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December 13, 2006

IBM bundles Yahoo into free enterprise search product

Taking the strategy of 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em,' IBM Corp is teaming up with Yahoo to add a free entry-level addition to its OmniFind search offerings.

By CBR Staff Writer

The new product, OmniFind Yahoo Edition, bundles Yahoo’s Internet search engine, and is an entry-level version of IBM’s existing OmniFind offering that can search up to 500,000 documents. IBM will also offer optional paid phone support.

Obviously, IBM wants to make money from search. So the Yahoo edition product is intended to provide a hook for organizations that want to get their feet wet with the intent of later adding business analytics, quality insight reporting, e-commerce or customer service self-help. The bundling of the Yahoo search engine provides a familiar starting point.

IBM already offers Enterprise and Discovery editions of OmniFind search, which add semantic search that incorporates synonyms, analytics and natural language query, along with features from IBM’s Information Server that aggregate, cleanse and transform structured information. Entry level products further up the line start at around $30,000 per server.

Of course, the natural comparison here is with Google’s enterprise search appliance, which largely focuses on Intranet offerings.

IBM’s value add is that it adds hooks to other enterprise information assets, such as Lotus Domino Windows SharePoint Services, FileNet repositories, Documentum repositories, shared file systems, relational databases, Microsoft Exchange and others.

And, not surprisingly, it provides native support for WebSphere Portal, enabling you to integrate search of unstructured content with portlets that could support business process management.

IBM is keeping its options open regarding adding the Apache Lucene text search engine into the Apache edition. For now, it is only available in the higher-end paid editions. And IBM is also keeping its options open on whether it will eventually offer OmniFind as an appliance, just as Google is currently doing.

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IBM OmniFind Yahoo Edition can be freely downloaded.

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