Baynote Inc. released an open source application Monday that provides businesses with an intuitive search tool for their Web site. Known as Baynote Go, the Apache Foundation Nutch site search engine provides companies with a search tool free from software, hosting and support costs.
Businesses can signup for the free search tool at Baynote Go, for search on their site in three steps. Simply, drop the code into the header page shared across the entire site. Then upload the code to the company's servers.
"Why pay for search when there's a free open source project available," said Jack Jia, CEO at Baynote, a two-year old startup that officially launched the company in June 2006. "Eight out of 10 people today searching for information on a company's Web site can't find what they're looking for."
Data provided by Baynote suggests increasing query results and improving accuracy, even by a fraction of a percent, can increase consumer interest and company revenue because consumers searching for information at online retail sites can find products 60 percent faster.
Retail Internet store Overstock.com knows the importance of making sure searches are fast and complete. It has an internal group focused on tuning and maintaining the search engine on the company's Web site, said Jack Garzella, Overstock.com vice president of data warehousing and reporting. "Search is a big part of our business, and it's important for customers to find what they're looking for on the first try," he said. "Otherwise we could lose sales."
Greg Dowling, senior analyst at research firm JupiterResearch, said more companies have begun to refine search results based on facets. This increases the relevance of search results for people who come to the site looking for information or to purchase a product.
"We're also seeing the ability to refine searches that increase relevance to the end user by feeding in back-ended information, such as click-throughs and sometimes gross margins, and using web analytics to drive relevance," Dowling said. "SLI Systems, which has been doing this for awhile, has a learning search engine that keeps track of search results, so the next time someone searches on a specific keyword the engine will move the item to the top of the list."
The trend toward increasing search relevancy to help people find information in less time has Baynote also launching two other applications along with Baynote Go. They are Baynote Image, and Baynote Distribution. Baynote Image provides an open source VMware packaged with Linux, MySQL, Apache and PHP; and Baynote Distribution, makes the source code available for download.
The free search engine would provide an upgrade path to supported Baynote services, such as Content Guidance, which analyzes visitor search and navigation behaviors, then customizes the Web site search and navigation experience for each user.
Content Guidance, Baynote's first product, which launched in March this year, costs small businesses about $95 monthly, but there's an enterprise version available, too.
Jia said the company supports 16 customers, such as Network Appliance Inc., LSI Logic Corp., Altera Corp., and Xilinx Inc.