Another Oddly Named New One…

Tara over at ResearchBuzz has found this new entry: Ay-Up. Yup, Ay-Up. As she points out in her post summarizing its features, Ay-Up is unique in that it offers free site search. Worth a looksee. (And yet another new engine that needs the help of a logo specialist…)…

Tara over at ResearchBuzz has found this new entry: Ay-Up. Yup, Ay-Up. As she points out in her post summarizing its features, Ay-Up is unique in that it offers free site search. Worth a looksee. (And yet another new engine that needs the help of a logo specialist…)

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At Least It Doesn’t Claim To Be The Next Google….

The latest entry in Odd Little Search Engines That Might…Sootle. Please, let me know if you want me to stop pointing you to this stuff. This engine is in deep Alpha, which might explain its name, logo, and terrible results (30 results for George Bush…) but not the lack of…

The latest entry in Odd Little Search Engines That Might…Sootle. Please, let me know if you want me to stop pointing you to this stuff. This engine is in deep Alpha, which might explain its name, logo, and terrible results (30 results for George Bush…) but not the lack of grammatical coherence in its “about” section…Given that the name of the Financial Director is “Peter Fiasco”, I’m beginning to wonder if these new sites aren’t elaborate jokes tossed up late at night by overworked engineers at Yahoo or Google….I mean….Sootle?

UPDATE: Within 12 hours of my posting this, both Peter Fiasco (my apologies, he’s apparently a real guy) and the founder of Sootle, Sid Yadav, emailed me. They were quite kind, pointing out that my criticism of the site would inspire them to greater things with their new creation. Sid points out that my Bush search in fact found 30 *clusters*, and a total of 313 results. His index is only 11 days old, and is only starting to crawl …literally. He calls Sootle “a hobby sort of project” and is working on a new logo and interface. Stay tuned….

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Australia’s Answer to Google? Nah.

Yet another pretender to the throne, Mooter.com is a new search engine out of Australia. It uses clustering technology – not a new idea – but claims to have made it better. I tried it (quite cursorily) and it was, well, not awful. Scattered reports say the site sometimes fails…

Yet another pretender to the throne, Mooter.com is a new search engine out of Australia. It uses clustering technology – not a new idea – but claims to have made it better. I tried it (quite cursorily) and it was, well, not awful. Scattered reports say the site sometimes fails to return results, but that hasn’t stopped the Mooter CEO from saying they plan to go public on Google’s coattails. At least she’s being honest. According to a local news story on the IPO, Mooter has no profits. And if you hit their site and poke around, they sound darn flaky. From their Mission Statement:

As we move, as we track through the information now presented, as our brains cavort along their apparently random paths, increasingly powerful technologies will anticipate our needs. ….We must keep thinking. About who we really are. About what we really want. We must have a powerful tool for finding our way around the information world: a tool that does not impose value on us, but helps us find our own meaning.
If we do not, the mutated survivors will be the corporations who have managed the most manipulation, not the beauty of the human spirit in all its fierce joy of living and intensity of love for self and other sentients.
We must be mindful of what we plant, our children will bear the fruits.

Dude, pass the bong. It’s sophomore year again.

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China’s Answer to Google

In the English language version of People' Daily (take it for what it's worth…) is a rather exuberant announcement for the launch of the "world's largest Chinese search engine", known officially in English as "China Search Online" (www.zhongsou.com). The page is reasonably clutter-free, as compared to most Chinese portals…


In the English language version of People’ Daily (take it for what it’s worth…) is a rather exuberant announcement for the launch of the “world’s largest Chinese search engine”, known officially in English as “China Search Online” (www.zhongsou.com). The page is reasonably clutter-free, as compared to most Chinese portals I’ve seen (I co-taught a course on weblogs and China last semester, the product of that course is a cool weblog called China Digital News.)
In any case, the folks behind the engine, HII (who went public earlier this month, see here) are compared to Google, they even have a no-human-editors-have-touched-this news product to boot.

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On Invisible Tabs (and Hands)

In an email conversation, Danny Sullivan (he of Search Engine Watch fame) and I recently were discussing last week's post on Froogle. Danny disagreed with my premise that Google's actions were inconsistent, in fact, he believes they may well be consistent with a new and evolving interface approach that he…

In an email conversation, Danny Sullivan (he of Search Engine Watch fame) and I recently were discussing last week’s post on Froogle. Danny disagreed with my premise that Google’s actions were inconsistent, in fact, he believes they may well be consistent with a new and evolving interface approach that he calls “invisible tabs.” He explains the idea here. The gist: search engines will intuit what you are looking for behind the scenes, and deliver to you the results most consistent with that intuition, making the tab format redundant in the first place.

As Danny put it in an email to me:

The real departure is going to be if Google finally makes the jump and gives you back 10 product/Froogle results at some point, and suggest that you might also search the web, for some queries, rather than the web dominance we get now. That will be them fully putting into play this whole invisible tabs concept that I’ve been talking about recently.

