Fast Search -- 2-AU-99. Thanks to Stockman Scott|
Mohan Marette who wrote (138276)
Monday, Aug 2 1999 1:50PM ET
Respond to Post # 138308 of 138370
*** 'Fast Search insists that size matters' ***
Special to CNET News.com
August 2, 1999, 10:05 a.m. PT
When it comes to search engines, Norwegian company Fast Search & Transfer is betting that size does matter.
The company today will unveil what it is marketing as "the world's biggest search engine", which it says will scan 200 million
of the Web's estimated 800 million pages.
"It's an important milestone," said Danny Sullivan, a London-based editor of Search Engine Watch, an online newsletter.
Fast Search is entering a field dominated by Inktomi, which contracts out its search engine to larger network sites such as
Lycos, Snap, Yahoo, and America Online . Inktomi scans 110 million pages. Northern Light Technology's Northern Light,
a Web community with its own search engine, boasts a 150 million Web page search. Other search engines scan even
"In our mind that's a subtle form of censorship," said David Burns, chief executive of Fast Search & Transfer, a unit of
Oslo-based Fast Search & Transfer ASA. "There are gems out there."
Yet size may be more significant for publicity than for popularity, Sullivan said. A bigger searching base does not necessarily
produce better results.
The larger base may be good for researching scientific or obscure topics, but it won't alleviate the frustration many users
experience when their searches result in thousands and even millions of seemingly irrelevant Web sites, Sullivan said.
"The most important thing comes down to being most relevant," he said. "They have to work on that."
Inktomi, the leader in providing search engines to portals, is focusing on improving its match capabilities, rather than its size,
Sullivan said. The new direction was prompted by pressure from upstarts such as Direct Hit Technologies. Its Direct Hit
search engine answers queries according to the most popularly viewed pages within a topic.
HotBot, Inktomi's flagship customer, now uses Direct Hit as a first priority for searches and uses Inktomi as a back-up.
Direct Hit, founded in April 1998, just completed a $26 million round of funding from two private investment firms, TA
Associates and Draper Fisher Jurvetson, said chief executive Mike Cassidy. He said the company plans to launch an initial
public offering soon.
Then there's Google, which also began last year. Google searches through only 75 million Web pages. However, its
popularity is spreading because of the quality of the search results, Sullivan said.
But Fast Search has its sights on even a loftier cyber goal. Within a year, the company said its search engine will scan the
entire Web, now estimated by industry experts at around 800 million pages and growing. Burns insisted that a larger base
will mean more accurate searches.
In addition to promising the world of the Web, Fast Search says it can deliver vast searches within one second and will
update its spectrum every 15 days, purging dead, out-of-date Web pages.
Fast Search has about 1,000 shareholders and is 45 percent owned by Norwegian firm Opticom, which is developing
plastic as a means to store data rather than silicon.
Brodin said the company, which is traded on the over-the-counter market in Oslo, plans a public offering by the end of the
year to be traded on the Nasdaq exchange.
Since May, the company received $11.5 million in funding in private placements and from the over-the-counter market in
Its current market value is about $630 million, said Espen Brodin, chief executive of parent company Fast Search and
Brodin, who holds a doctorate in philosophy, first became interested in searches and research when he cataloged the
20,000 pages of Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein's diaries.
Story Copyright © 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.>>