RealTime IT News

Demo Denouement: Safety And Search

SAN DIEGO -- The Demo conference is over but vendors managed to exhaust their product portfolios before the lights went out on tech-logged attendees.

Google's dominance doesn't seem to deter startups from challenging the search giant. Exalead, which has been offering enterprise search for more than seven years, launched a more consumer-focused service that "lets people search the way they think with serendipity."

Francois Bourconcle, CEO and co-founder of the France-based company, said search engines need to be redesigned from the ground up to account for the popularity of Web 2.0 and social networks. Exalead's answer is Baagz, a way of grouping search results into onscreen containers (or Baagz). Users can also search the Baagz of others to get in on research they've already done. For example, a search on the homepage for Portugal might take you to a Baagz full of site links with travel tips, places to stay, etc.

Bourconcle compared it to a kind of live network of shared interests. Users, or "baagerz" as the company likes to call them, can find topics of interest and connect with experts on given topics. They choose whether to make their Baagz public. The service is currently in private beta with a waiting list; a more public rollout planned for later this year.

Launch into space on your PC

Spacetime takes a slightly different approach to the competition. Rather than actually competing, it said enhances the search experience for a variety of search-related services, including eBay, YouTube and Google.

The company's 3-D browser window presents search results in a seemingly endless stack of Web pages users can flip through at the click of a button.

For example, an eBay search for a product such as a portable DVD player would return a listing in a large-screen page image to scan through instead of clicking through thumbnails on a single page.

"Search today is slow and painful," said Spacetime CEO Eddie Bakhash. He said Web pages in Spacetime work exactly the same way but can be viewed in 3-D. And Spacetime automatically can create a timeline of search sessions so users can easily click back to a point to revisit.

The product's been out an in an early beta for several months and received mixed reviews, but the version shown at DEMO and due to be released to the public later this fall, is described as "dramatically improved" based on the half a million downloads and user feedback it's received to date.

Browser shield

Possibly the last thing consumers want to hear is they need to buy another layer of security protection on top of whatever virus protection and firewall software they already deploy.

But Check Point Software has identified the ubiquitous Web browser as a weak link in the battle against the bad buys, and debuted a unique solution to the problem.

ZoneAlarm FieldForce, available as a free beta download for the rest of the year, deploys a "protective bubble" around each browser session, fending off would-be attackers.

In an onstage demo, Laura Yecies vice president and general manager of Check Point's ZoneAlarm consumer division, said FieldForce uses a virtualization engine to create a kind of stunt double that takes the brunt of the attacks by keyloggers, phishers and so-called "drive-by downloads" that can infect computers without the user's knowledge, letting the user continue a Web session unscathed.

Yecies said a more finished version of FieldForce, slated for release early next year, will cost $29.95 for an initial one-year subscription and $19.95 for annual renewal.