Three facts about Fast Search & Transfer are hard to grasp for many webmasters:
- The company is one of the fastest growing high tech companies worldwide
- Fast delivers a rather modest part of the worldwide websearch volume
- Their public searchengine Alltheweb.com is a pure showcase
The parts of this puzzle all come together nicely, when looking at the Norwegian based companies new main product.
FAST Data Search 3.0 combines all parts of Fast's technology. It is a data search solution second to none.
All features working on the surface and behind the scenes of Alltheweb plus some more are bundled in Fast Data Search.
Previous versions of the product work for some of the worlds leading corporations, like Ebay, IBM, Reuters or Ericsson. It's bundled to portal products of BEA, Microsoft, TIBCO and leading system providers.
Of course, this product, while modularised and scalable, is not aimed at Mom and Pops online shop. It's corporate search Fast is going for - that's where the money is.
Looking at the features and modules of Data Search 3.0 anyhow allows for some insights on how Fast search is working.
It becomes very obvious how much energy the staff at Fast puts into tuning the system to reach for maximum speed in inclusion and serving of data, while working from low cost servers. Benchmarks like search-per-server or "unique sub-second latency" from the time a document is available until it is searchable are important features for corporate search products.
Complete support for XML based datafeeds and open API "ensures FAST Data Search
3.0 can be rapidly integrated with existing software solutions such ase nterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, database OLTPs ystems and portal solutions."
Other interesting features include computational linguistics modules with support for 49 languages, allowing for correction of misspellings and natural language procession.
It would be interesting to know if those features are implemented in full on Alltheweb.
Hint for researchers: Fast has made strategical investments in french search technology developer Albert.com [albert.com]
A feature unknown to users of Alltheweb is the Real Time Filter technology, allowing for alerts on predefined criteria, with interfaces to Fax, WAP etc. Sounds like the core of a personalised search functionality...
There's more to discover for folks interested in search technology. Fast has some good basic info on all of it's technology online: http://www.fast.no/technology/ [fast.no]
All of this of course does not mean to say Fast is not interested in providing top web search results.
It demonstrates however the self-image of the company: worldleading search power under the hood.
Their main product, it appears, is not spidering, indexing and delivering websearch results, but providing search technology.