Baynote: The Search Beat Goes On

Rob Hof

Lots of people assume Google will be the last word in search, but I think it's kind of early to assume that. One more sign that search ain't over yet is Baynote, which launched early today.

The Silicon Valley company, headed by former Interwoven CTO Jack Jia, uses technology developed at Stanford to observe user behavior, by using a bit of code on each page that sends data to Baynote servers. Then the system builds a sort of collective memory about what users who did stick around and find something ultimately did. The result, says Jia, is that the number of clicks it typically takes for someone to find what she's looking for is reduced from six to just one.

In a way, Jia told me, it potentially offers the benefits of tagging without people actually having to tag anything. As the company says in its press release:

Baynote invisibly taps into the collective "wisdom of community" - the known behaviors of peers, experts, and the greater business community - to guide users to the most useful content and knowledge available on any business website.

Jia explains that most people get lost when they go to a retail or business Web site, ultimately abandoning whatever they were searching for. Jia says Baynote's "use rank," a play on Google's PageRank algorithm, works better than PageRank in situations where there aren't many links to indicate usefulness, as there are on the open Internet. No free Web 2.0 lunch for companies that want to use it, though: It's $950 a month for large enterprises, $95 a month for small and medium-sized businesses.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.