It might be a foreign company with little household name appeal to a majority of Web surfers, but Oslo, Norway-based Fast Search & Transfer (FST) lays claim to having built the world’s biggest search engine.
The company announced it was going online with the search engine Monday. The souped-up engine – called FAST Search – is said to be three to four times bigger than other popular search engines, and is able pull down an index of 200 million URLs at the click of a button.
With an estimated 800 million URLs currently in circulation, that’s still only 25 percent of the sites on the Web index. However, the company claims that Web search engines’ effectiveness has decreased as the amount of URLs has increased. Currently, it claims that no other search engine is capable of indexing more than 16 percent of the Web’s URLs.
In fact, Fast Search & Transfer claims that its URL catalog is twice the size of the search engine reseller called Inktomi. It’s not stopping there either. Fast Search & Transfer says it goal is to “search all the Web, all the time.”
“As the Web continues to experience explosive growth, most users mistakenly assume they are searching the entire Internet during a search engine query,” said Fast Search CEO, Espen Brodin. “The importance of having a large catalog cannot be overstated.”
Developed At Norwegian University
The technology that produced the search engine was ten years in the making and developed at a Norwegian university. The company has some 60 employees and 20 associated European scientists. Most hold Ph.D. degrees, it says.
Formally established in 1997, FST and their shares are now traded on the OTC market in Oslo. Fast Search & Transfer reportedly has a market value of $600 million and is set to surpass Norsk Hydro — a power generating company — as Norway’s most highly-valued company. Two years ago, the company had two employees.
The company performs research and development in Trondheim, Norway and has offices in Boston and San Francisco that provide sales and marketing support, customer support, field engineering and other operational needs.
Its sales efforts are aimed at major portals, search engines, ISPs and content sites. Some might just bite. The technology that went into FAST Search allows for a typical query to race through 200 million documents in less than a second. That kind of speed sells itself, and if Fast Search & Transfer can deliver on its goal of expanding that search capability, it could make the company a household name after all.