Tuesday, March 1, 2005

FAST Tunes ProPublish to Service Professional Publishers' Needs

In an interesting twist enterprise search engines are reaching out to deliver more value to professional publishers trying to add more value to their online wares. FAST Search and Transfer has announced the availability of its ProPublish search and publishing solution, a productisation of capabilities it has developed for both enterprises and aggregators. The features of ProPublish are derived from FAST's Enterprise Search Platform (ESP), with a rich and powerful array of features to locate, navigate and display search results for documents in a highly navigable form, as well as to package retrieved documents for easy use. Also carrying over from the enterprise version is the ability to manage access to subscription content via a centralized access management capability. While these newly targeted FAST capabilities may not blow away some of the capabilities of major aggregators' own search features, their robustness being made available to publishers of all kinds emphasizes how underpowered many publishers' search infrastructures are and how the search capability of aggregators is no longer the only solution they need consider to make their content more accessible to their readers. Most significantly FAST's ESP underpinnings for ProPublish are derived from the same technology honed in enterprises demanding solutions not just for publishers' content but for structured and unstructured sources of many kinds. By offering the same kind of capabilities to publishers FAST is working on creating a "common tongue" for professionally-oriented content searchers that may challenge the basic value propositions of many content aggregation services over time. Others such as IBM are on this chase as well, of course, but few have the inroads to both the publishing community and the enterprise community enjoyed by FAST. This is a space worth watching very carefully in the months ahead as publishers try to develop deeper value propositions for their content that match up well with the enterprise-based needs of their client bases.
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