Oingo was a showcase for the companies meaning-based search technology. Later they renamed in Applied Semantics. 2004 Applied Semantics has been accquired by Google.

Language English

Launched Feb 2000
Closed Aug 2000

Developer Weissman, Adam and Gil Elbaz

Country of Origin US America

2000 - 2000 Oingo, Inc.

Topic Universal

Region No Limitation

Technical functionalities
Semantic search

Used SeEn AltaVista
Open Directory Project

Older Version Internet Archive / WebCite

Greg Nottes (March 2000): »Oingo has moved out of beta. It now offers its "meaning-based search" technology royalty-free to portals and other content providers. It remains to be seen who may take up Oingo on the offer. Meanwhile, its site continues to use the Open Directory and AltaVista database to showcase its product.« Source

About: »Oingo is the Internet's first meaning-based search engine. By going beyond searching for just simple text characters, Oingo brings the most relevant information to you. Oingo is the first search engine on the web that allows you to refine your search based on the actual meaning of your search words or search phrase.

Because written language isn't a perfect science. There are so many ways of saying the same thing, so many synonyms, so many similar terms and phrases. Meaning-based search is a search performed on the meanings of words rather than on the text alone. A search engine should be intelligent enough to bring you the best information based on what you mean - no matter how you choose to express yourself.

Oingo meaning-based search is a much more intuitive and human way of searching. Using the Oingo Lexicon™, a rich database of words, meanings, and relationships, Oingo seeks first to understand the user's query and then return the best search results.

We welcome you to use and to play with the Oingo search engine! We believe you will find Oingo comprehensive, precise, and unique. Most importantly, you will find Oingo to be a valuable tool for searching the Internet. « Source »Where did Oingo's meaning-based search engine go? It returned a list of sites related to a given meaning, not just words. For example, one could search Oingo for "search engine", and get a list of search engines, and not pages with that phrase or those words but not directly related to the subject.« Source

Paula J. Hane (1999): »« »Oingo, Inc., a privately held company based in Los Angeles, was started in November 1998 by two Cal Tech alumni, Adam Weissman and current company CEO Gil Elbaz. Oingo launched in beta at Fall 1999 Internet World, winning the "Best of Show" Award for Outstanding Internet Service. In early December, the company announced the official launch of the service and invited portals, content providers, and other e-businesses to incorporate the Oingo meaning-based search technology royalty-free. Oingo Free Search includes a set of tools to enable Webmasters to seamlessly integrate Oingo's search technology into any Web site.

"During our beta phase, we were overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback we received from our end users," said Eytan Elbaz, Oingo's director of business development. "With Oingo Free Search, we extend the benefits of our technology to Internet users on a much broader scale. This marks the first time that such a compelling search product has been offered at no cost."

He also indicated that this is an introductory product that they hope will grab market interest and generate support for meaning-based search technology. The company plans to make available additional search products during the first quarter of 2000 that will generate revenue for Oingo based on a per-search license fee, and offer additional concept-driven search customization capabilities.

Oingo currently indexes the entire Netscape Open Directory Project (ODP), which also serves as the basic directory for a number of other search engines. A target document for Oingo thus consists of a single subject page from the ODP. A search consists of several steps. First, a word or phrase is typed by the user, then the user is presented with specific meanings and the option to refine and limit the search to specific meanings for a word, as in the Java example above. An advantage of working from a lexicon with meanings is that users can do a conceptually fuzzy search. In other words, the system will also look for what the user meant but didn't say. Oingo's motto is "We know what you mean."

In the section on Search Tips, the user is advised that "Oingo is not a natural language search. This means that you will get better results when you search for phrases instead of entire sentences." The Oingo search engine includes the ability to require that all results be relevant to a specific entered meaning. This is analogous to a Boolean AND operation. By entering a plus sign (+) before a term, the user can indicate that a result must "hit" either the plain text of that term or a meaning that is semantically similar to the meaning implied by that term. According to the company, the addition of more complex Boolean operations is currently under development.

Elbaz indicated that the company is talking with some of the major portals and has already arranged some licensing deals that will be announced soon. He said that would be embedding Oingo into its Instant Expert service.« Source


Paula J. Hane (1999): »About that name, Oingo, here's what Elbaz said when I asked: "Oingo is actually an acronym, but we're not saying what is stands for just yet. It has to do a lot with our next big project, and we don't want to give anything away until we have to." Hmmm, I wonder if there's a connection somehow to that eclectic '80s music group in Southern California that could "never really be categorized" (which, of course, I found by searching "Oingo" in Oingo)? …« Source

Critical points

Features & Functionality


References & further Publications

Wikipedia (EN): n.a.
Wikipedia (Others): n.a.

Other Sources

Arun Radhakrishnan (2007): Oingo Meaning Engine, Semantic Search & Google URL:
Paula J. Hane (1999): Beyond Keyword Searching—Oingo and Introduce Meaning-Based Searching URL:

Created: 2018-07-15