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Verity to debut new search engine

Verity presents seven new search technology products in a lineup dubbed Search '97.

Verity (VRTY) took the wraps off a new lineup of search engine technology called Search '97.

At the Seybold trade show in San Francisco today, the company introduced seven new products under the Search '97 brand, which supersede the company's current name for its family of products, Topic.

According to company officials, the new products feature improved graphical user interfaces, administration tools, and searching capabilities that are designed to make scouring the Internet and intranets easier. All of the Search '97 products will ship in the fourth quarter of this year.

"Search has been viewed by many as a good utility," said Anthony Bettencourt, vice president of marketing. "We are trying to transform it to more of a platform or application."

The Search '97 family includes the following products:

--Search '97 Personal, which lets Windows 3.1, 95, and NT users search their hard disks or intranets. The product will also allow users to search the Internet by piggybacking on global Net search engines such as Yahoo and Lycos.

--Search '97 Information Server, a Unix and Windows NT search engine, which is designed for individual Web sites. The server also include a program, called a "spider", for indexing other Web sites.

--Search '97 Agent Server and Agent Server Toolkit, a server and development tool, which adds agent capabilities to a Web site. The agents monitor news sources and databases to update users via email, the Web, pager, or cellular phone when new information is found.

--Search' 97 Developer Toolkit 2.0, a programmers tool, which adds search capabilities, including summarization and clustering capabilities, to any application.

--Search '97 Personal for Exchange, a search engine which queries personal and private folders on Microsoft Exchange Servers.

At today's announcement, Verity also outlined the direction of future Verity search products, which will be designed to query more effectively what officials called "corporate memory." Whereas, current search tools locate documents for users, future search engines will allow users to pinpoint information and to extract relationships between disparate kinds of data, said Phillipe Courtot, CEO of Verity.

"Our next challenge is not to go to documents anymore but to information," Courtot said. "Verity is currently working on that problem."

If the new lineup impresses customers, it could provide a much-needed boost to Verity, which makes full-text search engines and agent technology for servers on the Net and on private networks.

Last week, the company said it expected to post a loss of $1.3 million, or 12 cents a share, for the three months ending August 31. That figure was lower than the loss of $436,000, or 21 cents a share, on a smaller number of shares for the same quarter a year ago. Nevertheless, the company's stock last week lost more than half of its value because of the gloomy financials.