Creating location services that understand you with Desti
By Renu Rayasam, May 30, 2014
Today, we took a step forward in our ability to personalize search by welcoming Desti’s team to HERE.
At HERE, we see maps as answers to the questions that people have throughout their day. With Desti’s technology, we want to make those answers even more personal.
Desti helps travelers find exactly what they’re looking for using artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology. It’s a spin-off from SRI International, the same research and innovation center that produced Siri and Nuance.
Artificial intelligence for travelers
Desti uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to create deep knowledge of destinations by reading everything about them. For instance, Desti mines the descriptions and reviews of places to understand the difference between a business or a romantic hotel.
Unlike traditional search engines, which index keywords, Desti analyzes the context around the questions people are asking, looking for meaning and intent by aiming to create a natural dialogue with them. The search results are therefore more relevant because they naturally take into account people’s preferences. They are not the same for everyone and people don’t have to then pick through the results — a tedious process we would all be happy to avoid.
Basically, it’s like having your best friend and a local resident get together to plan your trips. If I was trying to plan a girls’ weekend, for example, Desti would know that I eschew chain hotels for offbeat, boutique lodgings and give me just those results, along with the types of restaurants, spas and clubs I normally gravitate towards. Combined with the detailed reference model of the world that HERE has built over decades, that technology can better respond to people’s needs wherever they are.
Humanizing computers for better location services
At HERE we recognize that the world is changing quickly and that mapmaking must evolve. Our plans to incorporate Desti technology into our location platform is aimed at enabling us to better anticipate the questions people have throughout their day.
“At HERE we match people with the places that matter to them, so that they feel like a local wherever they are,” said Don Zereski, HERE VP of Search and Places. “We want to create a new class of location services that implicitly understands who you are and what you’re looking for, sometimes even before you ask.”
Though Desti is less than two years old, it is already meeting people’s desires for unique travel experiences. According to the Huffington Post it’s a “virtual travel agency that aspires to master human-like judgment and taste.”
What we particularly like about Desti is its humanized approach as opposed to the robotic and unemotional traditional search engines.
“We are humanizing computers to a certain degree,” Desti co-founder Nadav Gur told the Huffington Post last year. “We’re making them experts.”