February 18, 2009

Sagoon Interview with Govinda Giri

Sagoon is a brand new search engine by Nepalese entrepreneurs. Being Nepalese we always admire our countrymen craving a big path. When I heard about sagoon, I just jumped into its site and started searching all kinds of things. I compared with google, yahoo and msn. I am not exaggerating, but I found sagoon was equally powerful as google, lets not count yahoo and msn. Before posting my conversation with Govinda Giri, Postak Shrestha posted one article from weeklynepal.com. Newbie engineers claimed Sagoon is using yahoo index. I like to say just one thing, lets not go after vocabulary as we Nepalese like to create words and explain, lets do it. I am not blaming to anyone but lets lead to right direction. We have habit of baffling. Lets act like Govinda Giri and his team and target for high goal. My attempt to contact Govinda ji really succeed. Finally he gave some time to my questions. You may be surprised is it the section "blog inside blog". No it is not. But it is kinda funny having a lot of conversations in Dautari. In fact I was trying to write a blog regarding Sagoon but Govinda Ji answered in better way. So I changed my mind and I have presented here "sagoon - dautari queries" in the form of questions and answers.

What makes Sagoon different from the plethora of search engines such as Google, www.cuil.com, www.clusty.com, www.yahoo.com, www.answers.com, etc?

Govinda: Sagoon will be only one week old by the time you publish this message. It would not be fair to compare it with well-funded and established companies like Google, Cuil, Yahoo, or Clusty. In any case, it would be inappropriate to go into the details of Sagoon’s technology while addressing the general user. Their concern is to find information efficiently and Sagoon’s main concern is to help them achieve it. As for evaluating how different Sagoon is from other search engines, our users are the best judges.

Why search engine? Why not other applications?

Govinda: We are not into building software applications. Sagoon was an idea which was based, even at its very conception, on serving the needs of internet users. However, the beta version which we have just launched reflects only 20% of the entire project. That means there is much more in store for users at Sagoon.

What is your background (and Shiba's)?, Where did you study?, Where in Nepal are both of you from?

Govinda: I am originally from Leguwa, Dhankuta, but I grew up at my maternal home at Akhibuin-Sankhuwa-Sava. I graduated from RR Campus, Kathmandu. While I was a post-graduate student of Nepali Literature at TU in 1994, I left for the United States to study Computer Science. I graduated in 1999 and went on to pursue MBA in Technology Management. However, that is pending due to my involvement in Sagoon.

Mr. Shiba Dhakal, my friend, comes from Jhapa. He graduated from Nepal Law Campus, Kathmandu, Nepal. He also graduated from Stratford University VA in Computer Science.

Do you think that the recession will hit your company?

Govinda: Not really. Online business has not really been affected by the recession as yet. Major players in this business still report that their returns are 30% higher than last year.

Can you simplify this: "The key idea behind the Sagoon technology – "Random Vector Model" – is to promote semantic search over the regular lexical search to provide more meaningful information to users”?

Govinda: We are developing a new computer algorithm that makes search results accurate. Normal search queries are conducted by scanning Mata tags but our system will scan whole documents.

Isn't Google still an unbeatable rival in search engines? Google uses machines for the searches. Do you do the same?

Govinda: Yes. But Sagoon’s technology is not entirely run by machines. A team of experts are also involved in its implementation.

You've mentioned in the press release: Sagoon as a "New world class Internet Search Engine". How so?

Govinda: Sagoon is a general Internet Search Engine. It is not vertical or location/country based. It will provide world class information on any topic and query. We are adding other unique services, including news in different languages. News in Nepali is a feature included in honor of our Nepali identity.

How is the initial feedback to your product?

Govinda: The feedback has been positive and encouraging. We have received enthusiastic responses from South Asian communities around the world, especially the Indian and Nepali communities. The name of our brand, “Sagoon”, is already a household term among the one and a half billion population in the East. We only need to spread the word that it stands for technology as well.

Do you have any plans to invest in the IT sector in Nepal?

Govinda: Yes. If we get the opportunity, we would definitely invest in Nepal’s IT sector. However, current political situation does not encourage foreign investment and Nepal still needs to work hard to create the right environment for it.

What inspired you to launch Sagoon?

