What’s the Difference Between’ Now Answered Online

August 18 , 2009

Wondering what the difference is between men and women? Or maybe you want to know the difference between a violin and a fiddle, an apostle and a disciple, an arbitrator and a mediator, or white eggs and brown eggs?

Well, thanks to two recent graduates from McMaster University you can get those answers and more by visiting www.differencebetween.net.

Seralathan Kamalanathan, who graduated from electrical engineering this year, and Sharmila Sanmuganithi, a life sciences graduate in 2007, have created the website to provide explanations for these and hundreds of other vexing queries.

The five most visited comparisons so far:
• Mitosis vs. Meiosis
• Prokaryotes vs. Eukaryotes
• Windows XP vs.Vista
• Diet Coke vs. Coke Zero
• Tylenol vs. Advil

“Everybody has wondered what the difference is between two things at some point in their lives,” said Sharmila. “But most of us don’t have the time or energy to start tracking down definitions and explanations. So we’ve done that work for them. A few strokes of a keyboard and they have their answer. They’ll sleep easier, speak more knowledgeably, avoid an embarrassing situation, or perhaps settle a dispute.”

There are currently 135 pairings posted on the website and another 20 on their way. About 1,500 comparisons, both serious and whimsical, have been identified to date and are being researched, written and verified for posting over the next few months. Visitors can search the site for a comparison or scroll through six categories: science, technology, objects, business, language and miscellaneous.

“We came up with the idea while searching for information about the difference between Diet Coke and Coke Zero,” explains Seralathan. “Now we brainstorm topics by using various search forums and question-and-answer sites to find out what kind of information people are seeking. Topics are also submitted by website visitors.”

DifferenceBetween.net went live in May and was officially launched at the end of July. It is now receiving some 250 visits a day and growing rapidly.

Seralathan Kamalanathan (Electrical Engineering, 2009) [pictured first], along with Sharmila Sanmuganithi (Life Sciences, 2007), have created www.differencebetween.net, a website answering all questions starting "What's the difference between ..."

The duo offers a free daily comparison for those interested in adding this function to their website. And they are also beginning to accept advertising from major online stores in relevant topics, and displaying advertisements from various ad networks.

While Seralathan is currently working on DifferenceBetween.ca full-time, he has enrolled in the Master of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation program at McMaster for this September. He has several other website ideas that he hopes to turn into businesses. Sharmila works on the project part-time while studying in the Respiratory Therapy and Clinical Research Associate programs at the Michener Institute in Toronto.

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