Fast enterprise search gets personal

Fast Search & Transfer has joined the crowded desktop search arena with its release this week of the Fast Personal Search Platform (PSP).

After Google wooed the world one year ago with its free desktop search tool, numerous Web and enterprise search technology vendors have jumped into desktop search as well, with offerings ranging from free, downloadable services to server-side, IT-friendly software.

The customizable Fast Personal Search Platform can tie into back-end applications and Web search.

Using the product's APIs, developers can connect Fast PSP to enterprise applications such as CRM, SFA, and ERP and embed proprietary features into the framework.

Based on the Fast enterprise search technology, PSP uses techniques such as entity extraction, query operators, and advanced navigation to search text, data, e-mail, audio, images, and video.

The buzz generated by desktop search offerings from Google and others is making corporate workers crave the same experience within the firewall, according to Ali Riaz, president of Fast.

Fast's customizable platform lets system integrators and ISVs completely rebrand and reconfigure the desktop search tool, Riaz said.

In addition, PSP can become part of other products, such as an Intranet, portal, or sales application, he said.

"This is the ability to personally direct and configure what you call [the] desktop, [with] what you want to look at," Riaz said.

With Fast's entry, corporate workers now have a dizzying array of choices for enterprise-grade desktop search.

According to Whit Andrews, research vice president at Gartner, enterprise workers mulling their options for desktop search should be on the lookout for security, support, index management, a fluid and comfortable interface, and the ability to integrate desktop search to enterprise search.

In spite of the hype, the need for desktop search in enterprises is real, he said.

Desktop search "is very valuable for corporate workers," Andrews said. "Once they understand [how to use] desktop search, [workers] can't conceive of a time when they did not have it."

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