There is a world where Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft compete to build better search engines and — also — for our money. Then there is a completely different world, the corporate market. And the next big thing in Web search in this other world might be the WebFountain supercomputing project from IBM. It's not your ordinary project. It already took 5 years to 200 IBM engineers and dozens of million of dollars to build it. It also needs lots of hardware resources: several hundreds of powerful processors and 160 terabytes of storage.
This project has an impressive goal: transform the huge amounts of structured and unstructured data available on the Web into business trends. Not the thing that Google does. And not for the same price either. For example, Factiva, an information services company, has licensed WebFountain and plans to offer it to its customers for about $200,000 a year.