Yahoo! Licenses Glimpse

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Yahoo! purchases licenses of Glimpse search engine software for interal use.

Webglimpse.net, maintainers of the Glimpse search engine, announced that Yahoo! Inc. has purchased several licenses for internal use. Glimpse is a C program for fast searching of large numbers of text files on Unix systems. It is at the core of Webglimpse, a popular website search engine.

"Even though Yahoo! has developers and of course search technology in-house, the unique algorithms in Glimpse apparently made it worthwhile for them to make an external purchase," reported Golda Velez, principal developer at Webglimpse.Net. "As I understand it this will be used by Yahoo! and Overture developers as a tool to search local datasets, possibly a large code base. We were happy to be able to provide them the search technology and I think that they appreciated our willingness to be flexible in the licensing - we discussed options with them all the way from a worldwide license to just covering a few developers and found a solution somewhere in the middle that worked for them."

It is against Yahoo! policy to provide public quotes in most cases involving 3rd party software, but according to Velez "they did make it clear that we were not under any non-disclosure agreement and that we were free to publicize any part of the agreement from our perspective, and we appreciated that as well."

While the typical use of Webglimpse is for searching a public website, it is not uncommon for it to be used on an Intranet as well. Some other licensees of Glimpse and Webglimpse for internal use include Hewlitt-Packard, Intel, Earthlink, JPL, Los Alamos National Labs and several US military installations.

Glimpse itself, and a version of Webglimpse, are free for educational use and for U.S. Government installations, in part because the original work on Glimpse was supported by an NSF grant. Webglimpse.net licenses the original Glimpse and Webglimpse code from the University of Arizona and has continued to develop and maintain the software since 1997. The algorithms in Glimpse were developed by professors Udi Manber of the University of Arizona and Sun Wu of National Chung-Cheng University in Taiwan and were originally published in 1993.

Glimpse is now fairly mature, but Webglimpse, the spider, archive manager and web interface to the search continues to be actively developed. Webglimpse.net has chosen to keep it open code, which allows developers around the world to help contribute to the code base. In exchange for their help, contributors are given free licenses and even rights to resell copies in some cases. As a result Webglimpse has a search interface translated into German (Deutsch), French (Français), Spanish (Espaol), Hebrew, Italian (Italiano), Polish (Polsku), Finnish (Suomi), Romainian, Bulgarian and Estonian (Eesti keeles). Webglimpse.net reports strong sales of the product in Europe, particularly in Germany and Great Britain.

"We really have several different factors that drive our sales", explains Velez. "For Yahoo!, I think the algorithms that provide powerful specificity and speed were the key factor. For other clients, its the management interface, or the flexible configuration options, or even our tech support that goes with the product. Indexing and searching text is such a basic need that we really have a wide variety of clients and uses for the software."

For more information or to try out Webglimpse software, visit http://webglimpse.net. Phone queries may be directed to Golda Velez, +1-520-440-1420 in Tucson, Arizona.

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Golda Velez