Glasgow Smart Search Engine Uses CCTV & Social Media To Gather Results

Since Google dominates the search engine market and its nearest rivals Bing and Yahoo! barely get a look in, you have to do something unique or offer something different just to get noticed. Many have plugged features like privacy as their main hook, but a team of computer scientists from the University of Glasgow are developing a search engine with a difference.

TechWeek Europe reports that the search engine technology, known as Terrier, uses data collected from the physical world to provide answers to search queries. Through information collected from sensors such as CCTV cameras and microphone arrays and cross-referencing it with results from social networks such as Twitter, users will be able to receive detailed responses to questions and provide ‘intelligent’ results.

So if you wanted to find out how busy the city centre is, your search query will take into account sound and video data as well as social media activity to provide you with a detailed answer. The search will also include the results of processing algorithms such as face detectors, person trackers, classifiers of acoustic events and crowd analyses.

The European funded project, known as SMART (Search engine for MultimediA Environment geneRated ContenT), will be built on an open-source search engine technology. The university has been working on the technology since 2004. The university’s research builds on the existing concept of “smart cities,” spaces covered with intelligent sensors that provide searchable information

“The main point is that users will be able to find interesting events in the city and find out what people are saying about the events in social networks such as Twitter,” said Dr. Iadh Ounis in an interview with BBC Radio Scotland.

Their partners include Atos, Athens Information Technology, IBM’s Haifa Research Lab, Imperial College London, City of Snatander, PRISA Digital, Telesto and Consorzio S3 Log. It’s hoped that the technology will be ready for tested in a real city by 2014.

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