User point of view
All major search engines were designed for keyword search. Keyword search, however, becomes difficult for general public at some point. They have to keep coming up with words related to the kind of information they are looking for. This is a problem which my wife Sushila and uncle, Dilnath Giri, both faced. When Sushila was a graduate student, she was involved in a lot of research but she had trouble finding information online with keyword search. For my uncle, it was a problem reading news online via such a search option. Here, I came up providing them easy solution with browsing options which would help locate information more efficiently. Our portal thus provides various browsing TABs options including keyword search options.

Information point of view
As major search engines are more or less dominated with Western information, my challenge was to help create a search portal which would provide as much scope for information from the Eastern half of the world. Our portal will therefore also focus on Eastern cultures, peoples, businesses, and religions, with the result that it will be rich in content from both parts of the world.

Brand name point of view
Beside Yahoo and Google, other search engines are experiencing a corporate brand name problem. For example, Microsoft’s MSN and Live search are struggling to establish their brand name. Cuil.com, on the other hand, received a lot of comments for not having a corporate brand name and selecting a difficult name. I found “Sagoon” a household name which is easy to remember, easy to pronounce, and which has a meaning that is auspicious for the internet search business.

Business point of view
Small and medium size businesses do not get enough space for advertisements on major search engines. One of the major reasons behind the launch of Sagoon is to provide small businesses fair participation in the online promotion of business. We have already completed our Advertise section and it is currently pending for review by business experts.

Design and layout point of view
There is a huge demand for simplified and cleaner user interface design. Most of the top search engines still follow designs from the 90s. Sagoon, on the other hand, aims to follow trends which are currently popular with users.

Technological point of view
As online users are becoming increasingly technology-savvy, they are no longer satisfied with traditional search results. Now, semantic technology is the most discussed topic in the internet search industry. But it is not easy for already well-established search engines to implement such a technology as they would have to re-index their numerous sites again. For a start-up, such a question does not arise and we can easily use this new technology. Apart from this, we have also built a unique technology called “Random-Vector Model” for providing better service to our users.

How much capital have you invested? How many employees do you have in your company?

Govinda: Compared to other start-up search engines, we have invested a very small amount of money. Our company has a total of 15 employees currently.

How many unique visitors does your site get per day?

Govinda: Sagoon gets about 4 million hits.

Why doesn't Sagoon have picture search? Don't you think it will put it at a disadvantage as most other search engines have that feature?

Govinda: Yes, our design is different. We provide picture search but in the browsing view. If you type a keyword in the search box, the picture will be displayed in one of the TABs on the search result page.

Update Feb 21: Dautari interview with Sagoon has been mixed up with other news portal because of technical problem. Sorry for inconvenience.


Anonymous said...

सगुनको नाममा झुटको खेती
काठमाडौं। सूचना प्रविधिको क्षेत्रमा गुगल र याहु सर्च इन्जिनसंग प्रतिस्पर्धा गर्ने भनेर प्रचारमा ल्याइएको सगुन सर्च इन्जिनका निर्माताले झुटको खेती गरिरहेको रहस्य खुलेको छ। अमेरिका प्रवासका गोविन्द गिरी र शिव ढकालले निर्माण गरेको उक्त सर्च इन्जिन दुई दिने गृहकार्य बराबर भएको इन्जिनियरिङ कलेजमा अध्ययनरत नेपाली विद्यार्थीहरूले दावी गरेका छन्। याहु सर्च इन्जिनको याहु बोस एपीआई (एप्लीकेशन प्रोगामिङ इन्टरफेस) प्रयोग गरेर निर्माण गरिएको उक्त इन्जिनले याहुमा संकलित डाटा बाहेक कुनै जानकारी नराखेको विद्यार्थीहरूको दावी छ। भर्खरै कान्तिपुर इन्जिनियरिङ कलेजबाट इन्जिनियरिङ सकेका प्रदीप चौधरी भन्छन्–'याहुको एपीआई प्रयोग गरेर बनाइएको उक्त सर्च इन्जिन जस्ले पनि बनाउन सक्छ।' लगानी भएमा नेपाली सफ्टवेयर इन्जिनियरहरूले त्यो भन्दा हजार गुना राम्रो र आफ्नै अस्तित्व भएको सर्च इन्जिन निर्माण गर्न सक्ने उनको दावी छ। अमेरिकामा रहेका दुइ नेपालीले बनाएको 'सगुन' नेपाली विद्यार्थीहरूले कलेजमा गर्ने दुइ दिने प्रोजेक्ट मात्र भएको उनको दावी छ। वेभ डेभ्लपरले याहुको डेभ्लपर नेटवर्कमा आफ्नो सूचना सहित डाटा इन्ट्री गरेपछि जो कोहीले सगुन जस्तै सर्च इन्जिन बनाउन सक्नेछन् भने सूचना याहुले संकलित गरेका डाटाहरु मात्र सगुनमा उपलव्ध छ। उनीहरूले दुई साताअघि सगुन डटकम परिक्षणका लागि सार्वजनिक गरेका हुन्। कुनै क्षेत्र वा देशमा आधारित नभई कुनै पनि विषयमा विश्वस्तरको सूचना दिने भनेर प्रचारमा ल्याइएको सगुनमा याहु सर्च इन्जिनद्वारा संकलित डाटा वाहेक केही पाउन सकिदैन। अमेरिकामा बसोवास गरी प्रविधि व्यवस्थापनमा एमवीए गर्दै गरेका गोविन्द र कम्प्यूटर विज्ञानमा स्नातकोत्तर गरेका शिवले निर्माण गरिएको सगुनको एप्लिकेशन समेत नया दिल्लीस्थित एलिक्जिर वेव सोलुसनले निर्माण गरेको हो। इन्टरनेट सर्चलाई प्रभावकारी बनाउन विभिन्न लोकप्रिय सर्च इन्जिनसंग साझेदारी गरेको भनिएपनि कानुनी रुपमा अहिलेसम्म सगुनको कोहीसंग साझेदारी रहेको छैन। दिनरात मेहनत गरेर निर्माण गरिएको भनी प्रचार गरिएको सगुनले के अब साच्चिकै गुगल, याहु लगायतका सर्च इन्जिनसंग प्रतिस्पर्धा गर्ला त? विषय सोचनिय छ।


