FT Launches Semantic News Aggregator Newssift

In a surprise move, FT Group’s FT Search unit has debuted Newssift, a semantic news search tool that indexes and aggregates stories from thousands of international businesses news sources. The site lets users “string together a query that can provide insight into the relationship between people, organisations, geography, and business theme”, FT Search CEO Robin Johnson said in the release.

Newssift looks utterly unlike core FT properties, there’s no pink in sight – though, if it works, one imagines it could be rolled under the “FT” banner. So why did FT do it? The company reckons standard, keyword-based search sites are “unable to comprehend contextual relationships”. Newssift features include quantifying the “sentiment” of articles (eg. most stories currently cover Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) “positively”) and the “business topics” feature does a promising job of tracking equities and debt stories, for example. It’s a service squarely aimed at business decision makers, but the release has a consumer-facing example ahead of Mother’s Day: “Newssift can enable you to analyze the state of the floral industry.”