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Search Engines Receive Funding Boost
Sci & Tech

Search Engines Receive Funding Boost

Just over 170 trillion rials ($52 million at market exchange rate) have been allocated for developing local search engines, secretary of the Strategic Council for Local Search Engine Plan said.
The Telecommunications Company of Iran has allocated the budget for a five-year period. The budget is expected to cover the expenses of setting up the engines, developing the needed infrastructures, legal support, research and development, customer service and maintenance, Alireza Yari said.
According to the official, the project is dedicated to offering local services, content creation and idea development.
"To achieve the strategic goals of the plan, several projects have been prepared and the budget for each is being estimated," IRNA quoted him as saying on Wednesday.
"The council will organize all the procedures of the plan. It will also supervise the planning, policymaking, prioritizing and implementation of the projects."
Yari added that progress reports will also be prepared and delivered to the High Technical Council of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology on a regular basis.
"The project's minor strategies focus on providing services that are in line with local language and culture," he explained.
"The plan is to promote the Persian language and its different dialects, as well as raise awareness of local cultural issues," he said adding that providing mobile and location based services is also a priority.
According to Yari, the search engines will ease access to governmental and non-governmental bases that do not show up in results delivered by existing search engines.
What distinguishes that local search engines from foreign versions is that local engines generally promote local content (documents, audio files and videos) and services.

  Parsijoo
Early in June, Mojgan Farhoudi, secretary of the technical workgroup of the local search engine Parsijoo.ir (meaning Persian Search), said the beta version of the website covers 500 million Persian websites and "the next step is to increase the number to one billion."
According to Farhoudi, Parsijoo was launched after nearly two years of research and development, and it is known for its practicality, simplicity, diversity and accuracy.
"Over 200,000 users refer to the website on a daily basis. To improve search results, the team regularly assesses user preferences," she said.
Users can search for maps, images, audio files, news, weather forecasts and translation services through the website.
Farhoudi believes that in order to boost search quality and speed, infrastructures must also be fortified.

  Yooz
The first official Iranian search engine "Yooz"—Cheetah in Farsi—was unveiled in February.
At the unveiling ceremony, Mahmoud Vaezi, minister of communications and information technology, said "we do not intend to compete with or limit access to Google."
Financial Tribune's survey in May revealed search engines Google, Yahoo and ask.com are among the top ten most visited websites in Iran.
The minister stressed that the expansion of local search engines will help intensify data protection.
"Iran presents a competitive market and people will ultimately use whichever search engine best satisfies their demands," Vaezi said.
Unless a search engine can "provide a range of services and is user friendly, it cannot expect to gain a large share of the market for the sole reason of having been developed by Iranians," he explained.
According to Vaezi, the ministry invested nearly 70 billion rials ($2 million) to develop the search engine. Over 80 professors from five universities collaborated to develop Yooz over a four-year period. The search engine currently stores one billion Persian websites on its 150 servers. The number of pages can increase to 10 billion.  
Several Iranians have been reluctant to use local variants of search engines on the grounds that the results are filtered. Therefore, several specialists have criticized the ministry for channeling extensive funds toward such engine projects.
Some tech enthusiasts have questioned the government's logic of funding the search engines while discussing with Google the possibility of setting up office in Tehran in March.

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