AltaVista In Search Of Vernacular Engines

New Delhi: | Updated: Jul 31 2002, 05:30am hrs
Web search in Indian languages like Hindi, Tamil, Malayam, etc, may not be too far out for long. It may soon become a reality with Web search companies like AltaVista and Google seriously considering launching vernacular search engines.

US-based search services and software provider, AltaVista is in discussions with Webdunia.com India Limited for outsourcing the vernacular search services.

“We have an option to either develop our own search engine services or get it outsourced from Webdunia.com. In case of India, however, it makes sense to get this outsourced,” AltaVista vice president-Asia Pacific Mel Bohse told eFE. Webdunia has been in talks with both AltaVista and Google, according to its CEO Vinay Chhajlani.

“We had presentations with Google and were in talks with AltaVista for vernacular web search services. Thesmall net users pie can be increased in the coming years by capturing potential net users in non-metros with vernacular-based services,” he said.

Further, AtlaVista has laid down an aggressive strategy to capture the Indian online search market. AltaVista is in talks with over 15 websites (both horizontal and vertical) for co-branded search engine services.

“We expect to partner with about 40 Internet-based companies in India for co-branded Web search solutions,” Ms Bohse said.

AltaVista launched its India specific site on May 2000 but has not started making money from its Indian operations. However, the company hopes to hear the cash counter jingle in the next six months from both online advertising and selling high-end enterprise search engines.

“In the next six months, we are confident of earning our first chunk of revenues from the Indian operations,” she said.

About two years ago, the company was not confident of earning revenues from online advertising but now with a slight improvement in the online advertisement space, the company is hopeful of earning revenues.

The Internet search company is also looking at introducing a country specific news feed in about a month.

“We are in talks with local news content providers in the country and, within a month, we will introduce India specific news feeds as well,” Ms Bohse said. In the coming six months, AltaVista is planning to set up a sales and marketing office in India.