Language Multilingual

Launched Since early 2000 in the Internet Archive.
Closed 2007

Developer WISEnut, Inc.

Country of Origin US America

1999 - 2002 WISEnut, Inc.
2002 - 2007 LookSmart

Topic Universal

Region No Limitation

Technical functionalities
Crawler-based, algorithmic SeEn
Community of distributed web crawler

Used SeEn WiseNut

Older Version Internet Archive / WebCite

»WiseNut, Inc., is an advanced search technology company founded by Yeogirl Yun, [...]. WiseNut’s mission is to become the leading provider of advanced technology and services in the Internet search market. Founded in August 1999 and based in Santa Clara, WiseNut has made great progress toward this goal. In just over a year, WiseNut has been successful in developing the fastest, smartest and most comprehensive search engine. [...] And WiseNut has begun its global expansion through a joint venture in Korea — Korea WiseNut ( — which has launched the Korean version of the WiseNut search engine.« Source

»WiseNut was not independent long as it was quickly purchased by LookSmart. [...] LookSmart has been busy rewriting the WiseNut code to incorporate it into their business plan and mesh the WiseNut search engine with the LookSmart directory. WiseNut now backs up LookSmart directory listings.« »WiseNut provides backup search results to LookSmart.« Source

2002: »LookSmart has quietly relaunched its Wisenut search engine, bolstering its technology and refreshing its index with a brand new crawl of the web. Last year, Wisenut was often mentioned in the media as a potential "Google killer," an underdog with novel technology that could potentially unseat the champ of web search. When LookSmart purchased the search engine in April of this year, industry watchers scratched their heads, wondering how a search engine using crawler based technology fit with LookSmart's business model of using human editors to compile directories of the web. LookSmart is preparing to answer those questions soon, with upcoming announcements of new partnerships and customers. We'll take an in-depth look the company's new strategy sometime in October. Meanwhile, take a look at the re-engineered Wisenut search engine. Like Google and most of the other major search engines, Wisenut puts a lot of emphasis on link analysis, but also adds a few other ingredients to its secret sauce for calculating relevance. "We spend more time judging quality of each link than some of the other engines do," said Peter Adams, LookSmart's Chief Technology Officer. "We spend a lot of time not just counting quantity but also looking at the quality based on the context of the connections." In addition to link analysis, Wisenut also emphasizes the proximity of search terms in underlying documents, computing results in real time, based on your specific query. Wisenut's index currently consists of just over 900 million documents, indexed within the past 60 days. LookSmart plans to both increase the size of the index and completely refresh it every 30 days, beginning next month.« Source

2003: »LookSmart is taking a new approach to discovering web content, offering a free downloadable screensaver program that also crawls the web when your computer is idle. The program is Grub, the distributed crawling service that LookSmart bought in January for $1.4 million. Most crawlers are centralized, run from each search engine's data centers. Grub, on the other hand, runs from the computers of anyone who has downloaded and installed the Grub client. LookSmart plans to use the information gathered by Grub crawlers to supplement the centralized crawls run by its Wisenut search engine. "Fundamentally, the first problem we're trying to solve with our acquisition of Grub is that we know about many more documents than we can actually retrieve and analyze right now," said Peter Adams, chief technology officer of LookSmart. "We know about over 10 billion URLs right now, and we see that trend growing in terms of web pages that are being added." [...] "Our first objective is to build a community of distributed web crawlers that will allow us to crawl all of the web documents every day," Adams said. "Not necessarily to index them all, but to assemble a database of information about them -- what's new, what's dead, what's changed." The Grub crawler visits a list of essentially random URLs sent down from a central server. It retrieves pages and analyzes them, creating a "fingerprint" of a document, a unique sort of code that describes the document. Each time a page is crawled, Grub compares the new code to the old code. If it's different, that signals there's been a change to the page. "Instead of crawling and send everything back, we only have the crawlers send back changed information," said Adams. This intermediate analysis of a page is impossible for centralized crawlers to perform, since they must retrieve a page and store it in the search engine's database before any analysis can be performed. LookSmart believes that this distributed approach to crawling will be vital to coping with the growth of the Internet, and assuring that search engines continue to produce relevant results.« Source

Sullivan, Danny (Mar 3, 2003): »The New Breed: ... WiseNut (2001- ): This service gained attention in 2001 and was snapped up by LookSmart in early 2002. The company has since been working to improve its technology and freshness, but the work still hasn't finished.« Source


Critical points

»WiseNut is one of the larger search engines out there, but it's popularity has withered due to poor timeliness in updating.« Source

Features & Functionality

»WiseGuide are basically search suggestions that are related to what you're searching for - it's a great way to narrow down or broaden your search. For instance, in my search for "snow", an extremely general search term, my WiseGuide search suggestions were much more helpful.« »WiseNut also offers a neat little advanced search widget that they call WiseSearch; basically, they're helping you "search like an expert."Simply type in the keywords in the boxes offered, set a couple of basic parameters, and you might get lucky. This is just basic search syntax ...« Source


»WiseNut offers the ability to limit to one or more of 25 languages. This is only available under "set search preferences."« Source

References & further Publications

Wikipedia (EN):
Wikipedia (Others):

Other Sources

WiseNut URL:
LookSmart Revives Wisenut Search Engine URL:
Wisenut, the Google Killer? Nah... URL:
Review of WiseNut URL:
LookSmart Closes Wisenut Search Engine URL:
WiseNut URL:
LookSmart to Buy WiseNut URL:
Aaron Wall: WiseNut URL:
Help LookSmart Crawl the Web URL:
Sullivan, Danny (Mar 3, 2003): Where Are They Now? Search Engines We've Known & Loved URL:
Metamend: Wisenut Search Engine Optimization Strategy URL:

Created: 2015-02-19