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Searching for a Mortgage on the World Wide Web?

by Thomas More

Copyright © 1998 by Thomas More. All rights reserved.

Part I: Software Startup Gives Good Search

The WebTools Company (TWTC) recently announced their first product, called Mata Hari, an advanced Internet search program which scans up to 142 different search engines and directories simultaneously-more than any other search tool, and the result is a more thorough search of the World Wide Web for the subject of your desire.

Mata Hari runs under Windows NT, Windows95 and Windows98. It is being distributed and supported solely via the Internet. The complete program may be downloaded free, for a 30-day evaluation, at The WebTools. If you decide to keep it, it's reasonably priced at $34.95.

Jerry Tardif, TWTC's president, said, "No other search tool can 'talk' to the number or diversity of search services supported by Mata Hari. Users only need to learn Mata Hari's easy syntax to bring the program's full power to those services.

"With Mata Hari, users can select from one to all of these engines for use in any given search. They can select from pre-configured channels or create engine groups of their own. Users also have a local search option that uses the links on a Web page as the search source, useful for bookmark listings, for quickly sharing results with others, or for retrieving results within an entire category on a directory service like Yahoo!

"Search engines and directories supported by the product span a cross-section from the most popular engines-Yahoo!, HotBot, Excite, AltaVista, Infoseek, Lycos, Webcrawler-to specialty engines for kids, science, sports, business, health, different languages and more. Forty different pre-configured groupings, or channels, help guide users to these special engines. Once users discover favorites, they can group and name them in as many categories as they like for use in later searches."


Mata Hari recently received a 5-Star "Editor's Pick" award on ZD-Net, continuing the string of favorable reviews the product has received since its commercial release in April 98.

The WebTools Company is located in Vermillion, South Dakota. The closely held software company was founded in July 1997.

Part II: Refinancing? You Can Do It Via Email

Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., the nation's largest independent mortgage lender, has launched an automated, artificial intelligence email system that answers consumer email messages received through the company's Web site. The system can answer open-ended email questions regarding mortgage information and interest rates.

"This system enhances our Web site by allowing us to quickly respond to the increasing volume of email," said Cameron King, Executive Vice President of Countrywide's Electronic Consumer Division. "It answers almost instantaneously the most frequently asked questions we receive, which improves productivity and efficiency."

Countrywide has been a pioneer in developing its Web presence, and the first-ever home loan applied for and approved over the Internet was done by Countrywide in April 1997. The new automated email response system is the first to be used in the home-loan industry, and is targeted to the high-tech segment of the population. The software that answers your email is called Brightware, and uses what is known as "natural language processing." It reads messages, deciphers them and emails tailored responses within about two minutes. The system uses Countrywide's database of product information and the answers to questions previously received via email. It can answer the questions in about 70 percent of the email that the company receives each day.

Founded in 1969, Countrywide originates, purchases, sells and services loans for single-family homes. The company is headquartered in Calabasas, California and has more than 430 offices across the nation.


During the week, Thomas More writes rather technical stuff about business software, but on weekends he likes to loosen up a bit and write about WWWiz stuff.


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