to help e-buyers with new search subsidiary Inc. will launch a subsidiary called Inc. that will develop technology designed to help consumers search for products online and make better and more informed buying decisions, a spokeswoman for said Thursday.

Scheduled to launch in October, will be fully owned by but it will be operated independently and branded separately from its parent, said Alison Diboll, founder and president of Diboll & Associates Marketing and Public Relations., which will be based in Palo Alto, California, will license its technology to and to other Web sites, she said. At launch, the company will have about 30 employees, a figure expected to rise significantly over time, she said.

While it makes sense for to offer this type of technology to its customers, it's not clear whether it's smart for them to get into the business of developing it, said Rob Lancaster, a senior analyst at The Yankee Group. Developing search technology isn't simple, so it remains to be seen how effective's offering will turn out to be, he said. could have instead have gone out and acquired the technology, he said.

However, has the money to invest and if the technology is a hit, and its subsidiary will tap into a big market, since this type of service is in high demand from consumers and merchants, he said. Consumers are always looking for good search technology, especially when they're out on the Web planning to buy something. Meanwhile, this technology appeals to merchants because it delivers to their sites Web surfers with an intention to buy a specific product, Lancaster said.

Diboll declined to give details about the search technology will develop, other than to say it will "improve customers' e-commerce experiences by providing them with the most relevant products" they are looking for. This would include information such as pricing, availability and features, she said. "The company hasn't yet been formed, so we can't comment on the specific nuances of the functionality," she said.

News about first appeared on Thursday in the online edition of The Wall Street Journal.

Diboll also declined to comment on the competition will face, but similar e-commerce search services are already available from rivals Google Inc., AskJeeves Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

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