In a move being called quirky, IBM and Yahoo will join forces to release a free business-focused search product. If you thought Google was king of taking what others charge for and making it free (Google Docs & Spreadsheets anyone?), think again. In a move right out of the Google handbook, here comes Yahoo & IBM offering for free what Google charges as much as $30,000 for. Here’s how it works:
The idea (whether coming from IBM/Yahoo or Google) is to offer a product that lets organizations comb through their own internal documents much like they’d search through the Internet. The core technology behind this new offering comes from IBM, but the interface, what you’ll see on the screen, comes from Yahoo!.
The product is designed to attract small businesses otherwise not willing to spend the $2,000 to $30,000 to index their data using Google’s version. The top-of-the-line Google product can be used for up to 500,000 documents, coincidentally (not) the same number that IBM and Yahoo’s free
software can handle. Google’s version, however, does come with hardware whereas the IBM/Yahoo version will be offered as a free software download.
If you do choose to use this new free offering, you’ll see your company’s data with results listed in a format similar to what you’d see on Yahoo’s site, only without the ads. But the results will include some links to Yahoo sites, a move likely to earn the company some bonus traffic.
IBM will offer paid phone support for this new business search engine software whereas Yahoo is mostly interested in getting corporate environments hooked on the Yahoo search interface at work so that they’ll use it at home too.
The free product will be called IBM OmniFind Yahoo! Edition and will be available as a free download starting today.