ClearForest Gnosis is early example of the possibilities of semantic web searches, hinting at the facility semantic web applications will allow in the future. Gnosis, a plugin for Firefox or Internet Explorer (link currently unavailable), does a real-time semantic search of textual key words. Gnosis effectively puts a powerful search engine right into the text of any web page you visit.  After processing the page, Gnosis offers a series of hyperlinks, each one operating like a sort of minisearch, highlighting people, organizations, medical conditions, companies, currency, city, country, or industry terms, for example. The thematically color-coded hyperlinks link to automatic searches on Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Linked In, Reuters News, Technorati and various financial


A simple click on the linked word can either Google it, find it in Wikipedia, or, if it’s a person, easily find their Facebook or LinkedIn page. Another way Gnosis makes searching easier is it highlights every instance of a word, instead of just the first time, as is usual on most web sites.

At this point Gnosis mainly serves to make searches faster. It allows you to process a site after you’ve gone to it, or you can choose to automatically search a site by adding its address to the options menu. Not having to leave the text to type in key words certainly allows for a much quicker gathering of contextual information than a traditional search.

Gnosis is part of Thomson Reuters’ semantic web project, OpenCalais, and is integrated into Reuter’s GIST, a “360-degree” news service, featuring articles, images, and videos. GIST aims to use ClearForest searches to create its context-based news pages.

By Mark Alvarez