Walmart (yes, Walmart) has its own search engine

Most people don't normally associate Walmart with high technology or with software development. However, the world's largest discount retail store chain actually has its own software team, @WalmartLabs. This week, the company announced that team had created its own online search engine.

In a press release, Walmart said that the search engine, called Polaris, will be used on its Walmart.com retail website to help its users find what they are looking to buy. The press release states:

The new search engine uses advanced algorithms including query understanding and synonym mining to glean user intent in delivering results.   When a user types in the word “denim,” it returns results on jeans or “chlorine tablets” returns results related to pool equipment.

The new search engine was created in-house by @WalmartLabs in just 10 months. It will also power Walmart's mobile search operations and will be put in place at its international retail websites in the coming months.

It's an interesting move by Walmart to pretty much bypass already established search engines such as Google or Microsoft's Bing service, which have had years of development behind them. Of course, Walmart is big enough to have their own team create a shopping search engine.

Source: Walmart press release

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25 Comments

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Search engine or no search engine, Wal-Mart has the ********* items out there - there's so much crap in that store and it's horribly cheap! Everything breaks! And buying stuff over there takes forever... the cash registers are the slowest I've ever seen, it's like cash registers from the 1980's. Good God! They make billions a year, you'd think they could at least make better cash registers. But the truth behind it, is it's made on purpose to slow the cashiers minds. Turn them into zombies. Not that working there requires a mind really... nor for being a customer... I think the primary requirement for being a customer is... wait, what's it called... oh yeah! WELLFARE! Lazy *ss fat people who can't go to work!

F*ck Wal-Mart and their f*cking search engine. I boycot the sh*t out of them!

Oh wait, was this a venting session? Oops, my bad.

I hope they put this on Walmart canada, and i hope it works better than whatever crap they had there before... I'd search for 'camping chair' and it would find curtains. At least it got the first letter right i guess...

jasonon said,
i wouldn't call that a search engine, but more of a catalouge search

Your last word was the key to that sentence. "Search"

Yep,
Slow news day

cork1958 said,

Your last word was the key to that sentence. "Search"

Yep,
Slow news day


A search feature isn't a full-blown search engine. For instance, if a forum allowed you to search topics for the 1st time, you think that'll merit media attention claiming the forum just, "launched a new search engine?"

EDIT: Or even more popular websites, yeah it might've gotten some media attention, but I doubt they would use the word, "engine."

Technically such a thing is a search engine, but when you say, "search engine," people usually think you're trying to say you're gonna search the whole web or something, not just a specific thing...

you people do not seem to understand the importance of this.
amzn is the largest online retailer: $54B. much larger than walmart online. however, walmart is largest retailer: $460B. what makes amzn easy to use, the web site. while amzn thinks they have a great logistical network of warehousing, distribution etc. in fact walmarts is much larger. if walmart can make it just as easy to shop online as amzn, with a little web creativity, watch out amzn.

cut said,
walmart i believe at one time provided their own isp i believe

That was KMart with Bluelight.

Walmart does have it's own phone service thru TMobile now. Walmart is getting cooler by the year. =\

CatweazƖe said,
It's just a feature to let you search their web site, why is that news? Lots of sites let you search them.

I guess because usually it's "search whatever.com, powered by Google" or some such, whereas they've developed their own.
... OK, still not really newsworthy

Charisma said,

I guess because usually it's "search whatever.com, powered by Google" or some such, whereas they've developed their own.
... OK, still not really newsworthy

Lots of sites have search engines that aren't powered by google. Walmart's is just a tad more advanced.

Slow news day

Gaffney said,

Lots of sites have search engines that aren't powered by google. Walmart's is just a tad more advanced.

Slow news day


More and more been using google's the last couple of years.

which IMHO is horrible, freaking horrible to find anything and especially recent items.

It won't help you find anything... it will just point vaguely in a direction, mumble something incoherently, then glare at you until you walk away.

I tried 'denim' and it only returned denim jeans.
I tried 'chlorine tablets' and it only returned tablets containing chlorine.

Maybe it's just me but I don't see anything revolutionary.

n_K said,
I tried 'denim' and it only returned denim jeans.
I tried 'chlorine tablets' and it only returned tablets containing chlorine.

Maybe it's just me but I don't see anything revolutionary.

You missed this part

the search engine, called Polaris, will be used on its Walmart.com retail website

n_K said,
I tried 'denim' and it only returned denim jeans.
I tried 'chlorine tablets' and it only returned tablets containing chlorine.

Maybe it's just me but I don't see anything revolutionary.


Ye its not revolutionary, do it on google and you get a few ads and one of the first search results is how to make a bomb from chlorine..

i'd say its revolutionary, the walmart search engine gives you what you're actually looking for!