IBM introduces free smart email search software

While search engines still can’t help you find your missing car keys, prescription glasses or remote control, IBM Research has invented a “smart” email search solution that can figure out what you are trying to find, even when you aren’t so sure yourself.

And now, IBM is letting the rest of us get our hands on their secret decoder ring by making IBM OmniFind Personal Email Search (IOPES) for Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook available at no charge on alphaWorks.

IOPES is powered by advanced algorithms that can interpret incomplete queries and find information such as phone numbers, people, meetings, presentations, documents, images and more. The “smart” search software can help people find information buried in the vast personal database that e-mail has become by identifying the most relevant information in a search query and extrapolating what the user is trying to find.

Common concepts built into the system enable users to quickly locate, for example, a person’s telephone number, even if the words “telephone” and “number” aren’t in the text of the email. And it’s also easy to define more complex concepts – such as meeting requests and specific locations – on the fly because the technology returns more relevant results than simple keyword search can.

Okay, so the name IOPES doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as iPhone. And I haven’t tested it myself, so I can’t tell you how IBM OmniFind Personal Email Search compares to Google Desktop Search or Desktop Search from Yahoo! and X1.

But I have to admit that it’s nice to see Lotus Notes mentioned in an announcement. I guess that I should disclose that I was the director of corporate communications for Lotus when we first publicly discussed Notes at the 1988 PC Forum. But I haven’t had a business or financial relationship with Lotus in close to 20 years.

I think I still have an old satin jacket with Lotus Week on the back. I wonder if IOPES can help me find it.

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