Thirty years! Happy Birthday Fritz

11/23/2021 – After staging the highly successful man-vs-machine match Garry Kasparov vs X3D Fritz, the ever enterprising Armand Rousso launched a search engine, intended to challenge the supremacy of Google. The launch of “Accoona” in New York in 2004 had a glittering array of special guests (Kasparov, Bill Clinton). The next year Armand did a second publicity event, this time pitting the latest version of Fritz against the newly crowned FIDE World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov.

In our previous history-of-Fritz birthday report I told you about Armand Rousso, the man who showcased his 3D technology by staging a virtual reality match (17 years ago!) between Garry Kasparov and X3D Fritz in New York. It was an unprecedented media success. After that great success Armand, the ever enterprising businessman, went on to launch a new search engine that aimed in taking traffic away from Google.

I was with Armand in Paris and watched him searching for a name for the search engine. Morphy was the first idea of the chess aficionado. But then he went for a name that had two o’s in it – just like the market giant he intended to take on.

Accoona was a service that was supposed to use artificial intelligence to better understand searches. I described how it worked in this article. First experiments with Accoona fascinated me: when I used it to search for “Garry Kasparov”, one entry caught my eye: “3 lives lost, 2 broken” led to an article in the Detroit Free Press that has nothing to do with chess or Kasparov (in fact both words did not occur in the text). But it did contain the name of a victim in a traffic accident: “Gary Weinstein”. The AI in the Accoona search engine apparently knew that Kasparov’s original name was Gary Weinstein and has retrieved (here inappropriately) a story with this name.

In December 2004 Accoona was launched, in a swanky restaurant, Tavern on the Green on West Central Park, New York, with a glittering array of special guests. I was invited and attended

I have described the launch evening in this article. I was especially impressed by Clinton’s keynote speech, which I transcribed in full in my report. The 42nd President of the United States immediately had the audience enthralled. He was eloquent and intelligent, knowledgeable on the subject, effortlessly finding a rapport with the computer people gathered in the hall.

I had the opportunity to chat with Clinton in the VIP suite. I told him he looked a little frail, and he explained that it was from a four-hour quadruple bypass operation he had undergone three months earlier. He went on to give me some very valuable cardiological advice, which I took to heart (pun intended) when I returned to Germany.

Accoona was moderately successful – it was named one of the “50 Coolest Websites of 2006” by Time magazine – and engaged in exclusive partnership with China Daily, a giant Chinese internet portal. But, as you probably guess, it failed to challenge the supremacy of Google. In 2008 it was acquired by Masterseek, the Danish business-to-business search engine, which now encompasses 175 million business profiles, 346 million websites, and 450 million contacts, making it the largest commercial database in the world.

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11/23/2021 – After staging the highly successful man-vs-machine match Garry Kasparov vs X3D Fritz, the ever enterprising Armand Rousso launched a search engine, intended to challenge the supremacy of Google. The launch of “Accoona” in New York in 2004 had a glittering array of special guests (Kasparov, Bill Clinton). The next year Armand did a…

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