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IBM'S WEBFOUNTAIN, A NEW INTERNET TOOL, HELPS COMPANIES SPOT ONLINE TRENDS BEFORE THEY EMERGE

It was the kind of question you might expect from a kindergartner: "What color is the Web?" But for IBM scientist Dan Gruhl, there was nothing childish about it. A researcher with seven patents to his name, Gruhl, 32, is tasked with solving all sorts of lofty brainteasers. And when this question popped up, he wanted to solve it--quickly and definitively.

It was, in fact, the perfect kind of question for test driving a brand-new tool that Gruhl and his colleagues at the storied IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., have developed. The new tool, called WebFountain, is a...

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