KDnuggets : News : 2003 : n18 : item14 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >


IBM and Factiva to market WebFountain web/news mining service

Sep 18, 2003 -- By Dean Takahashi -- Mercury News

A software tool from IBM will enable customers to search mountains of data on the Web and find out, for instance, what the buzz is about a new product or discern the reputation of a small business that wants to buy equipment.

The WebFountain ``data mining and discovery'' tool has been in development for three years at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose. Big Blue has offered the tool as a customized service to date. Today, it is announcing that Factiva, a joint venture of Dow Jones and Reuters, will market the tool as a subscription service.

The tool goes further than search engines such as Google, which often return too many results to be useful.

``It's designed to mine a massive amount of data on the Web,'' said Robert Morris, IBM vice president and director of the Almaden lab. ``It's not just search. It adds analysis by digesting data, looking for patterns and trends.''

IBM says WebFountain employs far more computing power than typical ``data mining'' software programs used by corporations to sift through numbers. WebFountain will decipher text by searching through the Web as well as Factiva's library, which grows by 2 million documents a month from 8,000 different sources.

``We were working on our own technology but we chose this because it was so much more powerful,'' said Clare Hart, chief executive of Factiva in New York.

She said Factiva would offer the service to its subscribers for fees ranging from $150,000 to $300,000 a year.

Hart says she expects companies, for example, to use it for ``reputation management,'' or essentially scouring chat rooms, bulletin boards, newspapers and other sources to find out what people are saying about a company.

WebFountain appears to be like a smart human analyst because it makes connections among strings of words on the Web and then categorizes the text.

``Mining the Web adds a dimension of access that has never been available before,'' said analyst Susan Feldman at International Data Corp., a market researcher in Framingham, Mass. ``It will enable subscribers to monitor public opinion and swoop in to squelch rumors quickly.''

The technology could potentially raise privacy concerns if companies turned its power on analyzing individuals. But Hart and Morris said both companies would protect user privacy.

Here is the full story from SiliconValley.com.

KDnuggets : News : 2003 : n18 : item14 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >

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