ल है कम्प्यूटरबिज्ञ साथीहरु, कुरो के हो, स्पष्ट पारौं

पीजी said...

बधाई छ भन्न नपाउंदै अर्को समाचार आएछ । मैले पनि पोस्तकजीले राखेको समाचार पढे पछि आज नै आंफुलाई एउटा कुरा चाहिएकोले त्यसको बारेमा खोज्नलाई सगुन, याहु र गुगल तीन वटैलाई प्रयोग गरें ।

SYBER Green भन्ने केमिकल सर्च गर्दा वेब सर्चमा खासै यो वेबबाटै लिएको भन्ने छुट्टयाउन नसकिए पनि इमेज सर्चमा हुबहु याहूको रिजल्ट देखाउंछ ।

अर्को तर्फ यसको प्लस प्वाइन्टको कुरा गर्दा हिन्दि र नेपाली न्युजहरु पढ्न पनि सकिन्छ, अर्कै स्रोतको भए पनि । हुन त अहिले नेपाल ब्ला ब्ला डटकम जुन कोरिया देखि खाडि तथा युरोपसम्मबाट प्रकाशित हुन्छन धेरैले सोझै अर्काको समाचार साइटसंग लिंक गरेर समाचार हालिदिन्छन । त्यसैले यो क्षेत्रीय स्तरको साइटको हिसाबले चिनिन सक्ला तर एउटा पुर्ण सर्च इन्जिन वा याहु, एम एस एन वा गुगल जस्तो आफ्नै रिसोर्स भएको साइटसंग तुलना गर्न अलि नमिल्ला । इन्टरनेट सर्चको लागि आजकल अधिकांशले याहू, एम एस एन समेत प्रयोग नगरेर गुगललाई नै प्रयोग गर्छन । त्यसैले त्यो भीडभाडमा आंफुलाई सर्च इन्जिन भनेर टिकाउन कति गार्हो होला थाहा भएन तर भोलि माइक्रोसफ्टहरुले झिना मसिना सर्च साइटलाई पनि किन्न थाले भने यसले पनि त्यतिबेला बजारमा राम्रै दाम पाउला । शुभकामना छ उज्वल व्यापारिक सफलताको लागि !

आंफु कम्प्युटरको विज्ञ नभएकोले प्राविधिक कुरा धेरै जानाकारी छैन, जानेका मित्रहरुबाट नै यसबारेमा थाहा होला ।

ठरकि दादा said...

