From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Yossarian Lives
Type of site
search engine, metaphorical search engine
Available inEnglish
HeadquartersLondon, UK
OwnerYossarian Lives, Ltd.
Created byJ. Paul Neeley, Daniel Foster-Smith
Alexa rank2,082,073 (July 2013)[1]
LaunchedAlpha - December, 2012
Current statusActive

Yossarian Lives is a metaphorical search engine, a type of Internet search engine.[2] Its algorithms return results that are disparate, but potentially metaphorically related to the user's query. These results are intended to encourage creative thinking and diversity of thought. "We don't want you to know what everyone else knows, we want you to generate new knowledge."[2] The search engine emphasizes new knowledge vs. the reinforcing of existing information.[3] The site works to avoid the "filter bubble" by returning results that are conceptually related but disparate, compared with traditional search engines that return the most popular or common results.[4]

The company is based in London, UK.


Yossarian Lives was founded by Daniel Foster-Smith, and J. Paul Neeley in 2011. The idea for the engine came to Foster-Smith & Neeley in February 2011 during a late night conversation while students at the Royal College of Art in Design Interactions.[4][5][6]

Neeley states that Yossarian Lives aims to find new ways around the "filter bubble," helping people generate new ideas, suggesting that "Search engines make suggestions based on what everyone else has searched for. Instead of inviting us to stretch or grow, these algorithms collapse possibilities."[4]

The ambitions and difficulties of the project have been highlighted by observers.[2] As an example, YossarianLives talks about "The Stephen Fry Problem," an issue where individual users' understanding of particular metaphors vary.[7]

The name of the search engine has been a topic of discussion.[8] According to a New Scientist article, "The name is derived from the anti-hero of the novel Catch-22, as the company wants to solve the catch-22 of existing search engines, which they say help us to access current knowledge but also harm us by reinforcing that knowledge above all else."[2] Neeley defends the name and suggests it is working well for the company.[8] The company outlines several reasons why they love the name, and suggest that on several occasions it has been called the best company name ever.[9]


The site currently uses metaphor to return images that are conceptually related to the query.[10]

A "Resonance" button improves the users search results over time.[10]


Yossarian Lives has seen coverage in The Observer, WIRED, the New Scientist, the Metro, and the TImes of India.[4][6][10][11][12]

The Observer suggested YossarianLives was "out there" but "if it works, potentially disruptive."[11] A "look the other way" search engine good for "generating ideas."[10]

WIRED has called the engine "the metaphorical google."[6]

In June 2011 Yossarian Lives won a Deutsche Bank Award. The awards provide funding for creative enterprise in the UK.[3]

In November 2011 Yossarian Lives won a placement in Wave IV at InnovationRCA,[13] a James Dyson and NESTA funded incubator.[14]

YossarianLives! was a finalist at Seedcamp's January London 2012 Event,[11][15] and the winner of the Thinking Digital Start-Up Competition in May 2012.[12]

In January 2013 in an article on Google the future of search by The Observer, Yossarian Lives was listed as a Google alternative along with Wolfram Alpha, Facebook Graph Search, and DuckDuckGo.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Yossarianlives.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  2. ^ a b c d Aron, Jacob (24 February 2012). "Metaphorical search engine finds creative new meanings". New Scientist.
  3. ^ a b Deutsche Bank (n.d.). "Deutsche Bank Awards 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Dang, Gitanjali (14 April 2012). "Finding more than what you seek". Times of India.
  5. ^ YossarianLives! (n.d.). "FAQ". Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Cheshire, Tom (5 April 2012). "Search the metaphorical Google with YossarianLives". WIRED.
  7. ^ YossarianLives! (n.d.). "The Stephen Fry Problem". Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  8. ^ a b Thinking Digital. "Thinking Digital Startup Competition". Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  9. ^ YossarianLives!. "What's in a name". Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e Tim Adams (19 January 2013). "Google and the future of search: Amit Singhal and the Knowledge Graph".
  11. ^ a b c Silver, James (5 February 2012). "Seedcamp London: the other Dragons' Den". The Observer.
  12. ^ a b Ross McGuinness (5 June 2012). "Thinking big with the Thinking Digital technology conference". the Metro.
  13. ^ InnovationRCA (19 January 2013). "Welcome to Wave V: seven new ventures join the InnovationRCA Incubator".
  14. ^ InnovationRCA. "Business Incubation". Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  15. ^ Seedcamp. "Introducing a record 22 Teams for Seedcamp London". Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013.

External links[edit]