This blog is dedicated to the in-depth review, analysis and discussion of technologies related to the search and discovery of information. This blog represents my views only and does not reflect those of my employer, IBM.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

IBM Unveils Free Enterprise Search Engine!

I’ve been itching to talk about this for a while now and the day has finally come. Today, IBM® and Yahoo! have just announced their partnership to offer a free downloadable enterprise search engine. One that is extremely easy to set up and use. IBM’s OmniFind™ Yahoo! Edition can crawl and index up to half a million Web pages and/or file system documents and make them available for search through a simple to use, Yahoo like, Web interface. You should try it out yourself if you haven’t already. You’ll be amazed at how quick and easy it is to set up an index and start searching.

What is unique about this free offering is that it is built upon open source technologies (read my previous post on the benefits of open source). The core indexer is Apache’s Lucene which will continually gain from the rapid high quality improvements made by the open source community. IBM is a member of the Lucene Project Management Committee (PMC) and is actively contributing to Lucene’s development.

But an effective enterprise search solution is more than just the indexer. IBM has taken Lucene’s proven indexing technology and added its own enhancements. IBM has added web and file system crawlers; installation, administrative and search GUIs; monitoring; HTML and office document support, linguistic processing, language support and much more. IBM has managed to assemble these parts, each with their own inherent complexities, into a coherent and extremely easy to use package (see “Search for Dummies”).

And therein lays the key – its ease of use. With just three clicks, installing IBM’s OmniFind™ Yahoo! Edition is a snap. Setting up an index is just as easy. Just point the crawlers to where the enterprise content is and the index is automatically built for you. Within seconds you can start searching what has been discovered to date, even while the crawlers are busy fetching the remaining content. The search application has the familiar and intuitive Yahoo! Web interface which can be customized using a WYSIWYG layout editor. No programming skills required! And for you programmer types you can learn about other customization techniques by reading my article “Adding IBM’s OmniFind Yahoo Edition to Your Web Site”.

Today’s announcement is not about competing with Google. IBM and Yahoo! are focused on information access for the enterprise market, which has different requirements than Google’s consumer market, and where customers are looking for information solutions that go well beyond Google-style keyword search. Nor, is this free offering an affront to Microsoft whose information access portfolio does not provide the growth path to high-value business insight solutions such as those delivering value today to IBM’s clients. IBM’s OmniFind™ Yahoo! Edition revolutionizes the information access market with a no-cost on-ramp to enterprise search.

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