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Inktomi Unveils XML-based Search Toolkit

Search technology firm Inktomi Corp Tuesday released its Search Toolkit, an XML-based server tool targeting enterprise Web developers.

Inktomi, locked in a high-stakes race for market share with upstart Google, is styling the Search Toolkit technology an OEM software for extracting data from structured, unstructured and semi-structured content.

The software, which targets enterprise developers and systems integrators, promises retrieve information within content-rich applications such as content management, enterprise portal, CRM and commerce solutions.

The Foster City, Calif.-based Inktomi said the Search Toolkit would let customers run provide a server-based architecture, open APIs and a standards-based query language, allowing easy integration with most environments.

Because the server operates as a separate process, the Toolkit would allow valuable data within the application to be protected to reduce development time and reduce system costs.

"As enterprise applications continue to build upon XML and evolve toward Web services, it is critical that they include search functionality that is fully compatible with XML," Inktomi said, touting the Search Toolkit as the first OEM software that delivers XML-based retrieval capabilities for content within enterprise applications.

Inktomi said the Search Toolkit would provide the unstructured search functionality of a keyword search engine, such as relevance ranking, natural language search and filtering for various file formats.

In addition, it would offer XQuery-based structured query capabilities that allow jazzed-up retrieval functions such as parametric searching and retrieval of content based on a document's structure. It is programmed to return results that include references to documents as well as the actual documents or fragments of those documents that contain the precise information requested.

In a commerce application, for example, Inktomi said a user could find all invoices that include "television" and "36-inch" dated after January 1, 2001 and return item descriptions and invoice amounts.

The latest product announcement is seen as Inktomi's response to losing its lucrative contract with America Online to rival Google. America Online chose Google to provide editorial search results and paid listings to its various search properties in the United States, including AOL Search, Netscape Search and CompuServe Search.

That deal effectively ousted Overture, which had provided AOL with paid listings since October 2000 and Inktomi, which provided editorial results to AOL Search since July 1999. The Inktomi contract with AOL expires in August.