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X1 Offers Free Desktop Search for the Enterprise
by
Posted On June 19, 2006
Yes, that headline is correct. You might ask how a provider of desktop search tools can offer this for free. What's the business model here? Similar to a "give away the shaver and sell the blades strategy," X1 Technologies is providing a free, secure, desktop search solution for the enterprise that IT departments can sanction for employees' desktop use. It also provides an optional premium customer support program; offers other tools, services, and application connectors for the enterprise; and includes bundled Yahoo! technologies that let X1 share in the revenues. The X1 Enterprise Client lets business users search their desktop e-mail, calendars, and documents, but the product's features that could put corporate data at risk and adversely affect exchange and network performance have been disabled.

"Free desktop search products designed for personal use are readily available on the Internet, and these products are increasingly being downloaded at work by employees who need better tools for finding information," said Josh Jacobs, president of X1 Technologies. "Unfortunately, many of these products put information and systems at risk. With X1's Enterprise Client, organizations have the unique combination of a free desktop search solution that is designed specifically for secure environments. IT managers can give knowledge workers the desktop search capabilities they need to boost their productivity while maintaining control and integrity of their corporate data."

Jacobs said that their field testing often showed that users preferred the X1 desktop search capabilities to that available in other free products, such as Microsoft's desktop search toolbar, but that the cost of X1 was said to be a barrier. So, the company decided to change its business model to get its product in the door of enterprises. Jacobs said that X1 provides a "productivity interface for knowledge workers."

The X1 Enterprise Client can search on more than 370 different file types, including audio, video, .PST, and archived files. In the preview pane, formatting is retained so users can see the original layout—not just plain text. X1 has also added some new functionality to its desktop search product. New features include the following:

  • Bundled Yahoo! Toolbar
  • Search calendars and tasks
  • Drag-and-drop search results
  • Real-time indexing
  • Search offline or archived e-mail
  • Integrated Web search button allows searches to be extended to the Internet

Individual users can download the free X1 Enterprise Client at http://www.x1.com. The company has also introduced the X1 Enterprise Desktop Search Evaluation Kit, which includes comprehensive tools for IT pilots and deployment as well as full support for free enterprisewide deployments. Go to http://www.x1.com/download/enterprise_evaluation_kit.html to download the kit.

The Enterprise Desktop Search Evaluation Kit includes these features:

  • X1 Enterprise Client
  • X1 Deployment Manager, for configuring the client user interface and standardizing settings
  • 30-day trial of the X1 Enterprise Server, for fast and scalable search access to enterprise repositories. Components include the X1 Cluster Manager, an administration tool for Enterprise Servers, and the X1 Browser Client for remote users and zero-footprint deployment
  • Deployment guide
  • Server tuning guide
  • Tips and tricks
  • Release notes
  • Evaluation guide

Sue Feldman, research vice president, Content Management and Retrieval Solutions at IDC, said: "For enterprises concerned with both productivity and security, X1 provides the usability that end users need with administrative tools for enterprises to ensure that their information is secure, no matter where it is."

X1 also unveiled a new Enterprise Desktop Search Resource Center, designed to be an educational hub for IT organizations. The site provides news, reviews, competitive analysis, industry analyst research and reports, white papers, and links to authoritative bloggers on enterprise desktop search. The Enterprise Desktop Resource Center is available at http://www.x1.com/resource_center.

Jacobs said, "Given the level of hype and the number of solutions available, we're providing the Enterprise Desktop Search Resource Center to give IT professionals a wealth of tools and information—from all sources—to understand and evaluate enterprise desktop search technology and choose a solution that best meets their organization's needs."

"With search quality—or lack thereof—rising toward the top of the priority list for many enterprise IT groups, a major obstacle to successful deployment turns out to be simply a lack of experience and insight about what goes into really great search," said Hadley Reynolds, vice president and director of research at Delphi Group. "Positioned at the often complex nexus of desktop and enterprise search, X1 has a clear perspective on the importance of providing knowledge resources to the search team."

X1 Technologies, founded in 2003, has also partnered with IBM, QUALCOMM, Yahoo!, EarthLink, SoonR, Web Messenger, and Viapoint to power their desktop search initiatives. Headquartered in Pasadena, Calif., X1 Technologies is an operating company of Idealab and is backed by U.S. Venture Partners.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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