Startup 80legs has launched a free, cut-down version of its hosted data mining service, three months after the launch of its its supercomputer-scale offering. The company will continue to charge for higher levels of the service.

Aimed at researchers, students, startups and small companies, the free offering lets users search and analyse up to 100,000 web pages per job, the company said. Users may have one job, which the company says is more sophisticated than a typical Google keyword search, running at a time.

Companies with more serious searching needs can tap the full power of 80legs' 50,000-node grid, which can find and analyse millions of web pages in minutes.

A new intermediate plan will cost $99 per month (plus crawling fees of $2 per million pages and $0.03 per CPU-hour used) and let users search up to a million pages per job.

80legs, which counts Amazon Web Services as its main competitor, also has a premium plan that starts at $299 per month.