Hoping to ease the pain of Net searches, QuarterDeck is set to release a new version of its WebCompass meta-search tool, as well as a set of agents that will more intelligently trawl the Net for data.
Meta-search tools piggyback on existing search engines on the Internet, allowing users to query multiple services in tandem. Agents are small software programs that circulate throughout networks, scanning for information and performing specific actions.
Like the previous version, WebCompass 2.0 queries a set a list of Net search engines but also allows users to specify additional ones. The new version also adds the ability to query corporate intranet databases and various document types, such as word-processing files.
Quarterdeck says it has significantly boosted the performance and ease of the product's use by converting it into a stand-alone Windows application, instead of an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) interface.
WebCompass 2.0 will go into beta testing next month, with a final version due out in September. The company is also developing a Java version of the software that is expected to ship early next year.
In addition, Quarterdeck will begin shipping in the last quarter of this year a set of agents, dubbed Redwing, that will be available as stand-alone Windows programs and with WebCompass, said Emerick Woods, vice president of Internet Solutions. The Redwing programs will include People Finder, Calendar, and Question-and-Answer agents which will let users define profiles in various categories, monitor designated Web sites and Usenet newsgroups, and retrieve relevant information.
Pricing has not been set for either WebCompass or the Redwing agents.