Watson's Contextual Search Goes Free

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Intellext's search product Watson's new free version includes a shopping feature that automatically displays related data such as product reviews, blog entries and price deals.

Search startup Intellext Inc. today launched a free version of its Watson search tool.

Intellext said its search sidebar is different from other tools, such as Google Inc.'s Sidebar, because Watson automatically searches for and generates information relevant to the document the user is currently viewing, such as an e-mail, Web page or Microsoft Word document.

The free version of Watson does not include the same search-source customization features as Watson's tool aimed for business users who may want to search enterprise information systems.

Also, unlike the Watson Professional tool, the free version of Watson includes advertisements.

Click here to read Retail Editor Evan Schuman's commentary on the state of e-commerce search.

Geared for consumers, the free tool includes a shopping feature that automatically displays data such as product reviews, Weblog entries, news and price deals related to what the user is looking at online.

Intellext inked a partnership with Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc. to present relevant search results from those sites in the 'shopping' tab of the Watson sidebar.

"If you go shopping online, Watson knows what you're doing while you're going shopping. It doesn't matter if it's a new e-mail that says 'I just saw a new iPod on sale' or if you're looking at an iPod on Target's Web site," said Al Wasserberger, CEO of Chicago-based Intellext.

Watson presents shopping-related results when it determines that a user may be considering shopping. That is determined by user behavior as well as key words.

"When you're at Target.com on a product page, that's a big hint that you're shopping. But it also looks at things like site navigation within sites, and when you're in your e-mail or Word document looking at terms, we'll look at eBay and see if there are products that match those terms," Wasserberger said.

"If an e-mail you just got says the Xbox 360 is on sale at Circuit City [Stores Inc.] for this price, we'll find so much stuff there that tells us you're shopping, such as the word 'price' and the name of product. If on the other hand, you get an e-mail from someone at Microsoft [Corp.] that says, 'We're implementing new video technology into Xbox,' and talks about the technology behind the video system, those search results are not going to show up."

The free version of Watson is available for download at Intellext.com.

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