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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Toronto-based software developer Opencola Ltd will shortly deliver the first public beta of a search engine application that will marry traditional web search with a peer-to-peer network, to give knowledge workers greater depth in document searches.

"It's a sort of Napster for grown-ups," said Opencola VP of marketing and business development Joel Silver. "We're going for individual users first, but as we grow we'll eventually head towards enterprises."

Opencola's application, due for full launch in the fall, will at first allow users to meta-search 10 web search engines, including Google, a 1,500-source news feed, and selected folders on the computers of others who have the software installed.

Users can either first enter a regular keyword query into the application, receiving ranked documents back as usual, or can submit a document as a template for the query. The application creates a "context" string, essentially made up of frequently occurring or important-looking keywords, which is then used as the query.

The application searches for news, web sites and documents in designated folders of other users' machines for matches to the "context". Results are returned and ranked as with a regular web search engine.

The move marks a fresh strategy for Opencola, which has been developing P2P technology for a couple of years but has yet to come to market with a commercial offering. An attempt to commercialize Swarmcast, a P2P content delivery network technology, has apparently been abandoned in the face of extreme competition and slace demand.

Pricing for Opencola has not been set, but Silver said users will be offered a 30-day free trial before they hand over any cash.

© ComputerWire

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