Brighton-based Mistral Internet has launched a search engine that limits itself to UK sites. The product, UKSearch (www.uksearch.com), is targeted at users who are fed up with turning up a slew of US sites.
Mistral director Steve Spink reckons US engines over-extend themselves by trying to search the globe. They work fast but are slow to catalogue content, he says. Figures for the number of UK Web servers are difficult to come by but experts guess there are a manageable 6,000.
Lee McLoughlin, systems manager at Imperial College, London, said the search engine will no doubt be profitable. 'It doesn't matter whether it's any good or not. People will come to try it out and Mistral will just sit back and watch the advertising money come in,' he says.
UKSearch has one limitation - on average, it is about 15 seconds slower than Infoseek. It is not the only localised engine. Cambridge-based Muscat (www.muscat.com) has launched Euroferret.
But potentially the most lucrative scheme is that of an EC-backed consortium which is to produce a directory of European businesses on the Web and provide a front-end for commerce. The Dynamic Yellow Pages (DYP) Consortium will call on states to lift existing rights on directory services. Electronic versions of Yellow Pages already provide contact details and some search facilities as well as the front-end for electronic commerce. (www.dyp.com).
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