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Rednano lets you zero in on local content - Mar 19, 2008 (ST)

BackMar 19, 2008

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Rednano lets you zero in on local content

PIE = expressway; Tiger = budget airline - SPH search engine will deliver Singapore-centric results to users.

By Chua Hian Hou
Mar 19, 2008
The Straits Times

LOOK for 'pie' on the new Rednano search engine and you will not get deluged with recipes for apple meringue or steak and kidney pie.

Instead, what comes up first will be everything you need to know about the Pan Island Expressway, including where its electronic road pricing gantries are located.

And if you look for 'tiger', don't expect information on the striped feline. Rednano will first deliver the lowdown on the budget airline and the beer.

The chief appeal of the new search engine launched yesterday by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is that users will get to Singapore information they are looking for more directly.

Being Singapore-centric is key at rednano.com.sg which zeroes in on the local while filtering out the pointless.

It also aims to include additional content that might add value to a basic enquiry.

Search for 'environmentally-friendly cars', for example, and what pops up will be news of local developments as well as reviews and pictures of such cars.

There will also be names and addresses of companies selling such cars, maps locating showrooms and even the type of traffic conditions a person might meet getting there.

Rednano was developed by SPH Search - a joint venture between SPH and Norwegian media group Schibsted ASA which has created local search engines in Norway and Sweden.

SPH Search chief executive officer Paul Jansen said Rednano was developed to meet the needs of users who want to access relevant information without having to sift through the useless bits.

Mr Jansen told a launch ceremony yesterday that while the Internet is 'becoming increasingly a place to go to for information...it is also a frustrating place'.

Besides the vast and oft-confusing amount of information online, users also have to 'navigate past the irrelevant, the pornography, and the misdirections of spammers', he said.

Search engines can certainly help, but 'even the best global ones lack one particular, and important, characteristic - 'local' knowledge', he said.

Rednano can go local because it can tap into the rich resources of SPH built up over 100 years, said Mr Jansen.

And while SPH is behind it, results will still be objective. Rednano will search for, and deliver 'content carried by anyone - colleagues or competitors, trusted journalists or enthusiastic hobbyists - as long as it's relevant to the searcher's needs', he said.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan told the launch ceremony guests, who included Norwegian ambassador Janne Julsrud, that there is room for a 'uniquely Singapore' search engine that can go one-up on foreign ones 'by addressing and plugging the gaps in search results on Singapore'.

Mr Lee pointed out how going local allowed China's Baidu.com to capture 60 per cent of the market share there, thrashing Google's 26 per cent slice.

The search market has become a cyber-goldmine.

The International Herald Tribune reported earlier this month that 'search-related advertising has made up the biggest share of the fastest-growing ad medium, the Internet'.

Globally, advertisers are estimated to spend nearly US$20 billion (S$27.5 billion) worldwide this year on search advertisements like those that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft sell, it said.

The new SPH service - access it at www.rednano.sg - is free. Revenue will be generated through advertising. There are plans to launch it in another language, likely Chinese.