A startup called Recorded Future has developed a tool that scrapes real-time data from the Internet to find hints of what will happen in the future. For example, a search for information about drug company Merck generates a timeline showing not only recent news on earnings but also when various drug trials registered with the website clinicaltrials.gov will end in coming years. The company’s search tool spits out results on a timeline that stretches into the future as well as the past. The 18-month-old company gained attention earlier this year after receiving money from the venture capital arms of both Google and the CIA. Now the company has offered a glimpse of how its technology works. Conventional search engines like Google use links to rank and connect different Web pages. Recorded Future’s software goes a level deeper by analyzing the content of pages to track the “invisible” connections between people, places, and events described online.

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