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Why Yahoo, Interactive, and Google Love Local Search …

Because it's poised to grow to nearly $3 billion in revenues by 2008, up from about $1 billion now. And because the mass of small business owners who currently don't use search would certainly switch if presented a compelling solution that actually brings in customers. Can you imagine your corner…

Because it’s poised to grow to nearly $3 billion in revenues by 2008, up from about $1 billion now. And because the mass of small business owners who currently don’t use search would certainly switch if presented a compelling solution that actually brings in customers. Can you imagine your corner grocery store or dry cleaner buying keyword search? Me too. Move over, Yellow Pages….

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Corporate Search Is Sexy

Before there was the web, there was the corporate database. Remember those days? Back in the mid to late 80s, when the Local Area Network was the Next Big Thing, when everyone was madly installing client-server databases, when applications like dBase III and NetWare ruled the roost? You don't? Sigh….

Before there was the web, there was the corporate database. Remember those days? Back in the mid to late 80s, when the Local Area Network was the Next Big Thing, when everyone was madly installing client-server databases, when applications like dBase III and NetWare ruled the roost? You don’t? Sigh. I must be showing my age. I was a cub reporter back then, covering the relatively new beat of “networking” as well as the corporate database market. Yup. Somehow I found that stuff fascinating. I thought this whole idea of connecting disparate networks of information was a hoot.

Anyway, to the point. About 1987 or so a new class of applications developed. Called Executive Information Systems (EIS), these were essentially interfaces to data, designed to live on top of corporate databases and cull the stuff Really Important Executives needed to know so as to make Really Important Decisions. The coolest part of the spec was the fact that the data was queried from the desktop – EIS promised easy and intuitive access those unintelligible databases the geeks kept buying. The idea was sexy, but the category never really took off. The design was too rules based, too top down. For them to work, you had to literally redesign your entire infrastructure. Oh, and the Executives in question had to give a shit.

Fast forward to now. As most of the world remains fascinated with search’s more public face, a significant shift seems to be occurring in the corporate data world. I’m not saying EIS is back, exactly, but the overwhelming presumption of webwide search on your desktop is certainly rewiring how corporations think about their more private databanks. A robust market has grown up around “enterprise search,” (some companies, such as FAST, were spun off from consumer search companies, and Google maintains a unit focused on the market). There’s a crop of interesting startups to boot, including Tim Bray’s company, Antarctica. It’s entirely possible some of the next big ideas in search may well be developed in this more focused, less public field. Any readers out there have suggestions of cool companies in this space I may be overlooking?

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RSS Marches On…Net-based Aggregators

I keep meaning to do this…I've noticed a bunch of net-based aggregators out there, I'd be curious if anyone uses them. One of the earliest is Bloglines, founded by the same fellow behind eGroups. There's also a new one over at Feedster call myFeedster. And there's FastBuzz. And of course…

I keep meaning to do this…I’ve noticed a bunch of net-based aggregators out there, I’d be curious if anyone uses them. One of the earliest is Bloglines, founded by the same fellow behind eGroups. There’s also a new one over at Feedster call myFeedster. And there’s FastBuzz. And of course the one Meg’s working on, Kinja (still in stealth).

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A New Class of Google Results, With Interesting Implications

I just read a piece by Bambi Francisco (it's here, scroll down in the story) in which she claimed in passing that typing "ugg boots" into the main page at Google returned a subcategory of results – above the regular "pure" search results but distinct from the advertising – called…

I just read a piece by Bambi Francisco (it’s here, scroll down in the story) in which she claimed in passing that typing “ugg boots” into the main page at Google returned a subcategory of results – above the regular “pure” search results but distinct from the advertising – called “Product Search.” I tried it in quotes – “ugg boots” – and it didn’t work. Without quotes – ugg boots – it did. I then tried “digital camera” and there it was again.

What do you know – a new class of results (from Froogle, see my earlier post which missed this) nested rather uncomfortably between the sponsored results at the top and on the right side, and the pure results below. Also interesting was the fact that the results were in the same white background as the regular “pure” search results, though they are distinct in look and feel.

This is a very interesting development with significant implications. Many would claim this is a major step toward Yahoo or MSN-like approaches on the part of Google. Others would argue that Google in fact is simply trying to do its users a favor, inferring that most searchers who type such queries are in fact in shopping mode. But it is a clear departure from the conceit – and I use that term nuetrally – that Google has always maintained, which is that the results offered by their engine are free of human intervention – that they in fact reflect the results of a carefully tended algorithmic secret sauce applied to every site without bias. Clearly, humans have decided to put that category of Product Search on top of the main results. And certainly those results are not subject to the same secret sauce which sifts the rest of the unwashed web. (One can imagine merchants racing to game Froogle, now that Froogle results are showing up – in first position no less – on the firehose of traffic that is the main results page of Google). No matter how you slice it, this marks a departure.

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Search IPO in Hong Kong

HC Intl. Inc., a provider of "business information through trade catalogs and yellow pages directories, search engine services, and television and print periodicals in China" went public Weds., and shares were nearly 10 times oversubscribed. The IPO roared out of the gate, and closed 34% higher than its opening, on…

HC Intl. Inc., a provider of “business information through trade catalogs and yellow pages directories, search engine services, and television and print periodicals in China” went public Weds., and shares were nearly 10 times oversubscribed. The IPO roared out of the gate, and closed 34% higher than its opening, on a weak market day. IDG Ventures, based here, held nearly 20% of the company pre-IPO.

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