IBM's WebFountain search project isn't new. We've mentioned it before. However, it appears that IBM has decided to push the publicity machine on this one, as a bunch of articles started appearing in many different places about WebFountain this week. No doubt about it; search is hot. There's no need to go through all of the articles. ZDNet has a pretty good overview of WebFountain and the San Jose Mercury News talks with its creators. While the press likes to pitch WebFountain as Google on steroids, they don't seem to be looking at offering up general web search just yet. They're much more focused on applications designed specifically for enterprises. The technology is supposed to dig deeper to get a sense of context and "meaning" out of what's on the internet (including chat rooms and other non-static information sources) in order to answer more general questions. For example, people can use it to check on their "reputation" on the internet, or see if a certain product has any "buzz". They also have a financial services application that is designed for fraud prevention. It certainly sounds like an interesting application of the technology (some of which comes out of the same research that Google was based on), but it doesn't seem like it's designed to be a Google-killer just yet.
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