नया कार्यको सफलताको शुभकामना सहित आफ्नि कुरा राख्दैछु ।

पहिलो कुरा मैले याहु र गुगल शम तुलनात्मक रुपमा हेर्दा ठ्याक्कै याहूकै जस्तो रिजल्ट भने पाईंन ।

tabbed result को concept भने राम्रो लाग्यो ।

बरु नेपाली युनिकोडमा सर्च गर्दा मेरोमा भने राम्रो रिजल्ट देखिएन। सबैकोमा त्यस्तै हो कि के हो बुझ्न सकिएन ।

भर्खरै जन्मेको नया सर्च ईन्जिनलाई अहिलेनै गुगल, याहु वा त्यस्तै अन्य कुनै पुराना स्थापित कम्पनिसंग दाँज्नु भने अहिलेको लागी अति चाँडो भयो जस्तो लाग्छ मलाई।

अब यो “Random-Vector Model” र कि वर्ड मात्रै नखोजी पुरै डकुमेन्ट खोज्ने प्रबिधिको बारेमा भने केहि समय प्रयोग गरेपछि मात्रै थाहा होला।

जे होस सगुनको सफलताको लागि शुभकामना ।

Anonymous said...

गोबिन्दजीहरु निरुत्साहित नहुनूहोला। छापामा आएको कुरो राखिदिएको मात्र हुँ। आफु पनि केही नगर्ने, अरुले केही गर्न खोज्दा खिसीट्यूरी गर्ने मान्छेको कमी छैन। बधाइ छ।

पीजी said...

ठरकीजी तपाईंले वेब सर्च गर्नु भयो होला, वेब सर्चमा मैले पनि कसैबाट लिएको जस्तो देखिने कुरो छुट्टयाउन सकिन ।

तर याहूको इमेज सर्चमा र सगुनको इमेज सर्चमा SYBR Green भन्ने शब्द टाइप गर्नु भयो भने सबै चित्रहरु दुबैका क्रमैशमग मिल्छन ( दुवै सर्चमा चित्र नं १० मा हरियो भ्यागुतो पाउनुहुन्छ । याहुमा पहिलो पेजमा छ, सगुनमा दोस्रोमा आउँछ )

हामी पनि के कम अब नेपालीको पौरखलाई त मान्नै पर्यो, याहूले सगुनको डाटाबेसको सर्च गरेछ भन्दिम्ला नि !

अनि यति छिटो नेपाली पत्रिका किन खोइरो खन्ने स्थितिमा पुगेछ ? मेरो बिचारमा चाहिने भन्दा हल्ला पो बढी भयो कि! कुनै पनि एक्शनले रियाक्सन निम्त्याउँछ भन्छन, जस्तो हाम्रा कंचनपुरका भट्टजी "नासा"मा वैज्ञानिक भए जस्तै कुरो ।

प्रोपोगाण्डा र मार्केटिङ भिन्दा भिन्दै वस्तु भए पनि नेपालमा प्रोपागाण्डा strategy चल्छ वा चलाइन्छ जुन दिर्घकालीन व्यावसायिक हितमा हुन सक्दैन ।

माथि दैनिक ४ मिलियन हिट भन्नु भएको रैछ त्यो भनेको त धेरै हो जस्तो लाग्छ । अनि प्रेस रिलिज हेर्नेमा म ९८ नम्बरमा थिएं केहि घण्टा अगाडिको कुरा ।

आज मेरो धेरै कामको लागि सगुनलाई नै सर्च इन्जिन बनाए ।
गोविन्दजी र शिवजी शुभकामना छ फेरि पनि सफलताको ।

Anonymous said...

आफुले नगर्ने , अर्काले गरेको लाई पनि खोट लगाउने बानि त राम्रो होईन । तर पनि सगुनको बारेमा केहि आफुँले बुझेको कुरा पस्केको छु । माथि पोष्तक जीले राख्नुभएको लेखले भने जस्तै याहुले आफ्नो सर्च ईन्फ्रास्ट्रक्चर सर्वसाधारण को लागी BOSS (Build your Own Search Service) API मार्फत खुला गरेको छ । http://developer.yahoo.com/search/boss/boss_guide/ हेर्नुहोला । यो एपि आई द्वार तपाई याहुलाई पर्दा पछाडिको संयन्त्र बनायर वेभ सर्च, ईमेज सर्च, समाचार सर्च , साईट को एक्सप्लोर तथा स्पेलिंङ सजेस्सन जस्ता सुबिधा भएको सर्च ईन्जीन तपाई केहि घण्टा मै तयार पार्न सक्नुहुन्छ । हो सगुन को मुख्य ब्याक बोन भनेको यो याहुको एपिआई हो अहिले लाई । पर्दा पछाडि , याहु बाट फरक देखाउन यस्ले याहु एपिआई बाट आएको रिजल्ट लाई "झिनो" प्रोसेसीग गरेको छ(हाललाई वेभ सर्च मात्र) ।

