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