IBM’s Web Fountain

I mentioned IBM's "web fountain" once before. Now this article on IBM's melding of research and product development brings it up again.

One of the ways IBM has done that is a program called "first of a kind." This happens when researchers meet with a customer to develop a custom product. Sometimes, if the custom product is successful, IBM will replicate the product and sell it to other customers.

This is the case with something called Web Fountain, which Horn refers to as "Google on steroids."

The company has high hopes for Web Fountain, which was originally developed for a record company. The technology reads and understands text, and uses natural language to make correlations between words. Unlike traditional search, Web Fountain searches everything on the Web, including chat rooms, when set to that parameter. In the case of the record company, Horn says Web Fountain was a two-week leading indicator of sales. "The buzz in the chat rooms for an upcoming CD indicated what was going to be a hot seller."

Alfred Spector, vice president of services and software for IBM Research, says the company will begin selling pieces of this technology later this year. It can be applied not only to basic search but tacked onto call center and e-mail applications.

The article's focus is really on IBM's strategy, which you would think I would like, but for once I am more focused on the technology. This really amazes me, and I wonder why we aren't hearing more about it.

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