समग्रमा भन्दा यो राम्रो थालनी हो तर गरेको भन्दा बढि गुणगान गाउनु राम्रो होईन जस्तो लाग्छ । सर्वसाधारणलाई जे गरेको हो त्यो भन्न सक्नु पर्छ । हो उहाहरुले अव याहु को अवधारणा अनुशार आफुले नया थप्न सक्नु हुन्छ , जुन मलाई लाग्छ उहाहरु गर्दै हुनुहुन्छ होला ।

धेरै भन्न जरुरी देख्दिन याहनिर , तपाईहरु को प्रयास सफल होस , तपाईहरुले हाम्रो लेखि केहि त गर्नु भएको छ , तर जुन प्रख्याती तपाईहरुले पाउनु भएको छ अहिले , त्यो प्रख्याती यतिबेला यो काम लाई दिन मिल्दैन जस्तो लाग्छ मलाई । एक दिन तपाईहरुको आफ्नै ईन्फ्रास्ट्रक्चर सहित यो कार्यक्रम ले बिकाश पावोस। त्यो दिनको प्रखाईमा छौ हामीहरु ! तपाई स्वयँ लाई नै थाह होला कति गर्नु भयो र कति गर्न छ ?

Aakar said...

gud luck...
तर यदी यो पत्रिकाले लेखेको जस्तै हो भने चाँहि खासै उपलब्धिमुलक रहेन यी कामहरु !

Anonymous said...

let's not start playing games and say something that we don't know, yes, Sagoon is using Yahoo Boss for the web, I think it's because they don't have sufficient funds at this time BUT have you guys checked the NEWS section, it is the main PART of Sagoon till now, they are using the "Random vector model" the algorithm that is solely used by Sagoon..., I bet you won't find any other search engine using this algorithm, and I heard that they are in process of using this same vector model for the web section also after they get some funding. So let's stop playing games and hope for the BEST. Good Luck Sagoon

nepalean said...

जब सगुन लन्च भयो मैले सरसरती हेरेको थिए सगुन कत्तिको शक्तीमान छ भनेर। मैले खोजेका शब्दहरु सगुन र गुगलमा समान जस्ता थिए भने याहु,कुल आदी ले अन्ट सन्ट देखाइ रहेका थिए। त्यसैले मैले सगुन उत्तम भनेको हुं। तर सगुनले याहू को बोसलाइ उपयोग गरेको भनेर समाचार आयो। ल है त dautari शब्द खोजु सबै साइटमा।
लौ जा google ले त सगुनसंगको ब्लग नै नं १ मा राखेको रहेछ।
"But it is kinda funny having a lot of conversations in Dautari. In fact I was trying to write a blog regarding Sagoon but Govinda Ji answered in better way"
sagoonमा पनि दौंतरीकै रहेछ।"But it is kinda funny having a lot of conversations in Dautari.
"yahooमा "But it is kinda funny having a lot of conversations in Dautari."
भने पछि अब कस्ले कस्को कपि गर्य भनौं? म त भन्छु प्रतीष्पर्दा कडा छ। तर एउटै Dautari शब्दले यसरी जेनेरेलाइजेसन गर्नु त हुदैन तर पनि एउटा सानो अध्यन मात्र गरेको ।

Anonymous said...

Google a world leader was also using data of Yahoo when it was launched ... so it takes time .. I don't think there is any problem for sharing data .. Sagoon will also rule the world, let us just wait...and see

Anonymous said...

Do you have any update of Sagoon? Is it doing really well or it just became a marketing gimmick?
Alexa says Sagoon.com has a traffic rank of: 120,232. Isn't that pretty low?

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your commits.
Sagoon has not been involved much in marketing, but planning to go big media coverage, after completes our directory section.
Sagoon is currently modifying its search, indexing and ranking algorithm. Our news section is much more appealing than before and we are still working.
Currently we are about to launch a dedicated site for "India Election 09"

Please stay in touch.

Sagoon Inc

Sanjeev Shrestha said...

I am really disappointed! hearing sagoon implements semantic rather than lexical related technology. The results are from yahoo search. No doubt about it. I create a search engine earlier in 2007 named xabbel.org which is a search engine that donates its revenue to projects in developing countries. please visit us.xabbel.org and compare the results. Xabbel uses yahoo feeds for search.

What else can be said? I really appreciate what they have done but a lie is always a lie.

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