Exalead Brings Search Application To U.S. - InformationWeek

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Exalead Brings Search Application To U.S.

A French software firm introduces its desktop tool that it claims makes for more precise searches, with versions to come for workgroups, the data center, and the enterprise--all based on a common search technology and user interface.

After five years of marketing its search technology in Europe, Exalead, a French software firm with its roots in Digital Equipment Corp.'s Alta Vista search engine, has brought its technology platform – Exalead one:search – to the American marketplace with Exalead one:desktop Professional Edition.

Exalead one:search technology is the foundation for all of Exalead’s search products, from desktop to enterprise and the Web. The exalead one:desktop software is available for download on the company Web site, www.exalead.com. The exalead one:workgroup, exalead one:enterprise and exalead one:datacenter products are scheduled for general availability later this year.

“The exalead one:search platform is being used by leading global organizations to let their employees conduct more accurate searches, identify subject matter experts, break down communications barriers and do their jobs better in ways that improve their companies’ performance,” said Franois Bourdoncle, cofounder and chief executive officer of Exalead, in a statement. Companies currently using Exalead technology include Air Liquide, AOL France, Astra Zeneca, BNP Paribas, Capgemini, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Danone Group, The Sanger Institute and several French and Italian government agencies.

Coinciding with its entry into the United States market, Exalead is launching version 4.0 of the exalead one:search platform. Its design takes advantage of 64-bit processor architectures and offers a range of advanced search capabilities and innovative navigational tools.

Applications based on Exalead one:search 4.0 are downloadable for quick deployment. They run a variety of 32- and 64-bit operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, UNIX, and Linux. Exalead provides data connectors for most widely used information databases, including SQL, Lotus Notes and Documentum. Exalead one:search supports configurable security that can be adjusted to comply with the security policies set for most common doccument-management applications so that users see only documents they have the access rights for in the repository application. Exalead does not keep cached versions of older documents or recently visited files that have been deleted.

Exalead one:desktop Professional Edition supports a wide range of document files and formats, including multimedia files, e-mail (Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Notes), and Adobe PDF, in addition to popular database applications.

Tools for Refining the Search

The Exalead one:search user interface helps users refine their searches. It doesn't rely solely on ranking algorithms, but allows users to narrow or broaden searches by suggesting terms, document types, and providing thumbnails of documents. This multi-pane interface is standard across the Exalead products, including the company's Web search engine available at www.exalead.com.

Exalead one:search provides a multi-pane interface to help users refine or expand searches.
Click to Enlarge

Users can enter relevant search terms and then easily narrow or broaden search results by clicking on related terms, familiar classification features like e-mail sender, document type, date or language. At any point during a search, users can refocus a search through a single click on a result’s “active ID card.” For instance, one can display all e-mail sent by a given person in one click on that person’s name, regardless of the original query, and then start refining the query again from a new angle.

A document book-marking feature lets users create temporary bookmarks for relevant documents, including e-mails, contacts and Web documents. These links, which can be preserved across search sessions, save users from having to click away from the results page.

Real-time indexing reacts to any document, including e-mails being created, updated, or deleted, so that a user can always have access to the most up-to-date information. A document preview pane shows the contents of each search result, including PDF documents, with all the search terms highlighted, thereby eliminating the need to open a document to evaluate its relevancy.

The exalead one:desktop offers advanced and exclusive search features, including phonetic (“sounds like”), approximate and fuzzy matching searches. Now users don’t need to know the exact spelling of their search query to find relevant documents. Additionally, when a document is not written in a user’s native tongue, exalead one:desktop automatically proposes to translate the document in the preview pane.

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