a similar meaning hoping for better results, 60 percent will try another popular search engine. And more than half will try a vertical or topic specific search engine.

The survey asked professionals about their preference for vertical or topic specific search engines being developed by trade publications and professional organizations.

Nearly 90 percent of professionals believe that such search engines would offer more relevant content than popular Internet search engines.

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  • Eighty-six percent feel these tools would find information more quickly.
  • And 85 percent believe they would offer access to content not indexed by popular search engines

About Convera

Convera is a leading provider of search technologies for professional workers. Convera has developed a unified product platform that makes sense of vast amounts of information — wherever it resides — across multiple data formats, languages and meanings. Based on proprietary technologies that extract relevant results from public and private data, Convera enables professionals to quickly retrieve exactly the information essential for action. The Convera search platform, TrueKnowledge Platform™, is delivered as a hosted service, software or a bundled hardware and software package. Thousands of government and business professionals in 40 countries rely on Convera search solutions to power a broad range of mission critical applications.

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