Tauranga tech features in MS Office 2007

Microsoft embraces Kiwi search technology

Tauranga-based Pingar, which develops search technology, is one of four global companies chosen by UK Trade and Investment to attend the 2008 UK Technology, Innovation and Growth Forum, being held in London tomorrow.

Pingar has been working with the UK Trade and Investment entrepreneur programme for about a year, after the company declared an interest in expanding into the UK and European markets, says Pingar’s managing director, Peter Wren-Hilton.

Wren-Hilton hopes that attending — and showcasing — at the forum will provide an opportunity to network as well as demonstrate Pingar’s product, and boost the company's profile in the UK.

Pingar’s technology is a little different because, rather than using keyword-search, it understands contextual queries, says Wren-Hilton. Users can search online by asking a direct question, he says. Pingar takes the contextual query and searches a number of data sources, it then extracts the relevant content from each source and creates a PDF document containing the extracted data, he says. The technology aims to significantly speed up browsing.

Pingar launches a beta of its platform this week. SmartAnalytics portal, a part of the Pingar platform, is also included in Microsoft’s latest version of Office 2007 and IE 7. This helped pique UK Trade and Investment’s interest, says Wren-Hilton.

The portal provides online tools which are designed to help users create their own analyses. Interactive charts allow users to compare company performance across a range of financial and technical parameters, he says.

Pingar was officially set up in 2006. The company has two staff at its Tauranga headquarters, three in the UK and nine in Bangalore, where most of the development takes place, says Wren-Hilton. The company also works closely with the University of Waikato, primarily around developing algorithms for user-profiling and understanding user behaviour, he says.

“The University of Waikato has been great to work with, and we will continue to do so alongside our partnership with Microsoft,” says Wren-Hilton. Pingar works closely with Microsoft Labs in Reading in the UK.

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