BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- To many it will seem
an odd coupling, but on Wednesday IBM and Yahoo joined forces to announce the
availability of IBM OmniFind Yahoo Edition, an entry-level search software for
corporate Linux and Windows servers. The software is available at no cost from
"We think it's a very complementary relationship,"
says Marc Andrews, program director for information management strategies at
IBM. "Yahoo brings that consumer view of the market and a view into small
businesses, and also the awareness around Web search and easy search for the
Andrews said IBM brings "an understanding of
Apparently, the customer loyalty Yahoo and Google
have gained by offering inexpensive software has had an affect on IBM.
"I think there's a recognition that people are
looking for ease of use," says Andrews.
Those familiar with the often lengthy installation of
such systems will be pleased to find that IBM OmniFind Yahoo Edition
has been designed to install in five minutes, in three clicks or less.
The new search software caters to companies looking
to add basic search functionality to intranets and websites. It integrates with
Yahoo Search for Internet queries.
IBM is hoping that users of its free software will
like what they see and want to add to more sophisticated tools that deliver more
"We actually believe that search is really only the
start of the value proposition for enterprises," says Andrews.
Yahoo, meanwhile, hopes to increase awareness of its
services among businesspeople.
"We haven't been in the enterprise business space per
se," says Eckart Walther, vice president of product management for Yahoo!
Search, "but our products are used in the enterprise." He points to Yahoo
Messenger, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Small Business, and Yahoo HotJobs as examples.
Walther plays down the impact of an IBM/Yahoo
alliance on Google, which has been working steadily since 2002 to get its search
hardware inside enterprises.
"There're a lot of people in the enterprise search
space," he says. "There's Verity, IBM, Oracle. So I don't think it's necessarily
a shot across the Google's bow, but more just finding a great partner and
working with them. I think we'd be doing this even if Google were not in this
But Forrester Research analyst Matt Brown sees the
"I think this announcement is going to create
headaches for Google Enterprise," says Brown. "Their Mini line of products has
been very successful for them. Suddenly here's a downloadable search tool that
has the capacity of the Google Search Appliance being given away for free."
The IBM/Yahoo software supports up to 500,000
documents per server, the same number as the Google Search Appliance.
Brown acknowledges that there's still a cost of
ownership for IBM OmniFind Yahoo Edition, but adds that the servers required to
run the software cost only a few hundred dollars, compared to 1,995 U.S. dollars
for a Google Mini and 30,000 dollars for a Google Search Appliance.
IBM OmniFind Yahoo Edition is based on the open
source Lucene indexing library. As Walther sees it, the increasing use of open
source search technology by companies is significant.
"More and more, we see these kinds of products being
commoditized by open source," he says. "Quite frankly, I think you're going to
see us [Yahoo] more and more investing in open source to create some of the next
generation infrastructure for search and for massive data management,
clustering, parallelization and the like."