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This article was published on January 29, 2010

Is Arabic search about to change?

Is Arabic search about to change?
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Embee is a digital marketing consultant for a Cairo-based Internet consultancy by day. A passionate techie by night who fiddles with web app Embee is a digital marketing consultant for a Cairo-based Internet consultancy by day. A passionate techie by night who fiddles with web applications, tinkers with web services, and follows tech-happenings in Cairo. Get in touch with her on Twitter, or email her.

KhawarizmyArabic content online has always been a challenge to work with and publicize, but that might be changing soon.

Services like Maren and Yamli have made working with the Arabic language online much easier, since you don’t have to know the Arabic keyboard by heart to be able to work with it at a reasonable pace.

The other leg of Arabic content online remains a challenge: search engines and web crawlers cannot identify Arabic words – they just read them as a bulk, but can’t tell the letters apart, and can’t differentiate different versions of the same word [singular vs plural – subject vs object]. One of the pillars of SEO is unique content, and since search engines cannot make heads from tails with the actual content and meaning, SEO for Arabic content and websites remains at a crawling speed.

An Egyptian entrepreneur is about to change all that. AlKhawarizmy was founded in 2006 by Dr. Hossam Mahgoub for the sole purpose of developing and refining the technology he worked on for the past 20 years – a technology that understands Arabic content and as such is able to search it, index it, and work with it.
AlKhawarizmy has three products:

  • KSearch and KIndexer which together make a complete and comprehensive search engine that allows users to search for all the different inflections of a word or phrase – while taking into account wildcards, different possible meanings, as well as searching for a word’s stem. The search engine allows for literal and semantic search, opening a world of possibilities.
  • KMorph a service capable of analyzing words, and returning their prefix, suffix, stem and meaning.
  • KSpell a spell-checker and spelling correction service.

The three products together form a very strong suite that is bound to change the current state of Arabic content online. AlKhawarizmy is currently funded by the Egyptian government through its IT development agency ITIDA.

With the Yahoo! – Maktoob deal in 2009, and how much ground Yahoo! covered with such a buyout, one can only wonder what would happen to the Arabic web if AlKhawarizmy attracts the attention of other search engines.

I highly recommend you give their KSearch a go!