Desktop search finds the enterprise

X1 Technologies has thrown its hat in the ring for enterprise desktop search, joining big name vendors such as Google, Verity, Autonomy, and a host of smaller players all chasing the red-hot market for PC search.

Although desktop search technologies have been around for years, Google drew renewed attention to the technology last October when it rolled out its Google Desktop Search tool for consumers. Other prominent Web search vendors Ask Jeeves, Microsoft, and Yahoo soon followed suit. In recent months, Google launched an enterprise version of its desktop tool featuring encryption, administrative tools, and support for IBM Lotus Notes. Another search vendor, ISYS Search Software, last month rolled out its ISYS:desktop 7 enterprise desktop search tool.

For corporate users who live in their e-mail inbox and are drowning in information, desktop search is a must-have, according to Whit Andrews, research vice president at Gartner.

"Enterprises that are not encouraging employees to run desktop search are throwing time away in a hole," Andrews said. "Workers increasingly live in their e-mail, treat the inbox as a to-do list, and treat e-mail as a knowledge repository. These people benefit enormously from a robust, effective means to search that content."

X1 Enterprise Edition is server-side software that lets business users access data on their PC and from within enterprise data repositories. The product combines the X1 Desktop Search interface with integrated network Content Connectors that let users access and interact with data in shared file folders, e-mail messages and attachments, and contacts from e-mail systems.

Users can preview search results from an application that doesn't reside on their computer and act upon that information using the core functionality found in the underlying application.

X1's enterprise tool indexes about 370 different file types, includes deployment and administration tools, and works with existing IT and security policies.

"Corporate users are overwhelmed by the amount of unstructured data," said Jeff Kupietzky, vice president of marketing at X1. "But most IT folks continue to spend money on the structured side for content management, knowledge management. Corporate end-users [are getting] distanced from the key information they need."

In coming months X1 plans to add Content Connectors for more applications including Microsoft SharePoint and Interwoven, according to Kupietzky.

X1 Enterprise Edition is priced at US$7,500 per year, which includes the Enterprise Server, Server Manager, Content Connectors, Deployment Manager, and the ability to support thousands of desktop, browser-based, or mobile clients, according to X1 officials.

Launched last month, ISYS Search Software's product, ISYS:desktop 7, features on-the-fly categorization, administrative tools for modifying categories according to business rules, results grouping capabilities, and improved meta data searching and handling.

Meanwhile, enterprise search vendor Verity last month showed its interest in the desktop with its acquisition of 80-20 Software, an Australian developer of desktop search software. 80-20's technology includes enterprise-wide deployment features, administration tools, and compliance with most security protocols, according to Verity officials.

Another player, Accoona, last week launched the Accoona Toolbar and the Accoona Desktop Search Companion, two complementary tools that use artificial intelligence technology in searching both Web content and PC files.

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