February 18, 2009
मुढा भनी टेक्नु कतै म ढलिछु भने
रातमा निद छैन बातमा तुक छैन
आश्चर्य नमान्नु बेहोसिमा चलिछु भने
काँडाका झिँजा सफा भएकै जाती होला
न नीभाउनु भैगो कतै जलिछु भने
नजर झुकाएर हिडन नपर्ला म सित
ठीक्क भो भन्नु थलिएर गलीछु भने
मानसिक सन्तुलनको के भर भो र
कठै!नभन्नु भो रुखमा फलिछु भने
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.
अनायसै परदेशको यो कुटिमा छीर्दै गर्दा आमाको याद आयो । मेरो आमाको अनी आफ्नै नेपाली आमाको । म परदेशिएपछी मेरो ठुलोदाइ ईन्द्र लोहनी बिते, मेरी दिदी उमा सिंह लाई मेरै आफन्तले घाटी काटेर मारे । तर माइलो दाजु ॠषि धमला जेलमा छ । दिदी उमा र ठुलोदाइ ईन्द्र मरेर कती नाम कमाए, यहाँ मैले आफ्नै परिवारको गुणगान नगाउदा नै बेश होला तर त्यो दाजु ॠषिलाई दाई भन्न पनि डर लाग्छ । जसरी त्यसले जग्गा बेच्ने साहिला बाउको घाटी काट्ने ताना बुना बेनेको थियो, भोली मेरै घाटी पो गिड्छ कि भन्ने डर पो लागेर आएको छ ।
तर मेरी आमा सधैं घास पात गर्दै छिन । न छोरी उमा जन्मेर अनी मरेर तिनले सुख पाइन । न ठुलो छोरो सबैको प्यारो भएर मरेकोले सन्तोषको सास फेरिन । तिनिलाई त मरेका सन्तान उमा र ईन्द्र भन्दा जिउदै मरेको लाश भएको माइलो छोरो ॠषि प्रती घृणा छ । जो बाँचेर पनि मरेको छ । जसले आफन्त काटेर १० लाख कमाउने सपना देखेको थियो र आज सपना गुमाएर जेलको चिसो छिडिमा आमा - आमा भनिरहेको छ । मलाई लाज लागेर आएको छ कि मेरै माइलो दाजुको यो बेलिबिस्तार गाएर आँफैले बिरहको गीत गाई बेइज्जतिको शरण लिनु परेको छ । मलाई माफ गर्नुहोला - मेरा आफन्तहरु । मेरी आमालाई मैले भर्खरै फोन गरेको हजुर, आमा यती रुनुभयो कि मैले कसरी बताउ ???, म आँफै भन्दा भन्दै रोएरै मर्छु कि जस्तो लाग्छ । आमाको लागि म त मर्न तयार छु तर ईन्द्र दाई मर्यो, दिदी मरी । अर्को हुतिहारा दाई भनौदो जेलमा सडेको छ । म आफुनै मरे भने त तेही सास मात्र बाँकी भा'की आमाको कसले हेरचाह गर्ला । त्यसैले पासोमा झुन्डिन लागेको यो घाटी पनि कहिले कहिले आमाकै सम्झना र सपनीले गर्दा अल्झिएको छ भनेर चित्त बुझाउन न !!!
भन्दै गर्दा अनी लेख्दै गर्दा अघि भर्खरै काकाले फोन गरेका थिए, भाईलाई कुन चाँही स्यालले मार्यो रे । पहिला बाघले मार्थ्यो रे अहिले त स्याल नै तगडा भएछ, आफन्त मार्न । स्याल तगडा भएछ मेरो गाउँमा । खुशी लाग्यो । बाघका जमाना गए जस्तो छ । तर हामी कसैले नबिर्सिउ कि, पोथी बासेपछी के हुन्छ ? बाघ मरेर स्यालको रजाइ हुँदैछ । म झुन्डिन लागेर आमाको यादले फर्के पनि त्यो राष्ट्रघाती दाजुको रिहाइले फेरी आफन्तैको घाटी रेटिन्छ'की भन्ने पिरले आमालाई डर लागेको छ रे । क्रमश :