Anand Rajaraman

Walmart is deploying a new internally-built search engine to power and ultimately increase sales conversions from searches. The Polaris search engine, developed by @WalmartLabs, has been in use for the last few months and has already boosted conversions to sales by 10-15 percent, the company said. Polaris grew out of the semantic technology brought over through Walmart's acquisition last year of Kosmix, including Kosmix's social genome project, which connects people to places, events and products. While Kosmix founders Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, who led the newly established @WalmartLabs, have moved on, Walmart is making good use of their technology.

Bentonville, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said in a Friday emailed statement that the co-heads of its technology unit @WalmartLabs are leaving the company. Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, who ran the 200- person unit in San Bruno, Calif., are taking some time off from the industry, according to the statement. The pair took the helm of @WalmartLabs when Wal-Mart bought their company Kosmix last year. Wal-Mart said the rest of the technology team will remain intact.

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