Keeeb: A Personal Google for Everyone

June 24, 2019

That line “a personal Google for everyone” allegedly appeared in the Wall Street Journal. The phrase was a description of Keeeb, a company offering an enterprise intelligence platform. I remembered the phrase when I read the news release titled “Keeeb Adds Former Co-Founder and CTO of Leading Cognitive Search Provider Attivio and VP Technology of FAST Search & Transfer.” According to the news item:

The New York enterprise intelligence company Keeeb reinforces its technical leadership with the addition of Sid Probstein, former co-founder and CTO of the leading cognitive search provider Attivio and former VP Technology of FAST Search & Transfer (acquired by Microsoft in 2017). As new CTO Probstein will lead Keeeb’s global software development team and drive the next generations of the unique platform that unleashes enterprise intelligence.

What’s interesting is that the company Keeeb uses the name “Keeeb Deutschland GmbH and describes itself as a New York company.

Attivio’s tag line “cognitive search provider” struck me as a bit of a piggyback ride on the wild and crazy IBM Watson cognitive computing marketing blitz which has largely slowed to crawl. Remember H&R Block using Watson or Watson curing cancer? I do. Attivio, before embracing cognitiveness, dabbled in customer support, analytics, and a number of other “disciplines” as it worked to grow its sustainable revenue.

Fast Search & Transfer is also an interesting company. Some of the Fast Search & Transfer technology lives on in Microsoft, which bought the company in 2008. There was some legal and law enforcement agitation about Fast Search’s finances. Ultimately there was embarrassment for the founder of that firm.

DarkCyber will add Keeeb to its list of enterprise search vendors, a list is now growing less rapidly than it did in the hay days of “search” between 2002 and 2011. Why did the pace slow?

Several reasons:

  • The huge financial payoffs from search did not materialize. In fact, the largest of the search vendors is now embroiled in a high profile trial in England.
  • The emergence of Elasticsearch (which I think of as the son of Compass) became available as open source. Proprietary search engines looked less appealing in terms of support and freedom to fiddle with code than proprietary offerings from outfits like Fast Search & Transfer.
  • The promises that search vendors made about easy access to enterprise content were impossible to meet. Clients either ran out of patience, money, or time. The few healthy search vendors were bought. Others tightened their belt and carried on.

Where will Keeeb fit into the information access landscape? I don’t’ know. It seems to me as the author of the first three Enterprise Search Reports, that companies like DataWalk and Diffeo are what search should have become. Maybe Keeeb will be forward leaning too?

Stephen E Arnold, June 24, 2019

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